Re-Imagining Citizenship: Our Contribution

In the first seminar of our new creative dissent module, we were given this amazing little booklet. Now I’ve mentioned this in a previous post so if you’ve already read it please skip to my response but for those who haven’t, I’ll give you the intro given to me when I was handed it by my tutor:

Photo taken by Anna-Rose Wain of pamphlet

Re-imagining Citizenship is a collaborative project initiated by the Politicized Practice/Anarchism/Theatre Activism Research Groups based at Loughborough University.

The Re-imagining Citizenship Activity Book/Re-imagining Citizenship Living Archive forms part of an ongoing dialogue around themes related to art and political activisms. Since 2014, artists, researchers and associates of the three Research Groups have organised exhibitions, installations, performances and participatory events to explore the potential for art practices to re-imagine citizenship. These culminated in a series of activities during in March 2019, including the production of the Re-imagining Citizenship Activity Book which has thirty different contributions, inviting readers to respond creatively to sets of instructions (using text, images, video or audio) and to upload them to the Living Archiveon the Home Page of this website.

From 11 May to 24 November 2019, the Re-imagining Citizenship project will be exhibited at Palazzo Mora at the European Cultural Centre as part of the Venice Biennale. Contributors to the Re-imagining Citizenship Activity Book will run a series of related workshops throughout the exhibition period. Come and join us there!

Re-imagine, participate, respond! Help us develop and share new, creative approaches to citizenship! 

This extract was taken from http://re-imagining.org/about/ where you can find even more information about the piece.

The next task given to us was to create our own activity to invite readers to explore the notion of citizenship for themselves.

Here is our outcome:

CITIZENSHIP CEREMONY

Example of a Citizenship Ceremony

Have you ever had or even heard of a citizenship ceremony? Well for most people who aren’t native to a country this is a necessity when becoming a citizen of that country all over the world. This is the final step in becoming a fully-fledged citizen and is a very celebratory event as citizenship is a very hard thing to attain for a lot of people. The ceremony typically includes an oath of allegiance (or an affirmation if you prefer not to swear by God) and a pledge. This means you promise to respect the right and freedoms and laws of that country. You can invite up to two people and have to pay a fee of around £80(although prices differ hugely across the world). At the end of the ceremony you’ll be presented with your certificate of citizenship and a welcome pack. Most places sell photographs and videos of the event.

Think what it means to you to be a citizen. Where are you a citizen of? The World? A particular community? Nowhere?

What makes you feel like you belong in a place or amongst a group of people? How would you feel being a new citizen of an unknown place and what would you appreciate others doing to help you feel like you belonged?

The point in this exercise is to help you explore what citizenship means for you and how you view your place in the world. It is also a way of allowing you to experience and celebrate becoming part of a community.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Get a group of people together who make you feel like you belong, it can be anyone from your pet cacti to your best friend or even your mum.  These are the people that make you feel most at home. Feel free to even include people who are less familiar to you – after all we’re exploring inclusivity and helping people to feel welcome.
  2. Now select a time and a location for your gathering. Try to pick somewhere open/accessible and somewhere you feel comfortable.
  3. You will all have to prepare a small speech/oath declaring what you believe it means to be a citizen and where that is? Are you just a citizen of the country/area you’re in or are you part of a wider cultural community? Do you consider yourself a citizen of the world? What makes a good citizen and what should you be celebrating?
  4. CELEBRATE! In any way you see fit whether it be stuffing yourself with cake or dancing until your feet hurt. Go wild.
  5. (optional) Maybe include a welcome pack: what would you include in a welcome pack to help people feel that they belong having gained full citizenship?
  6. Video or take photographs to mark the event. Post these online at www.re-imagining.org

-Jolly Citizens: Anna-Rose and Imogen

I hope you enjoyed engaging with my creative shenanigans of dissent! If you so happened to find this topic interesting or have any questions/suggestions, I love a good chin-wag so please do get in touch. Thank you for reading!

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