This is an application for the community connector job and also a way of expressing my happines to be a part of this group.
My name is Ana. I graduated Art History and during the last year of my masters program I studied one semester in Madrid. There, I visited numerous alternative cultural spaces which succeeded in offering educational programs regarding urban development and also strengthening the community spirit and social integration. I returned in Bucharest determined to find such a space which would allow me to creatively interfere in the city’s ever changing common spaces. So I joined an NGO that beside organizing cultural events, wishes to create an affective bond between the people and the city they live in, so as to determine them to act when, for example, a heritage building is in danger.
Presently I’m part of a team that is implementing an urban education project for high school students. We have noticed that there is a need for students to get involved in their communities, and that is why we are focusing on offering them the know how and the tools necessary for them to act on solving the issues that concern them. The courses are divided in four modules: Community, Heritage, Architecture and Cultural Institutions.
Among other tasks within the Community module I teach the children how art in public space plays a significant role in building a sustainable and vibrant community both culturally and socially. I also work part time as an assistant educator for a Montessori kindergarten which made me understand the importance of alternative teaching methods.
The main challenge I have encountered in trying to implement this project was the lack of support from the state public institutions. NGOs are involved in a on going process of changing mentalities and I believe that this can be achieved through communication and debates.
Now, more than ever, in Bucharest it is necessary that people with interesting projects to be themselves part of a community. There are allot of people with great initiatives who work passionately on their ideas, but being dispersed it’s hard for their projects to grow and gain relevance. A community connector would link them together and help the people interested in creating awareness, social change, community building, urban education, culture etc. to gain trust and support one another. I believe that the hardest thing when you want to initiate a program which would solve an issue present in your community is the feeling that you are alone.
If we were to unite the creative forces of these individuals, wonderful things might happen. I think that people with common interests react positively to initiatives meant to bring them together. In order to do so, I would set up meetings with representatives from different NGOs (for example Komunitas, A.R.C.E.N, Platforma pentru Bucuresti) for sharing their visions about creating friendly common spaces so that people would feel they are truly part of the town.
Hope to meet you all in person!