This website offers suggested methods for how to document community art collaborations as well as how to publicly share documentation (photos, videos, participant testimonials, etc) with a on-line format that will be accessible to a wide public.
An example is provided here based on documentation found in the archive of the Skol-CEDA co-creation projects, a three year community art collaboration that took place in Montréal, Québec from 2005-2008. This version of an on-line presentation (or public memory project) will hopefully spark some ideas for your group.
Why should we invest our time and energy into creating an on-line collective memory project ?
Given that we evolve by sharing our stories and insights, web projects about community art initiatives contribute to collective knowledge and to the production of community-based histories. Through sharing our projects on-line we can learn from and celebrate a diversity of projects and exchange our approaches to generating healthy communities.
How long does it take to create an on-line collective memory project ?
The example offered here, using selected documents from the Skol-CEDA co-creation projects, was assembled within 80 hours by one person who has training in text and image editing – as well as some familiarity with WordPress. Because the project participants had agreed to share their documents with the public (including photos, videos and comments from group evaluations), there were approximately 20 hours allotted for reviewing and selecting the content from the archive. 60 hours was then allotted for developing the blog.
However, if it is the first time you are using WordPress, if text translation is necessary as well as laying out a second language version of the blog – estimate 120-140 hours.
What resources will we need?
Hopefully this website will exemplify that limited resources are not necessarily an inhibiting factor. Limited fiscal and human resources can often raise concerns for community-based organizations who are considering whether or not to create a collective memory project. The basic elements you will need are:
– documents to work with
– access to the internet
– a person who can contribute their time (if they are not a volunteer, an honorarium for their work will be needed)
– somebody with basic image and text editing skills
– if translation cannot be done in-house, it will entail additional time and perhaps a translation fee.
This project emerged out of the research that was conducted for a Masters thesis titled Making the invisible visible: documenting the creative process – A case study of the archive from the Skol-CEDA co-creative collaboration.
In Spring 2012, the Skol team offered the opportunity to develop the Master’s thesis research into a practical resource guide, which has evolved into this website.
For the purposes of this website, I selected documents that I felt represented the integrity if the Skol-CEDA co-creation projects. I tried to combine diverse perspectives into a collective narrative. However, given that I was not directly involved with the co-creative process, my curatorial approach reflects the biases inherent in my personal reading of the documents.
Thank you to Centre des arts actuels Skol for offering me the opportunity to create a resource that I hope will be useful to others. http://skol.ca/
Merci, thank you, obrigadas to Adriana de Oliveira and Anne Bertrand, Danielle Arcand, all of the CEDA literacy program participants and staff, Catherine Sylvain, Nancy Belzile, Christine Brault, Bernard Schütze, and the Skol staff and membership – for the wealth of insight and reflection that was transmitted to me through your documents and our conversations.
And thank you to Sherry Farrell Racette, Loren Lerner and the Concordia Art History department for enriching this project with your support and feedback during the process of researching and writing my thesis. Special thanks to Devora Neumark and Rachel Von Fossen for sharing your stories and asking great questions.
Pohanna Pyne Feinberg