Dancing with the Past: Connecting Communities Across Time

‘Dancing with the Past’ is a local engagement tool to create spaces for interaction with historical and contemporary local knowledge expressed through performance and movement. Engagement with a local community, its people, and its history creates a sense of connection to place that allows and encourages long-term thinking.

When people lack a sense of connection, particularly a connection to present place, it becomes more difficult to consider and make decisions with the long term in mind. The sharing of local knowledge can foster this sense of connection but can be inaccessible to those not already embedded in communities, making it challenging to ‘place’ oneself in the long-term future.

‘Dancing with the Past’ fosters community engagement through dance, using archived footage projected via multi-dimensional techniques to allow new types of intergenerational interaction within public spaces.

Values Statement

Our team began by brainstorming to create a set of values that articulated our vision for a world wherein people and communities think and act for the long term.

Research Findings

Through a series of semi-structured interviews, we noted a relationship between long-term thinking, sustainability, and community. People told us that thinking about the long term - or about the future at all - was overwhelming because they felt powerless to do anything as individuals that would last for a long time.

Thematic Analysis

We used thematic analysis to begin to zone in on areas from our research that had potential for design interventions. One of the themes that emerged was the relationship between long-term thinking in communities and the ability for those communities to hold and transfer knowledge and tradition over generations.

Mapping Resiliency-Building

We came to understand that the ability to access long-term thinking is contingent on a sense of resiliency and that one way to foster such resiliency is through connection to a local community - not a city or town, but a neighbourhood or block.

Dancing with the Past: Design Concept

Inspired by the experience of one of our group members in traditional dance, we developed a concept for a hyper-local community engagement using archival footage and a low-fidelity projection method, allowing for real-time engagement with a place and its history.