Although community participation is a component of community empowerment, it often remains a theoretical exhortation. Reporting experiences which enable people to take control of their lives, can be useful to suggest practical elements for promoting empowerment. This article describes the experience of a Sardinian village (Ulassai), that developed into a community empowerment. The Laverack’s operational domains were used to measure the community empowerment process. The process started in 1979 ‘almost by chance’ with an art performance that was the entry point for community participation. This experience has been the foundation for the community empowerment. Citizens acquired the ‘ability of thinking and planning as a community and not mere individuals’. In the following 30 years citizens gave birth to several outcomes rooted in that event. The intermediate outcomes highlight the ‘ability of action by a group to mobilize existing resources, and act collectively against opposing forces’. The long-term outcomes demonstrate the ‘ability to integrate the cultural experiences that strengthened the community’s identification into a sustainable community asset’, and the ‘ability to cope with global environmental challenges and to collaborate on an equal basis with other stakeholders. The pathways to community empowerment, showed by the community of Ulassai, overlap with the ‘operational domains’. The Ulassai experience shows that the empowerment process can start from an event apparently unrelated to health promotion. This community experience illustrates the positive role arts can play in community development. Hence, the call for health promoters to look carefully into those situations that occur naturally in communities.

A bottom-up art event gave birth to a process of community empowerment in an Italian village

SARDU, CLAUDIA;MEREU, ALESSANDRA;CONTU, PAOLO
2012

Abstract

Although community participation is a component of community empowerment, it often remains a theoretical exhortation. Reporting experiences which enable people to take control of their lives, can be useful to suggest practical elements for promoting empowerment. This article describes the experience of a Sardinian village (Ulassai), that developed into a community empowerment. The Laverack’s operational domains were used to measure the community empowerment process. The process started in 1979 ‘almost by chance’ with an art performance that was the entry point for community participation. This experience has been the foundation for the community empowerment. Citizens acquired the ‘ability of thinking and planning as a community and not mere individuals’. In the following 30 years citizens gave birth to several outcomes rooted in that event. The intermediate outcomes highlight the ‘ability of action by a group to mobilize existing resources, and act collectively against opposing forces’. The long-term outcomes demonstrate the ‘ability to integrate the cultural experiences that strengthened the community’s identification into a sustainable community asset’, and the ‘ability to cope with global environmental challenges and to collaborate on an equal basis with other stakeholders. The pathways to community empowerment, showed by the community of Ulassai, overlap with the ‘operational domains’. The Ulassai experience shows that the empowerment process can start from an event apparently unrelated to health promotion. This community experience illustrates the positive role arts can play in community development. Hence, the call for health promoters to look carefully into those situations that occur naturally in communities.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11584/97697
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