Context of Changes&Chances
C&C is born out of a growing need for joining forces as well as for the coordination of knowledge and activities in the field of quality control, research and innovation concerning the development of Soft Skills (employability skills) through the arts.
In the 1990s community art was making headway in the Netherlands. Socially concerned artists started to make performances, films and exhibitions with ‘ordinary’ people – not professional art practitioners – based on these people’s stories.
Soon it became clear to which extent such a creative group process was leading to the development of the social skills of the participants and to greater social cohesion.
Community art uses the arts as a catalyst for non-cognitive learning. In the meantime, research in several European countries has shown that this method is highly successful, especially with people at a considerable distance to the labor market.
The Netherlands has a long history of arts education in prisons; community art ‘avant la lettre’.
A sequence of European projects, among others EQUAL (Innovative strategies for increasing access to the labor market) KunstWerk(t) (2005-2008) and PEETA (Personal Effectiveness and Employability Through the Arts) (2010-2012), in which one or more of the C&C team were involved, have accumulated the knowledge, the (inter)national network and a considerable basis of research results.
The experiences and research have brought to light the success factors and pitfalls. Quality control of the artistic process as well as the learning capacities of the participants appear to be of crucial importance.
In the Netherlands more and more initiatives are being set up in the field of learning through the arts, but the artists and art educators are often not aware of each other and too little exchange of knowledge and experience is taking place.
The Ministry of Justice as well as that of Welfare have developed policies in this field and official budgets are available for educational and/or cultural activities, although these are not always put to use for this aim.
Within the framework of the global discussion about ‘21st Century Skills’ it will be necessary that prolonged research is being done in methodologies and results of informal learning through the arts.
C&C can join the forces of art organizations and individual artists who work in this field; coordinate exchanges and collaborations; watch over policies; stimulate research and initiate and manage international projects.
C&C wants to be the intermediary for connecting artists and for organizations working with the target groups.
Changes&Chances wants to bring change and offer chances.