Ethical Redevelopment Principle #3 - Pedagogical Moments

Knowledge transfer and skill sharing happen in casual and formal manners.

In working with others towards a shared mission in your neighborhood, consider how to structure relationships so that the skills of one resident are utilized and others can learn from working with them. How do you create a community workshop? Who will benefit? Who will lend their skills? What types of skills will be shared? 

Learning is not a product of school but the lifelong attempt to acquire it.
— Albert Einstein

Ethical Redevelopment looks for pedagogical moments that occur when setting up a food stand, offering art instruction in unusual places, sorting through a collection of books so that a community can access it, and making an art center more functional. When budgets tighten, arts and cultural activities have long been cut out of public institutions, programs, and infrastructure. In disinvested communities, children and adults often lack opportunities for creative exploration. Local museums and centers close, performance spaces and bookstores go out of business, and public gathering spaces fall into disrepair. The contributions of artists and cultural makers are set aside as a neighborhood’s economic stability is threatened. As such, the artistic path is devalued and left unexplored.

I think for so long, especially for African Americans, those that work in the arts or work as artists probably didn’t get a lot of encouragement 20 years ago from family about pursuing that path. So the more we can educate people that you can make a living, you can make a worthwhile contribution, that this is a road for you to travel. Yeah, it helps.
— Michelle Boone, Commissioner, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events


With a philosophy very much aligned with work being done by Theaster Gates on Chicago’s South Side, The Laundromat Project in New York City sees art as a hands-on, local agent of change in neighborhoods. Using everyday spaces like laundromats, artists set up community-based projects that directly engage with the residents in the neighborhoods of Bedford Stuyvesant, Harlem, and Hunts Point. From their website: “the skills and strategies for igniting creativity are made broadly available to everyday people and purposefully applied as tools for visioning a new and better world.” They measure success by the increase of residents’ involvement in the civic and cultural life of the neighborhood owing to a sense of belonging and investment. Recent projects include exploratory stop-animation workshops with project screenings during the Harlem Barbeque Summit, and a ice cream cart in the Latino Bronx community equipped with a pollution monitor that offers free ice cream in exchange for residents’ stories about the impact of climate change locally or their home country. These moments of exchange, sharing, and creation are vital actions in expanding the imagination of the possible and utilizing existing talent to skillshare for mutual benefit.



Reflect on this past week: what’s an everyday Pedagogical Moment you’ve been a part of? Describe an opportunity you’ve had to share your knowledge base with a friend, family member, or neighbor. Tell us about it in the comments below.