ERG SES H 02, Intercultural Education
The paper discusses whether creative spaces could become the places for the dialog between refugees and receiving communities. The paper suggests that a systematic concept of creativity could be applied to tackle the challenges of intercultural dialog such as bias, unequal power relationships, ethnocentrism. The educational and political significance of creative spaces is analyzed, where creativity could act as a catalyst for intercultural dialog.
The purpose of this paper is threefold. Firstly, it aims to discuss the challenges of intercultural dialog between refugees and receiving communities. Secondly, it analyzes the concept of creative space and the systematic understanding of creativity in intercultural context. In particular, it questions how creativity and creative space can enhance intercultural dialog and challenge unequal power relationships.
The paper builds on discussion carried out by the authors on the challenges of intercultural dialog between refugees and receiving communities. Dempster&Hardgrave (2017) reveal different attitudes, which people from different countries have about refugees and conclude that the negative attitudes could be best challenged locally, directly working with emotions and attitudes of people. Bauman (2000) argues that contemporary communities are insecure created on ethnic basis, the boundaries are created excluding and emphasizing differences, so refugees become stigmitized. Unity can be reached only having dialogs, compromises, confrontations and the future of European Union belongs on its ability to deal with cultural diversity (Bauman, 2001). Various resources being used for preparing refugees for integration, however less attention is given to fostering a dialog between receiving communities and refugees and challenging discriminatory attitudes(Dandy, 2009).
One of the most effective way for changing negative attitudes towards refugees are open conversations, where refugees and receiving communities can share their difficulties and challenges, search for common solutions (Dempster&Hardgrave, 2017). Such communication has a potential of becoming intercultural dialog (Besley& Peters , 2011). Intercultural dialog is a widely used concept and is identified as one of the aims of the European Union (Council of Europe, 2008). Intercultural dialog is defined as "a process that comprises an open and respectful exchange of views between individuals and groups with different ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic backgrounds and heritage, on the basis of mutual understanding and respect" (Council of Europe, 2008, p. 17). However, the document does not reveal the complexity of the concept (Holmes, 2014). Besley&Peters (2011) also warn about dangers of ethnocentrism and bias in a dialog between refugees and receiving communities.
One of the suggested solutions to the problem- creative spaces, which can become intercultural and educational places. The concept of creative space is closely related to the concept of creativity. It is space, where physical environment, social relationships and creativity are constantly interacting with each other (White&Lorenzi, 2006). The concept of creative space is linked to systematic understanding of creativity, which analyzes creativity as a complex phenomenon with many interrelated aspects. (Rimkutė-Jankūvienė, 2017). The concept of creative space is not widely researched. It is more commonly used in design and architecture literature. It is also frequently connected to creative place making movement in USA (Nicodemus, 2013). Space is frequently used as a synonym to define a territory or a place. Mayblin et al. (2015) emphasizes the importance of creative space as a physical object and argues that it is important to pay attention to physical attributes of space. Loi &Dillon (2006) introduce the vision of creative space as non-formal learning environment. Massey (2005) argues that the concept of space as a representation of a place is too narrow as space is more dynamic and it is hard to define its boundaries but its uncertainty can become basis for democracy.
This paper uses a theoretical conceptual analysis. It analyzes the key concepts of theoretical framework- intercultural dialog, creativity and creative space. A critical analysis of selected policy documents and literature in relation to creativity, intercultural dialog and creative space led to development of a critical stance and identification of recommendations to inform further research and practice. It uses mainly policy documents, research articles and philosophy books on the subject.
This paper presents a reflection on the potential of creative space to enhance a dialog between refugees and welcoming communities. It argues that creative spaces could encourage civic inclusion, give tools and opportunities to socially excluded people to participate in social and political life. The paper suggests that it is important to analyze power relationships and intercultural aspects of creativity and be critical about their application in creative space. The paper suggests a vision of creative space as intercultural open learning environment, where people could participate in shaping places, its physical objects, using various technologies and creative resources to express themselves and explore together various cultural perceptions of space and build more favorable conditions for intercultural dialog. It is recommended further research and discussion on the topic.
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