Reducing crime through Art, probably doesn’t sound like the most obvious of connections but then employing more Police to do the same isn’t a guarantee of success, either. Using a variety of ideas, and methodologies to promote understanding, cohesion, and community ownership have to be pursued to break down the barriers that lead to mistrust, exclusion and crime. In an area like Normanton which has a changing, diverse population from many nationalities, a high crime rate, and the possibility of community friction, then trying out different approaches to address the risk of crime must be explored.
The Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner has funded a project this year, to be managed by Artcore, using the medium of Art to improve community spirit with the ultimate objective of reducing crime. The plan is to engage with different sections of the community, young and old, to be part of a creative consultative process looking at ways in which an art installation (sculpture) can be implemented in the local area. The theme of the artwork is the “hand” and its significance in communication and togetherness.
“Artcore will be working in partnership with residents, community groups and organisations in Normanton. Participants will be involved in the project at different stages, right from idea generation to the sculpture installation through various art inventions”
The launch of this project was hosted by the Indian Community Centre in Normanton. The event was opened by Ruchita Shaikh – Executive Director at Artcore, and was supported by the local Councillors. Hardyal Dhindsa who is one of the councillors, and the Deputy Crime Commissioner, also spoke about the project, its objectives, and outcomes.
After the formalities many of the people from the Centre tried their hand at some simple artwork to get the project underway.
By September 2015, a major structural installation should have been erected in Normanton, based on the combined ideas and efforts from across the community. Many spaces are under consideration but my vote would be the plot adjacent to the Pear Tree Library.
I imagine that this project will have many naysayers, and in these austere times other causes might seem more deserving. I think occasionally risks should be taken, and alongside recognising the value of sport in bringing people together and tackling crime, so can Art.
An Open Mind is as important as an Open Hand!