BOOK REVIEW: BETWEEN OURSELVES

Reader friendly with practical applications; this book is an informative platform and practical resource for those wishing to be involved in intercultural inclusiveness through the medium of the arts. It looks
at alternatives to the “normal” political perspective by facilitating integration and education through the Arts… “That Road Less Travelled”.

by Frankey Mac Uidhrín

It is neatly partitioned into 5 sections and takes us on a journey from fundamental conception to progression to its present development and looks at the potential for future and further evolution through the use of art.

It reminds us that interculturalism has to include the whole community of Northern Ireland not just the minority groups. It defines interculturalism as “en- couraging change and interaction rather than either assimilation or segregation”, thereby embracing openness to change. However, it equally recognises that individuals should not have to renounce their own culture nor values to respect the either similar or differing cultural values of others through inter- action with one another.

It recognises that there is already some established intercultural art practice in Northern Ireland and looks at the challenges this has presented in order to create a shared future. It challenges our per- ceived understanding of self and others and takes us through a journey of exploration. It is a hugely informative and thought provoking book.

Contributing editor, Dr Shelley Tracey, a South African born researcher, reflective practitioner and community artist shared how co-editing and co-writing Between Ourselves has allowed her to reflect on her own personal life experiences.

“As a South African Jew, I have encountered the challenges of being an outsider both in terms of culture and religion in my experiences as a migrant to Northern Ireland from South Africa in the 90s.

“It was a great opportunity to reflect on migrating to Northern Ireland and to identify all the learning which comes from the need to reinvent oneself. There are so many negative views out there about newcomers, refugees and others who have to move away from where they live. It was great to have the chance to explore all of these issues.

“I particularly liked talking about the role which the arts play in cultivating diversity and intercultural understanding.”

Published by the Community Arts Project (CAP), Between Ourselves, provides a vast range of assistance and guidance for people to get involved in community-based art and artistic activities, with a vision of inclusion for all. Chief executive of CAP, Conor Shields says,

“There is undoubtedly an opportunity to effect greater change and promote greater ambition for our community together. The arts have been increasingly turned to, to encourage greater understanding, visibility and awareness.”

To purchase a copy of “Between Ourselves” email Gordon Hewitt, Information and Policy Manager, at gordon@comartspartner.org. The cost is £5 (+p&p).

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