On the 16th of June 2020, Intercult had the pleasure of hosting a digital social innovation lab together with our I_improve changemaker Livet Bitch! (which translates as Life Bitch!). The theme was: theatre as a space for feminist issues.
The participants in the lab where from all over Sweden’s cultural field – decision makers, freelance artists, theatre producers, students and many more. We were so happy to see such a big variety of people!
The more stories and experiences – the more we learn!
Livet Bitch! started off by presenting their work and the social aspects that inevitably follows it. They are an artistic and cultural platform that aims to give young girls and women the possibility to take part of the cultural sector and public spaces, regardless of their background. The work that Livet Bitch! does have ripple effects that impacts the local community: a new conversation is sparked, different kinds of meetings occur, and more perspectives are shared.
Livet Bitch! proceeded to share their method with the lab’s participants. It is a method that shows and teaches how to be a safe, inclusive and creative space, where the participants own stories take centre stage. It is a process about how to create art with a participatory process. It can also be applied to more than ”just” artistic processes: it is also a useful guide for all kinds of workspaces when exploring how to share a broader variety of experiences and stories.
In short terms, the method can be summarized with these steps:
Decide upon a theme which you can explore together with the participants.
Interview someone with experience or history connected to the theme. This can be several people, and they can be part of your participatory group.
Translate the research material into a dramatic/theatrical process. Use the material from the interviews as a foundation.
Strengthen the core of the story; elevate it and use your and the group’s imagination to explore it.
Meeting the audience
Your art is ready to meet with your audience: this can take any shape or form.
Allow your process to have guided you here, and know that your art is relevant and important.
One of the keys in this method is leadership; the person leading needs to enable inclusivity, and a participatory and listening atmosphere. That kind of leadership and the participatory process is the premises on which the rest of the method stands upon.
From these key factors, an important dialogue and creative conversation with the local community can follow.
You can read the method in full, in Swedish, here.
Back to the social innovation lab: the participants were then put into smaller groups where they did an excersise to illustrate the research phase of the methodology. And for the remaining time the lab participants shared experiences and discussed community building.
You can watch Intercult together with Johanna Thor from Livet Bitch! reflect on the social lab here!