Belonging to the city: alliances between community art and diaconia as a means to overcome segregation in a gentrifying neighbourhood in Amsterdam

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Between 2019 and 2021, volunteers of a local Protestant congregation in Amsterdam, professional artists, and (other) local residents organised the interactive exhibit A(t) home in the Staats. In this project, community art and diaconia joined forces using multidisciplinary methods to strengthen relations in the neighbourhood and to discern issues of belonging and lines of division in the changing neighbourhood. The project was situated at the intersection of an “up and coming” neighbourhood and a shrinking congregation. By analysing the exhibit, this article contributes to the development of creative, arts-based research methods in diaconal studies. Within this approach, art is never a mere illustration or a vehicle for reflection but rather a generator of knowledge. The central question is: how can alliances between community art and diaconia contribute to overcoming segregation in urban contexts? This question is informed by the process of gentrification and the search by city churches for ways to engage with urban changes. After the introduction and methodological reflections, the article describes the background and practice of the project, followed by the outcomes of the interactive exhibit. It concludes by answering the central question and mapping theoretical and practical challenges concerning alliances between art and diaconia in urban contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Article number811
Number of pages28
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2023
Event(T)huis in de Staats: Kerk in de buurt - Nassaukerk, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 9 Oct 202126 Nov 2021


  • Diaconia
  • Urban Theology
  • Community Art
  • Gentrification
  • Urban Mission
  • Diaconaat
  • Cities

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