International Conference on Social Media and Communication Technologies December, Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Caravan Project as a Space for Transformation
During the setting up of the yurts, we were actively researching and establishing the structures, processes and methodologies through which creative community engagements were promoted and established. These creative engagements were enhanced through co-production, community involvement and community-led activities. The stories were used as an instigator for discussion and engagement among participants. Specific community building events (gatherings) were organized to engage members’ activities and enhance their understanding of the importance of the story in cultural and social links with family, culture, heritage and place. The output was most of the times a consensual synthesis, used to identify, map and implement multiple practical and conceptual challenges in areas of community development and social transformation. The workshops were driven by interaction, communal reflection and story-building methods that facilitated creative co-production. Metaphors (verbal or visual) emerged and were discussed in groups and unveiled how metaphoric representations in stories we tell entail feelings, desires and dreams; how the images we create could enable community sharing and reformulation of collective consciousness. The findings raised the following issues in relation to future community based and citizen involvement initiatives: (a) the role of users in the production of public-digital transformations; b) the factors influencing the capacity and willingness of citizens to engage in co-production; c) the impact of cultural initiatives upon sustainable forms of social participation and change
The story-spaces of the Caravan project reproduced and re-territorialized institutions, identities and social relations. Caravan achieved a departure from fixed stagnated identities towards new territories, a movement that can capture the untold element of stories. The Caravan will soon move to another space, create conditions of original, unexpected and heterogeneous interactions and through that enact other story-spaces. The Caravan co-constructed alternative spaces of interaction and elicits the untold element of stories. In times of crisis and uncertainty, stories can contribute to the development of a creative dialogue between various social entities. The focus is thus shifted towards the ways in which creativity has the capacity to change the values and relations (as well as organisations) for the better. While following the Caravan from one location to the next, we participated in a process that resulted in a unique territory, conducive of the unique untold stories it elicited. Discussing untold stories along with transformative creativity, we viewed artistic initiatives as co-constructing agents of territories, previously unknown, where one has the potential of becoming-Other. This was our story, a voyage into Another World, which, though subtle, is Here.