Tools and Activities for Dreamlike Neighbourhoods

Art and culture in dialogue

Values and inspiration” are important areas of life, particularly as we get older. Values and inspiration can be found in nature, music, religion, but certainly also in art and culture. In the Dreamlike Neighbourhood group Bouwlust in The Hague, art and culture were inspirations for lively exchanges. Here are some concrete examples:

  • Paul travelled a lot – professionally and private. He has always been interested in local customs and collected art objects from countries all over the world. During one of the Dreamlike Neighbourhood meetings, he brought along art objects from Africa. He showed them to the participants and asked which one they preferred and why. This encouraged inspiring conversations about a wide range of topics associated with the items and brought a new spirit and openness to the group. Paul appreciated that participants showed interest in his stories and other group members benefited from learning about other perspectives and exchanging experiences.
  • There was also a lot of creative talent in the group. Liesbeth, for example, writes poems, especially poems for children. When she recited some of her poems very passionately, participants listened breathlessly and with admiration. This experience inspired the participants to share their feelings and thoughts about what poems can do for people. It was fascinating to see how many other topics participants came up with due to this little activity. 

  • Ria writes and illustrates children’s books. She regularly took a book along to show it to the group. Ria also brought trial versions of illustrations to collect feedback from the group on whether it fits the text or not. The exchange and discussions in the group gave Ria confidence and the group members felt that their contributions were worthwhile.

  • Paul is a passionate hobby painter. On one occasion, Paul brought a large painting of a bullfighter. He was unsure about it, but in the group, he felt comfortable sharing it and getting feedback.

  • Bea and Ine originally come from Surinam and moved to the Netherlands after Surinam’s independence. In Surinam, Bea used to work in a prison and loves to talk about her work there. For example, together with the prisoners, she made beautiful cloth rugs, which gave them a sense of pride and self-respect. Bea was also proud of it and shared this feeling with the group. Bea and Ine showed the group how to make Roti, a traditional Surinamese dish. The joint cooking and eating as well as the conversation about different cultures connected people in a special way.

In creative activities, such as storytelling based on drawings or reciting own poems, people connected at various, sometimes very personal, levels.
Photo © Loes Hulsebosch

Exchange on different cultures and traditional meals during joint cooking sessions in the neighbourhood group in The Hague.
Photo © Loes Hulsebosch