Archive for the ‘equity’ tag
How do we sustain creativity? How do we sustain community? These questions are increasingly being asked nationally and internationally as some first world countries struggle to compete in traditional markets and many nations hope for a magical catalyst for urban regeneration. In New Zealand, Australia, Canada and to some extent Europe, these questions are increasingly salient as their populations become more multiculturally diverse. In some ways, then, the questions of sustaining creativity as well as community are intricately tied to a much larger commitment to sustaining diversity. This is not a insignificant shift in thinking as many of our modern nation states and indeed cities, have been founded on a form of ‘homogenizing’ in order to accomplish solidarity.
Jon Hawkes, a cultural analyst in Australia has done some important work on exactly these issues for public planning and policy in the 21st century. In his book, The Fourth Pillar of Sustainability: Culture’s Essential Role in Public Planning, he examines the importance and interconnectedness of 4 pillars of community sustainability, namely — environmental responsibility, economic health, social equity and cultural vitality. Hawkes argues that we often focus on the economic health of sustaining communities to the exclusion of the others and we fail to recognize the fundamental importance of cultural vitality to community planning. Furthermore, Hawkes argues that a community’s vitality and quality of life is directly correlated to the vitality and quality of its cultural engagement, expression, dialogue and celebration.
As a result, connecting cultural and communal sustainability, as we have also discussed with Tom Borrup, lies in fostering respectful partnerships and exchanges between multiple and diverse community stakeholders such as government, business and arts organizations. For many communities seeking a path to sustainability, this means re-imagining the connections between creative industries that ” focus on creating unique property, content or design that did not previously exist” and other economic industry drivers such as retail, real estate and financial services, as well as manufacturing. In a creative community economy, these industry sectors interlock as they focus on creating and deploying intellectual property and creative products such as books, music etc as well as creative services such as advertising and architecture across diverse sectors. There are also the live performance experiences which drive cultural tourism and which are central to community vitality as well. But more than that, it means, as seen in Gateshead and in Perth, a dedication to equity, responsibility and vitality for all community members to ensure their collective wellbeing.
As we enter this month of Finding Home and our collective stories of immigration, it is important to remember where we have come from, what we have brought with us, how to hold onto our cultural stories and practices, and then how to weave them in a way that recognizes all histories/herstories equally and which represents and equally engages, celebrates and expresses them culturally. This is no mean feat for communities and nations grounded in homogeneity. However, our multicultural nature and world now require us to rethink our ways of being together so that we all may live in a home built together. We have some wonderful opportunities for this kind of dialogue in Northern Colorado this next month and hope to hear from many of you at these events!
Wherever you go, there you are!