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  Thread:   Newcomer
  Date Posted: 2003-01-06 18:18:12
Author: Allen G.

After examination of the site under the links titled What’s ccd?; ccd glossary; Broadly speaking; and a number of other on line sources providing their definitions of ccd; in using those definitions it still remains unclear to me as to what ccd actually is. To be more precise, the definition of ccd seems to increasingly occupy the spectrum of all forms of human expression when comparing one ccd definition source against another. By the limited source of material available to me, the most basic of definitions are not given (eg the definition of art) but understanding of what art actually is seems to be the key to understanding ccd.

The term art as used in available ccd definitions, point to it being integral to the ccd definition. An example is the link What’s ccd? where the second sentence states “It’s about applying community-based arts practice to address an issue of concern identified by a local community.” Art, therefore, seems to be inextricably linked to ccd, and vice versa. Under the link ccd glossary there is no definition of art which is surprising because use of the term art is liberal in ccd definitions.

Art, according to the Oxford dictionary in its noun form means: skill, especially human skill as opposed to nature, (ability in) skilful execution as an object in itself. It is obvious that skill is present in most vocations and life experiences in the vastness of human expression. Whether across the social, economic, political, philanthropic or religious sectors, art as an expression of human skill is everywhere.

The quote by Malcolm McKinnon in Artwork March 1998 says ‘…the shift from ‘community art’ to ‘cultural development’ is a theoretical and political repositioning intended to move beyond a ‘soft’ marginalised realm to a more credible, central location within the larger cultural discourse.’ It seems not to require a great amount of grey matter to conclude that the shift from community art to cultural development alters the popular or original definition of ccd and therefore, the definition of art.

However, the qualifications used by Malcolm McKinnon in the above ie ‘political repositioning’ and ‘larger cultural discourse’ are most revealing. For me, ccd is more than community art or cultural development. Consequently I interpret the definition of ccd from the material in front of me as restrictive and quite the opposite of what it purports to be. Politics and culture are only two aspects that capture the essence of a ‘broader humanity’; a 'human family' with all of its pitfalls and failings (its bad points) as well as its triumphs and victories (its good points).

A community obviously undergoes some form of development from its present condition even if a negative influence is brought to bear on it. The direction of its development might be retrograde but it is still development away from its present condition. Where and how do standards apply if the saying ‘one persons food is another persons poison’ has relevance? There are a number of conclusions I arrive at when analysing the material in front of me and they are:

 ccd could not just be about community arts applying itself through arts workers but would need to be broadened to include other expressions of human skill in other sectors eg social arts, economic arts, political arts, philanthropic arts and religious arts expressing themselves through their respective agents of change (arts workers)
 in the broader global aspect where the incumbent regime of power known commonly as governmentality dominates, what is identified as ccd may actually be the practice of human beings attempting to bring order into the chaos around them, based on self-improvement and self-regulation
 those Indigenous cultures already whole and complete that do not require change by development or by transformation, but have been colonised and rendered dependent by the dominant society, are not practicing ccd as defined by their dominant peers but are actually practicing survival

However, being a newcomer to the field of ccd I might be ‘right off the planet’ with my analyses. In which case, the ‘space cadet lunatic fringe’ would be my only means of stimulus for ccd. However, I still have many more questions on ccd or an alternative term/definition that I would like to receive clarification on.


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