Finding Voices, Making Choices: creativity for social change

14th January 2005 at 00:00
Finding Voices, Making Choices: creativity for social change. Edited by Mark Webster and Glen Buglass. Educational Heretics Press pound;9.95 113 Arundel Drive, Bramcote Hills, Nottingham NG9 3FQ.

We've always had community arts, haven't we? Grass-roots initiatives, open to all? Male voice choirs, bands, sewing groups, step dancers, reciters of monologues? Well, yes, but they aren't easily started and encouraged on today's big urban estates, such as the Beechdale in Walsall, where Glen Buglass works. It needs to be the catalyst of an empowering organisation with funding. Given that, good things can happen.

"Why has Beechdale Arts Forum worked?" asks contributor Jonathan Herbert, going on to suggest two reasons surely common to the success of all such projects: "Firstly, because arts projects are fun, and secondly, because of the principles of community arts - of access to all, local control, empowerment, participation, and of partnership."

The book, here in its second edition, tells good and encouraging stories of self-discovery and the growth of mutual esteem while tackling the at times daunting practicalities of running projects in difficult circumstances.

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