INSPIRE – TRANSFORMING THE KINGSTON COMMUNITY
“Only the human mind invents categories and tries to force facts into separated pigeon-holes. The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects.” – Gay Pride Week, 2015
The 2016 Project
Inspire is a community-focused project, that will run in the fall of 2016, made up of a series of creative activities. The main objective is to encourage open-mindedness and tolerance amongst the Kingston residents and to inspire participants to think differently. By thinking differently we mean dealing with prejudices and stereotypes they hold about others in their community, who come from different groups or backgrounds.
- Challenging Stereotypes – Participants will be given stories about various individuals, without disclosing age, background or any physical features. They will then be asked to guess the identity of the person described. These matching exercises address stereotypical thinking and prejudices and will help the community learn about its hidden
- Treasure Hunt – This workshop will promote and encourage community cohesion by offering individuals or groups the opportunity to explore other communities and learn about each other. This will allow residents to broaden their knowledge and gain a greater insight into the different cultural beliefs that every community treasures.
- Community Scene – Consist of flash mobs to raise awareness in the community about misjudging individuals because of their appearance. We are keen to engage in experiments of short scenes, presenting different scenarios of diverse individuals in order to demonstrate the social injustice of our society.
We believe that through creativity and play, we can explore otherwise uncomfortable issues in a safe environment. We all have hidden biases and prejudices – with INSPIRE, we can learn about ourselves and others in our community while having lots of fun!
The need to ‘inspire’ our community
Kingston is a diverse community: the percentage of BAME citizens in 2011 was 26%, compared to 14.1% in England and Wales as a whole. Nevertheless, an issue that has been mentioned frequently in our discussions with our partners and from past projects, is that despite its multiculturalism, there is a lack of integration amongst groups, which can lead to isolation and discrimination.
We hope to encourage individuals to stop and think about these things. We seek to inspire the community to make a change regarding their behaviour and make them acknowledge how their preconceptions, borne out of the media or social environment, can unconsciously lead to prejudice and discriminatory behaviour.
We are hoping to hold each event in all four neighbourhoods in the Kingston borough, in the aim of reaching as many people as possible, as well as increasing unity on a neighbour-to-neighbour level. We will do this by working directly with the neighbourhood managers of Kingston Council and hosting neighbourhood specific events in order to target participants who are less likely to be engaged – civic engagement tends to lead to further civic engagement, something that would be very beneficial to the community.
“You have to taste a culture to understand it.” – Deborah Cater
We aim to reach 1,500 residents throughout the Inspire project. Furthermore, we will be producing a short documentary which will include data about local integration – through local media and social media, we envisage this reaching many more people in the local area and beyond. This will be an informative tool as well as encouraging open-mindedness and thinking differently.
How can we build on success of Inspire?
The Inspire project builds on another successful project that we ran in 2014 called “Celebrating Freedom”, which too was aimed at bringing the community together and breaking down barriers. In the same way as Celebrating Freedom did, we anticipate that the findings from Inspire will go on to be used to host other creative projects that go towards meetings the objectives of Quilombo UK and uniting Kingston. We will continue to expand on this and create more creative activities enhancing integration overall or focusing on specific marginalised groups, such as our Changing for Change project that investigated and educated on prejudice towards the transgender community.