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Negotiating cultural identity through the arts: Fitting in, third space and cultural memory

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Abstract:

The article examines ways in which arts-based educational approaches were applied to a group of African descendant youth in Western Australia, as a way of understanding challenges to their bicultural socialization and means to developing their bicultural competence. Drawing on African cultural memory as a cultural resource enabled participants to discover the relevance of African cultural memory and embodied knowledge to their bicultural socialization and bicultural competence. The article challenges the argument that successful integration into dominant culture is only possible when migrants remain focused on acquisition of dominant cultural values – ‘Fitting in’. The African Cultural Memory Youth Arts Festival (ACMYAF) offered an alternative conception of successive integration as a process inclusive of creative appropriation and revaluation of ancestral culture through cultural memory. The festival became a third space through which the participants explored embodied knowledge and African cultural memory towards a positive self-concept and bicultural competence.

Keywords: African Youth; arts; cultural identity; cultural memory; migration; third space

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/jaac.3.1.89_1

Affiliations: Murdoch University

Publication date: May 4, 2012

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Arts and Communities seeks to provide a critical examination of the practices known as community or participatory arts, encompassing a field of work defined for this purpose as incorporating active creative ollaboration between artists and people in a range of communities.The journal will take a cross-artform and interdisciplinary approach,including work happening in performance, visual arts and media,writing, multimedia and collaboration involving digital technology and associated forms. In part this will create an archive that will document work which can otherwise be ephemeral
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