Monday, November 22, 2010

LEVEL ONE/Stratified Communities and the Hidden Community

The three competing community influences are impacted by and modified in association with informal or formalized community based organizations, small, under resourced Community loose associations, and private individual initiatives that act independently, within communities, despite unexpected and negative outside institutional influences acted upon the community such as community service providers, social networking services, and traditional community institutions (Schools, city revitalization, and social groups including churches) each with their own and separate community initiatives. For the most part, traditional cultural institutions and agencies are not yet part of community engagement or cultural reutilization paths undertaken
by CultureWorks.

CultureWorks is the only initiative to work at community engagement and organizing. Additionally, in West Baltimore, communities do not have an familiarity with cultural organizing and cultural managers, within the City, are not acquitted with community redevelopment initiatives or its cultural models. The paths through these influences rest within the cultural histories of this community, the ability to bring forth community stories and oral traditions, and visualizing it. Level One is understanding that you are starting from "zero assets." Starting, here, does not mean that there isn't something more important to work with. There is a hidden civic action within community beneath what traditionally one would look for when beginning to work in community. Training one's eye to acknowledge its presence and to seek evidence of this hidden civic action leads toward build a framework for cultural organizing and social change.

In the four years since its inception, we have identified several strong indicators of a hidden community influence in West Baltimore. CultureWorks is using a community-based version of cultural organizing. The Fluid Community Cultural Engagement Model begins with the acknowledgment that there are individual civic action initiatives that are apart from tradition community engagement forms going on in this community. These initiatives have had a parallel relationship to the traditional circles of influence are is hidden for the most part unused as a platform for engagement by most community organizers.

The CultureWorks model began here and has developed its own approach to cultural organizing that includes; 1.) All cultural engagement paths are based upon allowing time for intra/interpersonal-relationships and established levels of cooperative decision making and commitments, 2.) The Cultural Engagement Paths are negotiated, by a community and cultural managers that are resourced by partnering with outside stakeholders, and may be incorporated into their ongoing community concerns, as part of defining elegant solutions that forms pathways to a transformative process, and 3.) Initial Cultural Engagement Paths, initiated by Cultural Manager/s, become frameworks for developing shared language, conduits for resources, and allows for cultural leadership to arise form within community. This model is not static nor carved into stone. It is meant to be used as appropriate to a community's resources and will. One along has the capacity to cause change.

Question: Is there theory to justify this?

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