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To help with our knowledge building and sharing objective, we conducted 5 case studies of selected practitioners and their projects. They offer a more detailed profile of each practitioner and they attempt to provide a better understanding of the type of work being conducted. As part of our objective to share knowledge amongst the network, we chose topics of focus that we hope will be useful to as many as possible. Drawing on the data obtained in the survey round of the project, we were able to identify certain trends and common features across our community-based arts and culture workers landscape.


The topics we focused on were:

(1) community-based arts work as a form of social activism

(2) the utilisation of community networks

(3) art education in community-based work

(4) the importance of community participation

(5) the empowering of young people through community-based work


The accuracy of all information in the Case Studies is the responsibility of the survey respondents and is valid up to the date of interviews in April 2014


Community-Based Arts and Culture Work as a Form of Social Activism against Community Displacement

Rakan Mantin was founded to raise awareness about the threatened historical urban village of Kampung Hakka Mantin in the state of Negeri Sembilan, using creative methods of engaging and disseminating knowledge, and conducting activities for cultural appreciation. An informal group, organised and connected mainly through Facebook, this case study looks at how art and culture is used to champion a specific cause: how Rakan Mantin documents the community’s history and culture, and runs programmes with the villagers to communicate their plight, share their heritage, raise solidarity and village pride, and spread awareness outside of the village to help their cause of preservation. It also includes details of the setting up of Rakan Mantin by its founder, artist and activist Victor Chin, and its basic working structure.


Click here for the full case study (pdf)

Click here to see Rakan Mantin’s Profile


Using the Arts to Help Children Engage with their Environments

MyBALIKpulau is a project run by Arts-ED, that took place over 5 years, between 2005 and 2010. The project aimed to raise awareness of and appreciation for the cultural assets of the children of Balik Pulau, an agrarian district on the southwest coast of Penang island, and to increase the local children’s understanding of their environment.  Photography was used as a documentation tool to record information on cultural elements, objects and people; and as a creative way to engage with the children and ignite their imaginations. This case study describes the ‘engaged art’ process and how creative tools are used to organise programmes where children are active participants and fully engaged in the creation of meaning. It highlights a process oriented approach to project work, while still recognising the final form that the outputs take.


Click here for the full case study (pdf)

Click here to see Arts-ED’s Profile


Organising Community Art Carnivals with Community Networks

Soon Choon Mee is a theatre practitioner, educator, activist and community arts organiser who has been the lead producer/coordinator for small ‘art carnivals’ in townships in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor since 2008. She has no larger dedicated team, but works through a network of key community-based groups or institutions, such as parent-teacher associations, without whom the organising of the carnivals would not be possible. The communities in which the carnivals take place are mostly Chinese-speaking residential ‘new village’ or suburban communities, and the art carnivals are held to engage children through the arts with the aim of developing a community with better values, while strengthening local identity and pride. This case study focuses on two of the carnivals she has organised, the Batu 11 Cheras Community Arts Carnival in 2011, and the Serdang Community Arts Carnival in 2012. It describes an overview of the carnivals and their engagement with their respective communities, and highlights the role of networks to make such community events a success.


Click here for the full case study (pdf)

Click here to see Soon Choon Mee’s Profile


Building community engagement through an international arts festival

The Sasaran International Arts Festival is a triennial event featuring international artists that takes place in the small fishing town of Sasaran, Selangor. Organised by the Sasaran Arts Association (SAA), the festival is run entirely by members of the community and stands out as a locally conceived and administered, independent festival without outside professional or state-sponsored partnership, or corporate backing. This case study looks at how the festival came about, spearheaded by artist and founder, Ng Bee, and a team of dedicated key members of the community. It describes how it has taken shape since its inception in 2008, up to its 3rd installment that will be taking place in late 2014; the ways that the community contributes and actively participates in all aspects of the festival, and the founding members’ emphasis on community involvement.


Click here for the full case study (pdf)

Click here to see Sasaran Arts Association’s Profile


Engaging Inner-city Youth in a 3-year Project of Self-Empowerment

The project “Chow Kit Kita” (“Our Chow Kit”) was started in 2010 by Fahmi Reza and Liew Pik-Svonn, who are the partners behind the project and co-founders of an organization called Kota Kita (“Our City”). Chow Kit Kita is a community mapping project conducted with and for the children of the urban communities of Chow Kit and neighbouring Kampung Baru in Kuala Lumpur, focused on instilling pride in their neighbourhood and to change public perception of an area of the city notorious for prostitution, gang activity and drugs. This case study provides an overview of the project, how they worked with the children, and the project development over its three years, touching on some of the challenges the administrators faced over time and the question of what next. 


Click here for the full case study (pdf)

Click here to see Chow Kit Kita's Profile.

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