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The Art of Resilience, The Resilience of Art

February 26, 201426 February 2014

Arts management and funding

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This paper, based on two discussion sessions in the summer of 2013 with a total of 36 participants, argues that culture must be included “as an essential fourth dimension of resilience and livability”, in addition to environmental, social, and economic dimensions.

The paper defines resilience as “the capacity of people and communities to creatively adapt, [to] face stresses cooperatively, to formulate just and effective responses, and, as needed, to moderate and/or reshape behaviour in order to maintain an effective social order”.

Increasing resilience requires complex and “co-creative” adaptation, involving contributions from people in many different walks of life as well as “multisectoral efforts to manage complex challenges”. Artists have an important role, sometimes as disruptive outsiders who can shake up the status quo.

Several principles are promoted in the paper as helping “the advance towards urban resilience and livability”:

  • “Start with hospitality, inclusivity, diversity, and generosity.”
  • “Embrace complexity.”
  • “Acknowledge and respect both our own and others’ vulnerability.”
  • “Recognize the importance of place and community.”
  • “Encourage curiosity and flexibility and appreciate joy and delight.”
  • “Work with an appreciation for history.”

The paper concludes that “the art of resilience could be restated as the art of learning to live together as though our future really mattered. Writers, musicians, filmmakers, architects, designers must engage us all, whether as audience, students, or collaborators, in co-creating a new narrative, a new narrative for humanity.”

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