Mandala Community Arts Project 2015
'using art to create better understanding'
This community arts project built upon a successful previous project (Hidden Stories of York) that was inspired by the JRF report ‘Mapping rapidly changing minority ethnic populations: a case study of York 2010’. Both projects address a need to build social cohesion in all communities within York, challenging the misconception that it is still a 'white', Christian monoculture community. This time, instead of using oral BME stories, the project usde the medium of art to record, share and celebrate the cultural heritage of York’s unseen, often disadvantaged and unknown multicultural community. Their artwork will act as a catalyst to encourage other groups in York to contribute and respond through art.The project was funded by JRF and Community York.
Volunteers from the BME York community explored their cultural heritage and personal stories through Mandalas. Mandalas are colourful graphic symbols recognised by numerous cultures and faiths around the world. They represent an individual’s interests, strengths and hopes for the future. A Mandala is a "circle," composed of squares or triangles with a concentric structure symbolizing unity and harmony. The project aims to build community cohesion through the unifying Mandalas. Mandalas were used because they honour individual uniqueness and can be used as a focus and a process to understand shared community values.
In the first instance, the BME volunteers created their own Mandalas. This helped to foster the group’s well-being and sense of belonging. These individuals were then given training to introduce their Mandalas to other community members, sharing their cultural values and experiences to inspire community members to do the same. Working in teams during workshops, participants explored through the creation of Mandalas issues associated with difference, uniqueness and stereotyping in order to challenge misconceptions. The process allowed individuals to discover shared unifying values aimed tol improve social cohesion, integration and citizenship by bringing different intergenerational community members together.
This much needed project therefore celebrated and aimed to improve social cohesion, promote shared values that build citizenship and benefited the whole community.
An end of project event took place on the 12th March attended by the Civic party of York. Community Groups were presented with their Mandala panels at this event along with certificates in recogntion of their work on diversity and community cohesion. A short project brief is available with each panel(click to read). Community York's final evaluation report can be read here.
Young People Tackling Climate Change CGE York
Brief project description
The project is funded by DCSF for 2 years from April 2009 with the aim of encouraging young people’s participation in democracy around youth choices and opportunities and of creating greater sustainability for future generations in York.
The Centre for Global Education York (CGE) was established in 1982. It is an independent, non-profit, curriculum development centre. We work locally, regionally, nationally and internationally to introduce and embed global issues into teaching and learning. We encourage a range of teaching styles to meet individual learning needs and to promote active participation around the aim of “education for a just future”.
As part of the project, York Young Person’s Action group (YYPAG), a group of 12-18 year olds, will be set up to focus on key areas locally such as Green Space, Transport and Climate Change within a framework of young people’s rights.
The group will actively seek a wide membership, with places reserved for young people from disadvantaged groups in particular BME groups including travellers.
All the young people involved will be offered opportunities to:
YYPAG members will initiate and lead: