Opera as a Community Arts Project: Engagement and Participation Strategies

By Jacqueline Clements.

Published by The International Journal of Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: May 26, 2016 $US5.00

The role of arts in developing communities is increasingly recognised. In 2010, an arts education institute in the low socioeconomic city of Delfzijl in the Netherlands produced Bizet’s Carmen as a community opera project. Opera, with its complexity and elitist reputation, does not easily align with the democratic and participatory nature of community based arts. Through working with a mix of professionals and amateur performers, the opera project achieved both artistic results and community outcomes. An additional festival contained a vast number of professional and community initiatives, making opera accessible for a large and diverse audience. This paper will argue that defining community arts in terms of community development is too narrow. Understanding how cities can be re-shaped through cultural engagement is better understood through exploring the relationships between the arts world, community organisations, corporate industries/business, local government and the community. This assertion forms the basis for examining the projects network and social capital dimensions, which culminates in identifying mechanisms of engagement and fostering participation in terms of purpose, legitimacy and coolness (group affiliation).

Keywords: Community Arts, Participation, Creative Development Strategies

The International Journal of Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts, Volume 11, Issue 3, September, 2016, pp.57-68. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: May 26, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 643.293KB)).

Jacqueline Clements

PhD Candidate, School of Social Sciences and Psychology, University of Western Sydney, Penrith, NSW, Australia