Narratives for a Better Future
Edited by Daniel Ericsson and Monika Kostera
Chapter 14: “Dad, Do Not Cry”: Imagination and creativity on their own terms in inclusive cities and communities
After the initial fascination with the so-called creative class, urban researchers and local policy makers tried to address (yet again) the more complex and seemingly more difficult problem of social inclusion. There is a need to develop a new narrative, which isn’t just about creative and innovative growth, but about inclusion being a part of prosperity. And this new narrative – in the author’s opinion – should not address various minorities, but the majority of those who are less successful and who remain silent about the most pressing social issues, which are contested, suppressed or overwritten by other associations, especially when political actors seek quick legitimacy. The author investigates how arts-based research can contribute to expanding our knowledge about social inclusion in the urban environment and the process of inclusion itself. As many scholars have already stated, artists see more and help us understand the world around us. They can significantly contribute to the process of sensemaking in many organizations, including various urban agencies and institutions, provided those artists are not hired for the sake of marketing but are seen as important actors facilitating deeper understanding of weak and silent members of society. Each town, region or community has its own identity, but quite often this identity is suppressed, silent or even hidden, because in many cases it does not conform to the global, neoliberal discourse. From that point of view it may even be seen as parochial, provincial and obscure, but nevertheless it tells the true story of exclusion from prosperity and development. Using arts-based research, the author finds, shows and describes some of these stories, such as the case of the “Dad, Do Not Cry” mural from Silesia, mentioned in the title. The story behind it shows that support from a strong, vital neighborhood and sensitive artists may reverse bad outcomes.
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