Networking Workshop Outcomes

In previous blog posts, I spoke of the problematic nature of short term volunteering and the necessity of capacity building through establishing sustainable outcomes. Furthermore I discussed the difficulties in establishing arts based networks in Siem Reap and the proposal put forward for facilitating a networking workshop.

The 2 hour workshop was conducted on July 5th at the Wat Bo Pagoda, Siem Reap with a total of 34 participants from local arts organisations consisting of Sounds of Angkor Troupe, Wat Bo Puppet Troupe, New Cambodian Artists and T’laiTno. It is to be noted that only a handful of students could speak (limited) English.

Focusing on creating meaning through the use of the body for effective communication, I used a range of problem solving activities that aimed to break down barriers between artistic groups in order to discover a shared dialogue free from the constraints of prior judgment and competition.

After the workshop I conducted seven interviews with some of the participating artists to determine the outcomes. It was revealed that these exercises, “transforms the reality of difference into the appearance of similarity with such efficacy that people can still invest ‘community’ with ideological integrity. It unites them in their opposition, both to each other and to the outside (Cohen 1985: 31 as cited in Kershaw 1992 p.30).”

Workshop Interview Excerpts

(Translations provided by Cambodian Living Arts Associate Country Manger, Song Seng)

Pon – Sounds of Angkor Troupe leader

 “I learned new strange ways that we don’t need to communicate with (verbal) language but just gesture.”

Roeun Sarun – New Cambodian Artists

“So then we participated in sharing experiences, we have different experiences but we brought to share with each other.” Another thing is to learn how to make unity to solve the obstacles….it looks difficult but when we all tried to work it out it is easy when we are all as one.”

Participants taking part in problem solving activities
Participants taking part in problem solving activities

Chock Kim Own – Sounds of Angkor

“It enabled us to create new ideas and also to create new work. I mean if there is anyone doing different from that mirror that means we have different ideas so we need to listen to each other.

 Men Mao – Sounds of Angkor

 “Like we make the car, being the artists it is like the car moving forward not backwards if we love the arts, that’s my idea. Another thing is that we are from different groups, we have never met each other. It is like a Khmer saying, ‘At home we all have different mothers but when we are in the forest we all have the same mother.’ We looked like we were one and we were together like siblings.”

Participants taking part in team building exercises
Participants taking part in team building exercises

In a society where 70% of people are considered as youth, this workshop reiterated how, “the socially marginal impulse of middle-class youth may become ideologically central to a whole society (Kershaw 1992 p.38).”

 References

Barkham P 2006, Are these the new colonists?, The Guardian, [Online] Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2006/aug/18/internationalaidanddevelopment.education. [Accessed 08 July 2015]

Kershaw B 1992, The politics of performance: radical theatre as cultural intervention, London: Routledge

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