This is our neighborhood: artistic actions that teach art and citizenship


Various modes of restitution make it possible to cross the glances. Here, a small exhibition was designed by the participants from sheets they filled in on their teaching practices. Provided by the author[/caption]

Can you imagine meeting one day, walking through your neighborhood, dozens of boys and girls accompanied by university students in search of the sound beat of its streets and squares? The actions of listening and sound intervention are a source of auditory and visual resources. The resulting pieces can be displayed in an exhibition space.

During the last four years, in the disadvantaged neighborhood of Nou Llevant-Soledad Sud in Palma de Mallorca, a result of the urban expansion of the city, primary school students and some neighbors have made the public space their own, playing with art as a didactic resource .

The students learned a multitude of possibilities and techniques of artistic expression while affecting their environment and developing a critical view of it.

Learn outside the classroom

Our neighborhood offers us a valuable source of resources to create and consolidate spaces for learning, reflection and debate. We can investigate, learn and develop our skills, enhance critical thinking. In short, to be participatory citizens in the territory we inhabit.

Getting out of the classroom and occupying the public space as a learning space facilitates the creation of alliances between the school and social context, while allowing us to create community links.

In particular, experiences with art, through collaborative creative processes, can help build a social network that strengthens the educational and cultural fabric of the neighborhood.

This is the assumption from which our project Re-Inhabit the Neighborhood: Processes of Transformation and Empowerment between University-School-Society through Artistic Practices starts .

Alliances between university, school and community

We design an artistic program based on the joint work between university, school and society with the purpose of creating links that promote social transformation and citizen empowerment.

The programme, entitled My neighbourhood, my school, consists of 29 artistic-pedagogical actions carried out by university students, primary school students, teachers, families, inhabitants and institutions of the neighbourhood, together with teachers, experts and guest artists.

Context and meaningful learning

It is important to value the richness of our environment from all its aspects. To this end, artistic practices make it easier for us to approach the context of the neighbourhood.

The educational material for each of the actions is provided by the neighborhood itself, which allows us to carry out learning in situ. The approaches were varied and in this way we were able to start from the experiences of daily life.

From different perspectives and from different approaches we explore the common space that we share and inhabit: from music, plastic and visual arts, poetry, theater, ceramics, new technologies, robotics, sociology, architecture…

The transformative role of art

Knowledge of the neighborhood through artistic and innovative practices contributes to social transformation and citizen empowerment.

By acting from our immediate environment, from the local, both the students and the rest of the participants directly cause changes. Education in general, and artistic practices in particular, through pedagogical interventions, constitute a powerful engine for social transformation.

Neighborhood model. Author provided

Video mapping of the neighborhood. Author provided

Learning is thus done in a dynamic way and the participants become more aware of the reality that surrounds them; they understand that they can and must act in favor of the detected needs with the purpose of advancing towards a social transformation.

We value results and learn together

After the implementation of the program, its impact in the educational, artistic, social and cultural fields was evaluated. The various artistic-pedagogical actions have allowed us to:

  1. The creation of links in the community and the approach to the neighborhood.
  2. The exploration and occupation of public space.
  3. The appropriation of the context by the participants.

Facing a creative process has enabled us to appropriate both the process and the result of what happened, we have felt it as our own, we have discovered the simplicity of everyday life.

Membership and participation

For example, in the action Imaginario audiovisual del barrio , the past and present of the neighborhood are collected, as well as the desire for the future on the part of the children who inhabit it.

Immersion in the neighbourhood, understood as a public, common and convergence space, has allowed its inhabitants to develop a feeling of belonging, by identifying shared realities and positioning themselves as legitimate voices in the future of the space in which they live.

Author Bios: Noemy Berbel Gomez is Professor of the Area of ​​Didactics of Musical Expression. Department of Pedagogy and Specific Didactics at the University of the Balearic Islands and Wonders Diaz who is a Retired Professor of the Didactics of Musical Expression Area, Department of Didactics of Musical, Plastic and Corporal Expression at the University of the Basque Country / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea