Civic Activism Awards - Corrymeela
In the second of our Civic Activism Awards grantee profiles, we have a look at Corrymeela and their 'As Long As My Bin Gets Lifted' initiative.
Corrymeela is one of the longest-standing and most respected third sector organisations in Northern Ireland.
Since 1965 they have worked with individuals and communities to promote and enable the healing of division and conflict, with a particular focus on society’s most marginalized groups – young people, refugees, people with disabilities and the LBGT community, for example.
Their project, As Long as My Bins Get Lifted, aims to address a culture of apathy felt among many average citizens and an absence of hopeful pragmatism with regard to local government reform.
It will explore concerns that minority voices will not be heard and taken into account. The project takes its name from the Spanish saying “a society stops if the bin isn’t lifted”. It also resonates with a widespread local perception of the limited relationship between citizens and their local council.
Corrymeela will also work to ensure the new council will prioritise building good community relations, maintain clear and effective communications between the council and the public, and reach out to the general public – as opposed to just organisations or activists – that will create a sense of connection to the new Causeway Coast and Glens council.
The project will be divided into three stages, and is thematically organised around the concept of an everyday item we all must use – the bin.
Bins will function as a prop and a metaphor for change, with a black bin representing things we would like to get rid of, a blue bin for things could be recycled and a brown bin for things that could grow.
For most people, the bin is the focal point for our core relationship with our local council.
Phase 1 of the project will feature a high quality skit using the different coloured bins that will be performed across 20 different sites by professional actors and local people.
This phase is based on the pop-up democracy tool and is meant to attract passers-by and generate curiosity, and Corrymeela will collect responses to the skit to ascertain citizens’ feelings about the new council.
Phase 2 will be based on the Community Visioning tool and will flow directly from the skit. People will be invited to step into a near-by 'in-door space' for a cup of tea/coffee and a bun to engage at a deeper level using a large map of the Causeway Coast & Glens to.
This will provide an opportunity to share and develop participants’ thinking on issues of place and space as well as allow for exploration of people’s thinking about their community and their role in it.
The final phase will pull together all of the input gathered into a piece of Forum Theatre through which an audience of citizens, elected representatives and council officers will be invited to explore stories of power, relationships and change in their communities and the council district as a whole.
Taken together, these tools and events allow for deepening levels of engagement and inquiry, generating curiosity, conversation and possibilities – all of which will help to build a deeper and more collaborative relationship between citizens and their council with the aim of producing more positive outcomes for communities.