Based on the concept of regional development of “local cultural living circles,” the now defunct Council for Cultural Affairs planned in October 2007 the dual-core program, “Second Phase of Local Cultural Centers Project” and “Second Phase of New Hometown Community Building Project,” to upgrade the quality of life by expanding and deepening community development through space consolidation and joint management by local residents.
Second Phase of New Hometown Community Building Project aims to improve the cultural life within individual communities. It sponsors art and cultural activities to encourage more residents to participate in community development, so as to bring together the feelings of the community, nurture the residents’ care for hometown, and then take part in public affairs. In the process the community’s local culture will gradually be taken more seriously and then be preserved and innovated to form the characteristics of Taiwan’s local culture.
Programs under this Project
One: Localization of community administration
In addition to public participation, the administrative staff should also have the spirit of bottom-up community building in order to satisfy the community’s needs. The localization program aims at assisting local governments in training their administrative staff to handle community affairs with community needs-oriented thinking.
The Ministry of Culture also assists local governments in establishing county- and city-level community building centers to cultivate community building talents while constructing websites as a platform to share experiences and community building information.
In connection with the “community record subsidy” policy, the Ministry presented the breakdown of such work items as expanding online promotion mechanism and establishing exchange mechanism in “Rock Action – Second Phase of New Hometown Community Building Project,” encouraging communities to carry on chronicling local history through publication and e-tools to establish a database of their community-building experiences and stories about the wisdom of their residents.
The “Taiwanese Community Interaction” website, which was launched six years ago, publicizes government policies regarding community building and serves as a platform for the exchange of community experiences. Community administrations can upload stories, photos, videos and other relevant documents to the website. Visitors can also read many stories about successful community-building case on the website.
Two: Development of community culture
This program assists communities in recording various forms of community participation such as video recording, publication, map of life, cultural calendar, literary record and tales of community development process. Residents are encouraged to write about their hometowns and community roots-searching records through the exchange of life experiences and collective creation of environmental art. Community theaters, where they address issues they care about through physical performances, are also established to build better interpersonal relations.
Community theaters allow residents to act out what have happened in their communities. A key element in the success of the program is collaboration between theater professionals and cultural and historical workers. Residents learn to collect historical data, perform on stage and organize theatrical activities.
One of the three culture development programs unveiled in 2008 was publication of community stories in the form of picture books. Communities with preliminary results of community building were given subsidies to publish picture books that introduce themselves. Residents were encouraged to take part in searching for topics, recording stories and drawing pictures to create books that contain their collective memories.
Three: The community innovation experiment
The program assists communities in integrate resources and results of different productions such as crafts, performances, tourism, and cultural industries. It helps communities develop their own cultural industries and in-depth cultural tours as well as train tour guides. The program promotes collaboration between communities in different regions on various issues, including respect for cultural diversity and cross-industry alliance, to develop new community building mechanism and include more groups in community participation.
One of the program goals is to “integrate industry resources that have the characteristics of local culture” and to “combine culture and industries.” The “community cultural industries” which the program aims to develop include agricultural product processing, crafts and cultural recreation, whose uniqueness comes from the participation of community residents. The Second Phase of New Hometown Community Building Project emphasizes the spirit and value of “research and development” and aims to form an alliance of local industries and promote collective buying as part of efforts to establish the mode of sustainable development of community cultural industries.
- Strengthening community-building knowledge and skills of local governments and the public.
- Establishing the “Taiwanese Community Interaction” information platform to achieve the goal of community learning and government policy exchanges.
- Innovating community participation methods to reinforce urban community building and improve indifferent relations in urban communities.
- Deepening local cultural connotations, strengthening the depth of cultural tourism and beginning local creative cultural industries based on the traditional spirit of community participation.