I recently read an interesting article on www.opendemocracy.net. Written by Jenny Pearce, she outlined a project at Bradford Community University which ‘aimed at exploring what emerges when academics and community participants try to learn from each other’.
The article acknowledges that knowledge is produced by communities, and social activists, amongst others. She describes this kind of knowledge as ‘experiential’, and ‘extremely valuable’, ‘a non-systematised learning from everyday life which guides many people in their understanding and analysis of the world and builds the grounds upon which they act in it’. I really like this framing of everyday understanding and activity.
I’m currently working on a project with local campaigners around positive social change in their neighbourhoods across Leeds, entitled Citizens for Change. Part of this project, is an exchange of knowledge between myself (primarily an artist, taking the role of facilitator here) and these grassroots activists, which is helping me explore the overlap between the role of the artist and social activist in society today.