Village books, calendars
A community calendar is a printed publication serving the exploration and preservation of local memories of the recent past in a diary form, helping the development of the communal collaboration of locals, written and edited by the locals. The calendar makes readers aware that the events that happen to them and around them acquire special and unique value when they recorded them in writing. This activity is fundamentally different from the regular process of asking an external specialist or expert to write a local publication for the community. The essence of the work is the process itself, whereby the stakeholders of the community set down to the task themselves.
Purpose of the activity
- To start community trends in the municipality,
- to establish a community movement on the pretext of a local publication,
- to promote belonging in the community and to strengthen local identity,
- to promote recognition of the importance of the community and of community tasks,
- to develop community collaboration.
village book, calendar, self-expression and self-organization, collaboration
- personal: community cultural organizer, experts of community cultural and public collection institutions, community developer, local opinion leaders – volunteers
- material: meeting rooms, computer capacity, projector, flipchart and pens, post-it blocs, note paper and pens, printer, A4 sheets
- financial: room rental fee (if needed), funds for publications (if published in print)
Varga A., Tamás and Vercseg, Ilona (1991): Település, közösség, fejlesztés. Tapasztalataink a helyi társadalmi-kulturális fejlesztésről. [Settlement, community, development. Our experience in local socio-cultural development]
National Centre for Community Culture, Budapest. Chapter II, entitled
A helyi orgánum, mint a helyi fejlesztés eszköze [Local publications as tools of local development], gives a comprehensive description of the process and methodology of creating village books/calendars. http://www.kka.hu/__062568aa00708a67.nsf/0/83416ab82c0b7c4785256640006a0942?OpenDocument&Highlight=0,Telep%C3%BCl%C3%A9s,k%C3%B6z%C3%B6ss%C3%A9g,fejleszt%C3%A9s
Applied tools and methods
The publication is preceded by community interviews with the local opinion leaders; for community discussions, please see methodology separately.
Stages of organization (for details please see the book Település, közösség, fejlesztés) – the task of the initiating group:
- Invitation – signed by the opinion leaders, complemented by an application form.
- Preparation for organization (forwarding the invitation to the families and returning them to the organizers).
- Dividing the village into districts (neighbourhoods) – assigning organizers to each district to contact the families.
- Contacting – introduction, explanation of the purpose of this work and ways of joining in.
- Collection of answers – organizers help those who cannot fill in the form on their own.
- Collecting and systematising data in the list of names and addresses (please refer to the methodology of the Knowledge Pool)
- What would you like to read about in the book? Collecting topics and names
- Offers made by local institutions
- The group of informants is shaped, the topics of the future publication are outlined, the process of collecting materials and editing may start.
The editing process
- Collecting materials: The editors select the topics that they know most about and are most interested in. They find people with some knowledge of the topic and ask them how they can deal with or process the topic. Some may possess old documents, letters and photos, others may have already written their memoirs or biographies for themselves and their children. Others might love to tell what they know but could not write it down, so their stories need to be voice recorded. Some may recommend to contact people who have already moved away, others have looked into archives, others may show carvings or embroideries, etc.
- Systematizing: to involve further volunteers beyond the group of initiators – arranging contacts – typist, editor, proofreader, etc.
Everyone should read everything – to avoid misunderstanding, bad feelings, conflicts.
- Establishing the final order – usually the task of the community developer
- Distribution – book launch ceremony
- The upswing this creates will give a boost to the community developer’s work.
Results, expected outcome
Production of this local yearbook by the population may bring about complex developments:
- On a basic level, it provides for meaningful social life, in a manner suited for adults, as it builds on the knowledge and expertise of the participants and the role they fill locally (which is not static and may change within this group);
- It results in the creation of new human relations and significances – significant roles, where individual knowledge and expertise represents added value;
- It contributes to quality collaboration, where one must tolerate others, together with different ideas, and must appreciate others’ achievements, and any conflict must be dealt with to make sure that the joint activity is not harmed;
- It strengthens local consciousness and local identity, formulating its content as well;
- By making the locals, individual and community life part of a historic process, an organic development, it reteaches values of the past and thus creates reference points for present and future values – shaping a more complex and more responsible attitude;
- The old may pass down their experiences and the young may learn from them;
- It dissolves the dividing lines between generations that are too rigid in our society, and teaches them to collaborate;
- It presents everyday activities as something of value, individual achievements as significant, and thus becomes a renewing source of confidence;
- It creates an active attitude as it offers an opportunity for meaningful and joyful activities;
- It can create an inspiring local atmosphere: individual ideas which may have seemed meaningless earlier become worthy of implementation, and new ideas are born in their wake;
- It makes sure that information pertaining to the community will be used by the community, and made public, which can thus organize local publicity or at least be an important part of it, as it may spearhead any attempt for the public good.
- Varga, A. T. – Vercseg, I.: Település, közösség, fejlesztés. Tapasztalataink a helyi társadalmi-kulturális fejlesztésről. [Settlement, community, development. Our experience in local socio-cultural development]. 1991, Budapest, National Centre for Community Culture. http://www.kka.hu/062568aa00708a67.nsf/0/83416ab82c0b7c4785256640006a0942?OpenDocument&Highlight=0,Telep%C3%BCl%C3%A9s,k%C3%B6z%C3%B6ss%C3%A9g,fejleszt%C3%A9
- Beke, M. – Ditzendy, K. A. (eds.): Integrált közösségi és szolgáltató terek. [Integrated community and service spaces] Methodological manual. 2008, Budapest, HROD
This article based on the following document: Community development methodological guide