Cultural solution

23rd August 1996 at 01:00
One World Many Cultures - Fourth International Conference On Education And The Arts, Pounds 24 (including pp) from Arts in Fife, The Tower Block, ASDARC, Woodend Road, KY5 0NE

Here is one book with many papers - 26 in all. The conference theme was adult education and the arts as vehicles for social change and development of communities and individuals.

The theme is powerfully portrayed in the keynote speeches which are transcribed in the book. They show how poetry and other arts and literature can be used to look again on suffering and to approach things differently.

Ingrid Fiske, reporting on work in Cape Town, South Africa, describes two projects which are seeking to lay the ghosts of apartheid. She shows how learning history in the notorious District Six - where the population was segregated and dispersed - via a street exhibition, allowed former residents to recall their roots.

Paul Nolan, a Workers' Educational Association employee in Northern Ireland, gives a highly personal summary of life, arts and adult education in the "Troubles". He relates the difficulties of development in a divided community but also how strife brought about a new artistic imperative. Nolan shows how enjoyment of artistic activities has provided new meeting places where sectarianism is, temporarily, not an issue. Thus arts helps people to rethink what they mean by community.

The papers are an eclecticcollection reflecting the breadth of the arts and adult education. They roam the world, from academic reports of university research to community projects involving traditional culture, from the therapeutic function of Canadian arts education to the Glasgow Writer's Club and the role of traditional entertainers as educators in Sierra Leone.

This is a book to dip into. Whatever your interest, you will find articles of interest. It is a book to be mined for gems.

The conference was an evident success and this report of it deserves to be so.

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