1 tent within 1 festival
5 creative facilitators
3 stations for interactive engagement
400+ citizens piqued curiosity
1000’s of ideas for developing the city’s cultural services
The objective of this project was to quickly provoke thoughts, ideas, senses, and creativity through visual and interactive engagements that stimulate meaningful responses.
Co*lab team utilized new creative tools to be a bridge for the Halifax Regional Municipality’s Cultural Plan turned into an action plan called the Social Heritage Strategy and public citizenry at large. A brave and inspired goal initiated from a municipality called us to action – let’s prototype creative tools for engaging diverse communities, let’s support institutions hungry for playful alternative social technologies that challenge the status quo. Too often citizens get disillusioned and apathetic from dry focus groups or town hall sessions, which draw upon the same small clusters and offer a speaking box for the outspoken to be heard. How do we move into another realm of meaningful participation to engage hearts, minds, and bodies and unearth the untapped ideas/ plans for how cultural programming could be most interesting and effective. The belief was to provoke people and many senses to stimulate meaningful responses from the public.
We had engagement hubs around 3 main activities that combined visual, kinesthetic, and creative learning styles; the culture wall, value clouds and culture “tagging”.
CULTURE WALL //
Along the back wall of the tent, seen from across the Commons, were huge colourful letters spelling “CULTURE”.
This activity helped us harvest the cultural assets people value and what they understand their community and shared histories to be.
This simple act created an exchange between community members, asked people to inquire into their places of what worked and what could be. This was primarily a placemaking and community building activity. This activity was an easy access point for children who enjoyed the fabric strips.
VALUE CLOUDS //
Hanging from the tent ceiling were 8 clouds – each animated with a value from the Social Heritage Strategy (Innovation, Creativity, Diversity, Participation, Leadership, Stewardship, Access, Equity). From each cloud hung 4 cards – one theme written & illustrated on each card. Strings connecting the clouds and cards hung to the floor. As people entered the tent, these clouds caught their attention right away. Our hosts asked how a value could become realized in their community or region. Participants wrote their thoughts on colourful pieces of paper then were asked to attach it with a clothes pin to the string hanging from the value cloud under the theme their idea fit best. This activity raised awareness about the HRM Cultural Plan values, make the values more relatable and uncovered other values people hold. This activity also gave people the opportunity to provide input on how they themselves and /or the HRM can support community well-being.
CULTURE TAGGING //
Upon entering the tent, one side of the tent wall hung a clothesline with a simple sign “Random Acts of Culture”. The aim was to entice participants into an appreciative approach of their local communities. We asked folks to respond to the following questions on colourful sheets of paper and then hang their thoughts on the clothesline:
*What is working?
*What do you love,
*What needs “loving”?|
Afterward participants took someone else’s “Random Act of Culture” hanging from the clothesline and then grabbed a “Culture Tag” (strip of colourful fabric) with the intention to wrap both the around spaces, places, objects that are culturally important to them. This simple act created an exchange between community members, asked people to inquire into their places of what worked and what could be. This was primarily a placemaking and community building activity. This activity was an easy access point for children who enjoyed the fabric strips.