Enhancing creativity and fostering education to enable community development: Case study in Favara (Sicily, Italy)
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The research explores the role of creativity and education in Favara, a town in the economically depressed Province of Agrigento. After the European Year of Creativity and Innovation the European Commission proposed the strategy Europe 2020 with the aim of “smart, sustainable, inclusive growth”. The purpose of this research is to identify best practices undertaken by these guidelines through creativity. The research is set in Favara, where I was artist-in-residence to conceive a project based on the immaterial inheritances of Sicily, promoted by I-Art Association. I have been hosted by Farm Cultural Park, a cultural and creative center founded and granted by two private citizens of Favara with the ambition to foster creativity and develop sense of belonging in a city lacerated by unauthorized architectural development, and in a community oppressed by illegality and unemployment with a GDP among the lowest in Italy. I was not only dealing with inheritance but also with the concept of “dowry”: the aim of Farm is to offer children a better world. The double role of artist and ethnographer helped me to resolve this ostensible oxymoron: being artist-in-residence means to be completely part of the setting and this status enhanced my role as ethnographer. I combined the maieutic approach in perceiving the genius loci as artist with the “connective thinking” (Agar, 2006) in order to reach an anthropological holism. I detected qualitative data with participant observations in Favara and in the microcosm of Farm, finding out relationships through an ecological view (Bateson, 1977/2011). In order not to interfere with the research I produced my artwork when I left the field of investigation. The research came out with the result that Farm is a best practice according to Europe 2020 guidelines because it is able to grow sense of belonging, turn on virtuous economically circle, redesign architecture. Inventing new way of involving participant community, conceiving new methods of learning, fostering intergenerational relationships displays that creativity is the driving force that moves civilization toward (Hennessey & Amabile, cited in Sawyer, 2010). Farm Cultural Park’s people have the ability to evoke new perspectives, to go out of the frames (Sclavi, 2003), because they experienced that lifelong learning is the way to reserve experiences and stories (Dozza, 2016). Today with its 54.444 likes on Facebook, Farm Cultural Park is a sort of Favara’s amplifier (Bruner, 1976): its inhabitants are virtually almost redouble.