Exploring Strategies for Citizen-driven Civic Creativity in Small Communities: The Challenge and Potential of Civic Creativity

By Lyusyena Kirakosyan.

Published by The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: May 6, 2014 $US5.00

Many small cities and towns in Virginia and beyond struggle to remain vital. Some of these small cities and towns were once thriving, neighborly, and welcoming places, but now face deep and turbulent changes as they struggle to preserve and renew hope, as well as, economic and social vitality. As their traditional ways of life have broken down, these communities have searched for sources of hopefulness that may give rise to new ways of life and significance. In this article, I explore how three small jurisdictions in Virginia (Floyd County), West Virginia (McDowell County), and Georgia (Pine Lake) have coped with change through employing civic creativity and how research concerning such experiences can be used to promote an enriching change in thinking. The article serves three primary purposes: first, it briefly highlights the paths to civic creativity each town or county undertook; second, it suggests that these communities (and many others) could adopt appreciative inquiry and arts-based development as helpful approaches as they continue to explore sources of hopefulness and vitality; third, I argue that scholars also could use these strategies more frequently in their community research projects.

Keywords: Civic Creativity, Appreciative Inquiry, Arts-based Development

The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies, Volume 12, Issue 1, May 2014, pp.1-9. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 6, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 351.284KB)).

Lyusyena Kirakosyan

Postdoctoral Research Scholar in Residence, Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA

Lyusyena Kirakosyan is a postdoctoral research scholar at the Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance. She has recently earned her Ph.D. from ASPECT doctoral program – Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical and Cultural Thought at Virginia Tech. Her doctoral dissertation, Democratic Justice for Brazilians with Impairments, examined contemporary discourses to help develop an interdisciplinary understanding of how ideas about justice, power relations, human rights and disability are perceived and enacted by different actors in Brazilian society.She is the author of three recent academic journal articles drawn from that work.