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ccd theory

Engaging art cover


Ccd does not have a formally agreed theory or code of practice, but is based on a framework of understanding that is loosely agreed on by those working in and with the sector. While these ideas are not overtly stated or even acknowledged, it can be argued that they still operate to shape the work of ccd.

Community development principles are a useful starting point for understanding ccd, however, ccd is more than community development + art. It is a unique practice that works creatively with communities on their own ground, on their own issues, through cultural practice.

Art production is a powerful medium for change, challenge and choice, and is very much part of the work of ccd. Artists and cultural workers can be seen as change agents in this context. So when collaborative art and cultural production happens in a community without the involvement of any ccd practitioners, is it still ccd?

Quote from Artwork magazine about the shift from 'community art' to 'cultural development'

courtesy Artwork magazine

  Cultural democracy

Image from the Project entry - Creative Democracy Cultural democracy is about the importance of equity in the transmission of ideas, values and aspirations. It is concerned with enabling different points of view to exist and to be communicated within a society - the processes involving the expression and transmission of cultural values.
It acknowledges that some groups in society have greater access to resources, education and political processes, than do others. As a consequence, these groups also have greater power to project their values and systems of organisation and affect a ‘dominant' value system that often precludes and oppresses other groups.

Project examples

Creative Democracy- Homelessness is a Brisbane City Council initiative produced by the Australian Network for Arts and Health in partnership with Open Minds. The project uses art and creative processes to engage the citizens of Brisbane to find solutions


Posted: 25 August 2004

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Also see:
Artwork Magazine
Browse Projects


Image from the Project entry - Warrior Women Self-determination refers to a group or individual's right and ability to create their own futures. In ccd, this community development principle underpins community cultural action, and is an essential part of community empowerment and change facilitation. Ccd projects and programs that are focused on working with communities to determine their vision for the future, find solutions, and bring into action new ideas and ways through examining their values and customs, are working with the principle of self-determination.

Project examples

The Warrior Women Exhibition is a moving, insightful and innovative mixed media artistic exhibition created by women exploring their experiences of breast cancer.

The exhibition provides a unique insight into the the lives of women who have been affected

stART community artists and art space

Posted: 07 October 2003

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At the start of 2004, a group of around 25 Aboriginal teenagers from all over the Katherine Region began workshops in dance, drama and more. The idea was to start performing – both within their own communities and in Katherine town – to show just how much

Katherine Community Youth Theatre

Posted: 26 October 2004

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Also see:
What is Artwork Magazine?
Browse Projects

  Collaborative art and cultural production

participants quote image from mermaids project Cultural expression through performance, fashion, media, visual arts, and the environment are some of the ways that we as communities and individuals communicate our values. A ccd project or program may utilize any art medium or practice, depending on the needs of the community, the issue and the resources available, sometimes involving many artforms.

Art production is a great way to access and express values and ideas… when art is collaboratively produced, it creates another level of engagement with those ideas and values, and asks us to share, learn and question. It is an extremely effective way of communicating a shared vision, and in the process, builds connections and brings benefits to the participants, the project partners and the audience.>

Project examples

a young mermaid's guide to planet earth

arts, health and community cultural development with young people

A Young Mermaid's Guide to Planet Earth (Mermaids ) is a program that combines community cultural development and community arts processes with peer education, to work in partnership with young people around significant social health issues connected to violence and mental health.

Womens Health Statewide

Posted: 02 June 2004

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  Social justice

The work of ccd is deeply concerned with social justice. Often, communities and groups that are underprivileged and struggle with issues of social inequity struggle to find a voice for themselves. Ccd programs and projects can provide safe spaces that are useful in exploring the nature of injustices or issues, and developing constructive and creative ways of working with them.
What ccd cannot do is rescue or save a community. It is not a welfare practice. It does, however, provide forums and opportunities for communities to practice empowerment around their issues..

Project examples

Young people, who often find themselves at the margins of society, are the focus of an innovative community arts project that will be piloted in the heart of Melbourne in 2001 - 2002.The project is the result of a partnership between the Cultural Development Network (Vic), BIGhART, and the City of Melbourne. It has been generously sponsored by VicHealth and the Lance Reichstein Trust.

Cultural Development Network

Posted: 10 February 2003

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  Find out more…

Effective Change
Evaluating Community Arts and Community Wellbeing an evaluation guide for community arts practitioners

Australia Council Community Cultural Development Board
The community cultural development gospel according to the Australia Council. Grant information, plus criteria, What's new, Board members, staff contacts, frequently asked questions about CCD, and some handy links.

Active participation in cultural life is an essential goal of community cultural development.

All cultures are essentially equal, and society should not promote anyone as superior to the others.

Diversity is a social asset, part of the cultural commonwealth, requiring protection and nourishment.

Culture is an effective crucible for social transformation, one that can be less polarising and create deeper connections than other social-change arenas.

Cultural expression is a means of emancipation, not the primary end in itself; the process is as important as the product.

Culture is a dynamic, protean whole, and there is no value in creating artificial boundaries within it. Artists have roles as agents of transformation that are more socially valuable than mainstream art-world roles - and certainly equal in legitimacy.'

Adams D & Goldbard, A Creative Community - The Art of Cultural Development.
Rockefeller Foundation, New York, 2001

ArtSAAustralia Council


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