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Title: Youth weaving networks beyond community borders : lessons learned from Caja Lúdica, a community arts process and networking initiative in Guatemala
Author: Jakel, Miriam Sari
ISNI:       0000 0004 5919 5973
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis examines a youth community arts network and Caja Lúdica, one of its founder organisations, in post-conflict Guatemala, and argues that they not only temporarily create spaces of encounter and community but through their networking and exchange strategies have established a rhizomatic assemblage of practice characterised by its perseverance and its dispersed agency in different parts of the country. As such, the thesis asks the following main three questions: What are the practices of Caja Lúdica and the Community Arts Network in Guatemala; what are youth protagonists’ experiences; and what contribution can their practices make to debates on community arts in challenging environments but also in other parts of the world? By using Deleuze and Guattari’s rhizome theory it highlights notions of networking, local protagonism and collectivity asks for more sustainable practice with youth and by introducing these terms into performance and community arts scholarship, where they are scarcely explored, it makes a critical contribution to these fields. A methodological approach based on rhizomatic notions has fostered the connection of a wide range of methods such as semi-structured interviews, participant observation, ‘following’ as a research method as well as photography, the latter two of which have been developed for researching this particular networking practice in Guatemala. By using a selected set of case studies, this investigation aims to grasp the diversity and dynamics of this practice, in particular its movement and expansion across community borders through its youth protagonists. These case studies include the exploration of a local youth group and their exchange activities as well as the observation of the Network’s collective rituals and public interventions. By doing so this thesis aims to emphasise the potential of youth as creative protagonists in challenging contexts and stresses the importance to further examine their potential and ability to resist marginalisation and contribute to the reconstruction of the social fabric in war-affected communities and beyond. It further proposes that a networking and more holistic approach to practice can foster more sustainable community arts processes, not just in terms of decreasing external funding dependency and determination, but also to establish a practice culture in and between initiatives based on collectivity, exchange and support, which becomes more important in times of austerity.
Supervisor: Thompson, James ; Hughes, Jennifer Sponsor: University of Manchester
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: youth ; Community Arts ; Guatemala ; network ; rhizome