Cultural animation: between the play, creativity and education

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Народное образование. Педагогика

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M. Matyjewicz
The presented paper regards mutual relations of cultural animation with arts and education. Although there are many similar points, cultural animation has its own characteristics and functions, as well as an actual trend to perceive cultural animation as a play.
Key words: Cultural animation, arts, education, play.
The problematic of participation in culture, its nature and most popular forms of activity is the fundamental question of the modern culture of animation. Animation tries to encourage and respond to the natural need to participate in culture, seeks to promote the collective activity and creativity, but still focuses on the individual, his needs, interests, and creative potential. The cultural animation is a method of influence inherently associated with the pedagogy and related processes: education and training. However, the animation fundamentally denies the scholasticism in favor of individualization, democracy, responsibility, and conscious creative activity. Taking into account the same ideals as pedagogy, the cultural animation tries in very different way to form their realistic image.
& quot-Animation, according to K. Hrycyk, is a mutual encouragement within the general framework of individualized participation in culture (…), individual and social enlivenment, inspiration, activity, initiative, creativity, and mobilization& quot- [1]. Animation of culture can be defined as a & quot-pedagogy of understanding and support,& quot- which introduces a partnership between the animator and pupils, abolishes hierarchy, and organizes contacts with greater freedom and greater autonomy, allowing for individual choice by the lesson participants of the relation forms. According to H. Tera, cultural animation involves three clearly associated processes: (1) the discovery process, which will take place in the creation of conditions for each group and each individual to & quot-manifest to himself,& quot- so that all can reveal all their needs, problems, doubts, desires- in cultural animation this process occurs by contact between the results and creators- (2) the process of establishing relations (organization of relations), which means making contacts both among people and between people and art works and their authors- the basis of these relations is mutual understanding and approval- (3) the creative process, which is manifested by bringing together individuals and groups with their environment through expression, initiative, responsibility, and creativity [2].
Basing its actions on the processes of activity and creativity, the cultural animation is opposed to comprehensive idiocy and intellectual passivity. Animation of culture is associated with many dimensions of human destiny- therefore, it acquires an interdisciplinary character and thus provides the chance of a wide and efficient influence in terms of education, society, and culture, but first of all in terms of education.
The acting animator often becomes a teacher: he shows how to take pictures, how to sing a song, to play any musical instrument, dance, and tell stories. This educational situation may be the starting point to encourage creative
enthusiasm and a craving for action. It is worth remembering that general education as a fact and as a right have become the foundation of democracy and civil society, and to the extent that it has become mandatory. Education in the animation aspect overcomes the educational pattern and is the basis for an & quot-infallible"- authority. There is a bilateral relationship and mutual influence here. This is not to be understood as accusations against the school — a school teacher is also a practitioner and animator of culture, who, in addition to knowledge, can (and even shall) take an active position in relation to culture. And school should take on the role of a local cultural center. What then is the relation between animation and education?
Animation is an active education in relations with people, in contact. It is actually the education in which concrete and checking skills are only a tool for a further cultural enrichment, in order to look at culture not as a blank sheet of paper, but as the elements, whose creative part anyone can be. Reflection on the educational dimension of animation allows us to understand the culture as a dynamic and complex set, as interweaving patterns, attitudes, behaviors, cultural practices, interpersonal relations, institutions, cultural paradigms, traditions, custom models, knowledge, experience, family and social group patterns, communication. Man is manifest in the way he is involved in this interlacement and in how he creates it. The anthropological dimension of cultural animation also realizes the human subjectivity in its complexity, with cultural, social, individual experience, inscribed in the context of the locality and contemporaneousness. Understanding the background and context provides us with the necessary knowledge and perceptiveness. Such a view deepens and expands our understanding of the culture without restricting it only because in our system of values we are often used to considering it as valuable and alive. Such a view allows us to see in our interlocutor a person who takes part in the actions, an active exchange partner, the one who creates and makes a common cause somewhat new: his imagination, a moment of his inner world, emotions acquiring the dimension and form of artistic work.
Still, animation is not an art, and often the animator is not an artist or entertainer. The borderline may not quite be distinct, sometimes not even necessary, but it is there. The artist works on his own behalf and is responsible for every job, signs it with his name. It happens that the people he works with become for him a kind of a medium, a tool. A painter/artist seeks a collision, contradiction, abolition of taboos, and becomes a provocateur and the instigator. An animator does not create a work outside a social community, but in conjunction with it (community arts). He works with people — establishes relationships, creates a situation in which these people temporarily become artists with their innate freedom of speech, expression, and action. This seemingly small movement is very significant. Art is for animation an inexhaustible source of inspiration, a tool and a basis.
It is necessary that everything that will be the result of our master classes, that we decide to show to the public, should receive an appropriate form, that the documentation should have the necessary quality to find a place and time for reflection during the action. Art is not, however, the purpose. The encounter, the moment when someone picks up a brush or scissors — this is important, not what the outcome will be. In the process of cultural animation, the thing which is not complete, ugly, not solid, slight, may be the most important. According to
A. Mencwela, & quot-Opening creative possibilities in oneself teaches how to open opportunities in others, and this is the most important. For us it does not matter whether someone will become a painter — (…) it is important to discover painters in others. So that the [animator] was sensitive to other people'-s sensitivity, responded with his emotion to the feelings of others, understood their mind, was able to enliven and lead- in other words, to be an animator of culture & quot-[3]. To encourage participation one needs to be a participant himself. In fact, in the animated action the animator always remains a participant. The start of communication, conditions of teamwork and creativity already mean the abolition of apodictic hierarchy annihilating the position of omniscience and division into teachers and students. The animator and the group he works with are participants in the same situation- they create a common thing, where everyone has a vote and an opportunity to add something of himself, his idea, a part of himself. Animation actions can simultaneously create a case and give an impetus for wider participation in public life and reconnection to the culture, to the public space.
Cultural animation is also a game. Characterizing the paradigm of game animation, D. Kubinowski refers it to the ideology of neo-liberalism, which was the basis for the idea of unrestrained freedom of manifestation of one’s cultural needs and forms of realization of cultural activity. They are the dominant categories in this philosophy. Accordingly, the cultural activity must meet the individual needs, even if they are merely hedonistic, purely recreational and entertaining. The cultural life animators can not ignore these aspects. The offer must match the social demand, even if the quality of the expected forms of participation in culture will not coincide with the ambitious plans of the animator.
In the paradigm of game animation, we do not assess the manifestations of cultural life and activities and do not set gradation- we approve all humanitarian constructive forms of the cultural activity, appreciating their popular and therapeutic virtues. We consider as secondary the aesthetic and educational criteria, respecting each subjective choice. Here it is just about having fun. Game and fun, as an essential cultural category, is not necessarily nihilistic, useless, or destructive. Satisfying the needs of the modern public, using them in the cultural activation of people and whole environments, has become the priority purpose of many cultural centers in our country. Methodologically, this paradigm primarily uses the rich heritage of the game teachers, many of the methods and forms for enhancing people during the popular intentionally animated actions. Fun and casual play may in a special way perform animation functions, referring to an enjoyable experience of childhood, as well as individual or collective experience of pleasure already in adult life [4].
According to D. Jankowski, & quot-Participation at the highest level in cultural life is unattainable without a general cultural education, without special procedures that distribute, promote, and facilitate the more difficult, more complex forms of culture, that is without professionals and institutions who will offer a difficult content in an accessible form, promoting a model of multilateral and rich cultural activity& quot- [5]. Seeking effective ways to improve cultural education, animation tries to create a chance and opportunity for personal development of an individual, responsive to the humanitarian values, expressing creative potential both in individual and social dimension. [6].
By focusing on the culture that lives and develops in each man — the culture of existence and formation, confirmation of his being — the cultural animation reaches the inner world of the man, allows him to stop the race for material and momentary difficulties in everyday life. The cultural animation evokes in people the desire to experience beauty and contact with art, and teaches understanding and discovering its real character. Showing the authentic image of the art, the cultural animation tries to prevent the destruction of perceptibility of the mass culture recipients. The cultural animation develops taste and a sense of aesthetics, and thus enables resistance to temptations of the commercial colossus.
1. Hrycyk K., Zawodowe ksztafcenie animatora kultury. Model i jego weryfikacja, [в:] Dylematy animacji kulturalnej, (ред.) J. Gajda, W. Zardecki, Люблин, 2001, с. 151.
2. Zebrowski J., Zawod i osobowosc animatorow kultury, Гданьск 1987, с. 29−30.
3. Mencwel A., Przyczyniac siq pomafu, [в:] Animacja kultury. Doswiadczenie i przyszfosc, (ред.) G. Godlewski, I. Kurz, A. Mencwel, M. Wojtowski, Варшава 2002, с. 22.
4. Kubinowski D., Wspofczesne paradygmaty animacji kultury, [в:] Animacja kultury. Wspofczesne dyskursy teorii i praktyki, (ред.) D. Kubinowski, U. Lewartowicz, Люблин 2013, с. 14−15.
5. Jankowski K., Wartosci a strategie dziafalnosci kulturalnej, [в:] Socjalizacja a wychowanie, (ред.) T. Fr^ckowiak, T. Modrzewski, Познань 1995, с. 64.
6. Gatas M., Wartosci kultury w epoce wspofczesnej, Торунь, 2000, с. 8.

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