There is an urgent need in Europe to overcome social forces and tendencies that lead to conflict, division and social alienation. Across the generations, in communities most affected by the economic downturn and the isolation forced upon them by the Covid-19 pandemic, people with creative talent are feeling marooned and isolated.

The European Community and Participatory Arts movement is characterised by a critical social engagement where practising artists from many fields (performance, music, dance, drama, writing, the visual arts, digital media etc.) empower the public to make and participate in the arts. This practice, led by ‘artists as educators’ in non-formal and informal settings, fosters community integration and social cohesion by breaking down boundaries – between countries, social groups, young and older; between faiths and cultures; between artists and audiences. Social Action Projects are multi-stage educational processes and structured learning outcomes, developed through voluntary and community service in neighbourhood settings, based in the idea that people are willing to participate to help others in need in their communities; and that there is value and benefit from learning about social issues in local and global communities).

Motivate to Create (M2C or #motivate2createEU) combines the traditions and values of these Europe’s Community and Participatory Arts (CPA) practice with Social Action Projects (SAPs) generate a suite of integrated learning activities, tools, resources and courses for adult and community education. It is a new Strategic Partnerships for Creativity that brings together 6 partners from 5 countries (UK, ES, HR, IT, SK) drawn from a range of partners active in adult education, the creative and cultural industries and community development. Its purpose is to foster creativity and nurture talent, generated through participatory artistic and creative processes, supported by innovative, case study-based learning methods that will draw out the expression and creativity of all groups and ages in society, to act as a catalyst for changes within a community through ‘place based’ neighbourhood development. In doing so, #motivate2createEU addresses three key priorities of the Erasmus+ programme: (a) Skills development and inclusion through creativity and the arts (b) Common values, civic engagement and participation and (c) Social Inclusion.

#motivate2createEU is a 24 month project that will test and validate the approach with a transnational community of practice, directly engaging 30 community learning practitioners, 150 adults of all ages, including young adults (18-25) targeted at disadvantaged communities and underrepresented groups. Participants will be enabled to come together in task teams and determine, design, plan, implement and review their SAPs. They will be supported through the #motivate2createEU methodology to explore how creativity, multiculturalism and stimulating intercultural engagement can equip and empower people to be successful innovators in their environment to unveil opportunity and tackle unprecedented societal challenges.

The COVID-19 crisis has led to many people in the cultural and creative sectors losing their employment due to the consequences of lockdown and restrictions. Both the sector and those it supports through artistic and cultural expression have a critical role to play in the post-pandemic recovery in society. By the end of the project, the #motivate2createEU project will generate three new multilingual Intellectual Outputs that are highly transferable, namely:

  • IO1 Methodological Concept –an innovative and transferable method and practice for creative, andragogical approaches in non-formal adult education settings;
  • IO2 The M2C Online Learning Curriculum –an interactive, e-learning environment for (I) Creative and Cultural Educators, (ii) Community Developers and (iii) Community Leaders as a ‘Train the Trainer’ programme;
  • IO3 The M2C Community Leader ‘Pocket Guide’ – provides accessible, digital resources from an online platform for enhancing social capital, social cohesion, integration and democratic participation.

These IOs will equip Europe’s community education workers and community artists with innovative methodologies, resources and techniques to develop their knowledge and capability to structure and support communities through intergenerational social action project-based learning. Ultimately, #motivate2createEU will impact more widely in the dissemination and sustainability of its results as a response to the calls of Eurydice, ET2020 and the OECD for active, interactive, critical, collaborative and participative learning for adults and to address citizenship education, offering a unique solution to foster social inclusion, active citizenship, cultural awareness and learning while creating a new practitioner network across Europe.

The #motivate2createEU project is co-financed by the ERASMUS+ programme of the European Union, and will be implemented from June 2021 to May 2023. The project content reflects the views of the authors, and the European Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. (Project code: 2020-1-UK01-KA227-ADU-094604).