EmcArts and Kresge Foundation: Community Innovation Labs
EmcArts, with support from the Kresge Foundation, is launching Community Innovation Labs in two new communities across the United States in 2016-2017. These Labs will offer the opportunity for local stakeholders in two communities to take on an urgent and specific social challenge by using artistic practices to explore local systems and advance innovative responses.
The Labs represent an unconventional approach that brings multiple viewpoints together to address complex social challenges in new ways. The Labs use artistic processes to build trust, explore new possibilities, and advance arts-based strategies for systemic change. As interventions in local systems, the Labs are designed to help community stakeholders from different sectors work together in innovative ways in response to a specific challenge they are committed to tackling. The Labs will bring together diverse, cross-sector groups of stakeholders in each location, including city agencies, community organizers, business leaders, artists, cultural organizations and nonprofit service providers. The Labs will foster a deeply connected local network and take a systemic, arts-integrated approach to change.
Those selected for the challenge will participate in a two-phase process:
Phase 1: Initiating a Lab: EmcArts works with local Conveners to customize key elements of the Lab design to the local context, clarify the focus of the Lab, engage local artists, engage a small group of local Champions, and recruit larger groups of Lab Members, who represent the social diversity of the system relative to the stated challenge. Research is conducted to gather stories and perspectives from local stakeholders, who each bring a different insight on the challenge. Outputs produced from research are used in Phase 2.
Phase 2: Unfreezing the Status Quo: EmcArts facilitates a series of carefully crafted Intensive Workshops for a core group of 30-40 Lab participants, as well as a series of additional community gatherings to engage a larger cross-section of local stakeholders and influencers. Activities in this Phase are designed to increase shared understanding of the challenge, begin to unfreeze the status quo in the system, develop trust, and organically catalyze participants into cross-sector working groups for new systemic initiatives. Workshops are richly interwoven with artistic facilitation techniques and move participants towards transformative, arts-based strategies for change. Each builds on the previous, drawn from a deep well of experience and theory.
Amount: The Kresge Foundation is covering program design and facilitation for partner EmcArts, including travel and accommodations to the community applying.
Eligibility: Not stated. Conveners of the proposal are responsible for obtaining a community matching grant of $100,000 plus part-time project support to coordinate the Lab.
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