Are there practices for working with groups of people regardless of age, nationality, social status, or profession? We sought answers to this question together with an artist and a teacher from Rome – Jacopo Natoli during the workshop “Involving Communities through Artistic Practices”.
Working with communities is often central to the work of artists and cultural managers. The urgency of involving participants in projects is exacerbated by the current period of the pandemic when we are maximally separated from each other, but to a greater or lesser extent need a connection with society. Realizing this, Jacopo Natoli and Jam Factory Art Center decided to hold a workshop on the specifics of working with communities.
In September, Jacopo collaborated with the Jam Factory Art Center as part of the “I’m Where I Feel Good” residency. At the end of autumn, the artist returned to Ukraine with an informal visit: for travel and his own research. The Jam Factory Art Center team used this opportunity to hold an educational event.
To participate in the two-day seminar, сall for applications was announced and 11 participants from the cultural sphere were selected: artists, curators, managers. The workshop took place in Lviv and consisted of a theoretical part, joint practices, and group work.
On the first day, participants discussed key concepts for working with groups: Body, Time, Nature, Relationship, Form, Event; considered personal examples of the artist’s work with groups and reflected on the question, WHAT creates a community. The group came to the conclusion that all unifying factors for groups simultaneously divide people: territory, identity, interests, economic and social conditions, life goals. The practical part of the first day included artistic practices of “rhythm and image”, during which the participants performed simple tasks, getting to know and communicating with each other.
On the second day, Jacopo shared resources and research to explore the topic in more detail. Afterward, the participants were divided into groups and given the task to create a concept of their own association (name, goals, mission, program, visual materials, etc.). This practice helped to think about the purpose and process of creating any associations, to find creative ways to involve people in solving common needs.
The aim of the workshop was to answer two main questions: how do artists work with communities and how to improve our skills of forming a community as a single organism? Participants sought ways to co-create through artistic practices. During the active discussion, a common conclusion was formulated that through “rhythm and image” it is possible to establish the first connections with the community for further cooperation, and the most important condition for creating communities is the free expression of their participants and lack of judgment.
A video of the workshop will be available soon.
The workshop was part of the MagiC Carpets project, which is co-financed by the European Union’s Creative Europe program.