Community Animation & Social Innovation Centre
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Community Animation and Social Innovation Centre (CASIC)
Director: Professor Mihaela Kelemen
Community Animation and Social Innovation Centre (CASIC) is rooted in Keele University’s tradition of multi and trans-disciplinary research and its commitment to community engagement as reflected in the Strategic Plan. The Centre builds on existing relations with the award-winning New Vic Theatre, with which Keele developed a specific methodology of knowledge co-creation and of community engagement, entitled ‘Cultural Animation’.
At the heart of Cultural Animation is the shifting of the existing status quo and the creation of safe environments where traditional knowledge hierarchies and barriers are dissolved so that new and more creative dialogues are possible and different and more useful relationships are formed between academia and the community. Cultural animation is a methodology that transcends disciplinary boundaries and advances a type of knowledge which goes beyond the duality of theory and practice, illuminates hidden issues, focuses on salient ones, and leads to increased human connectivity by promoting a more inclusive and democratic culture of research.
This methodology has been used to co-create knowledge on diverse topics such as volunteering (http://www.keele.ac.uk/volunteeringstories/), personal community (http://www.keele.ac.uk/exploringpersonalcommunities/), community asset mapping, energy poverty and energy use/reduction, sustainability, ageing, violence, exclusion, communities in crisis (http://www.keele.ac.uk/bridgingthedivide/), within multiple community settings in the UK, Canada, Japan, Greece and Poland. More than ten projects have been funded by the AHRC, EPSRC and ESRC in the last 4 years.