First International Conference of Young Urban Researchers (FICYUrb)
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Stephanie Lemmens

“Local Cultural Policy(s) and Community Building. The cultural space of places in Flanders (Belgium)”

Stephanie Lemmens
Cosmopolis - City, Culture & Society. Associated with th

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     Last modified: May 16, 2007
     Presentation date: 06/12/2007 11:45 AM in ISCTE-II B201
     (View Schedule)

Culture is frequently used as a tool to improve the quality of social processes, the quality of living together. Culture has the intrinsic capacity to confront people with their daily practices (and make them reflect upon these practices), to stimulate them gaining new experiences and skills, to make people able to interact with the ‘other’. Hence, culture in different forms and shapes has a quality pre-eminently to intervene in community building. This, both in processes of bonding within communities and bridging in intercultural relationships.

Which scale of intervention should be considered here? Questions concerning ‘Who’s culture should be represented?’, ‘Which communities are included (and which are not)?’, … are at stake here. In a continuously globalising world national boundaries fade away and cities and places within the city become of major importance. Different kinds of social (and cultural) capital (than the national and regional ones) are formed. At the same time these new forms of capital are needed to deal with (problematic) issues arising in nowadays society.

Searching for a new interpretation of these forms of capital should take place in those places dense and diverse enough and in that way representative for the complexity of today’s society. This paper addresses cultural policy(s) in relation to its local context. We argue for the importance of proximity, neighbourhoods and ‘quartiers’ in the city where people relate to in one way or another. Places which are consequently real cultural spaces in people’s lives.

The case study is based on a two years action research with ten projects of local cultural policy in a Flemish context.

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