THE HUMAN LIBRARY
Human Library is an international initiative developed in Copenhagen in 2000 as a project to break down stigma and prejudice. Splice facilitates the initiative here by pairing ‘human books’–a diverse group of Aucklanders with different perspectives and experiences– with ‘borrowers’ from the public. In a safe environment, borrowers check their ‘human book’ out for twenty minutes, to connect with and learn from a different perspective to their own.
Taking the time to really listen to others and hear their stories can support mutual understanding, tolerance, and the realisation that it’s not always choice that creates a situation. Some recent ‘book’ titles include “Refugee”, “Busker not Beggar”, “HIV Positive” and “Second Generation Hijabi.”
By collaborating to this shared experience, issuers and borrowers alike discovered the power of connection through conversation. “Human connection is a beautiful thing that I feel we unfortunately don’t get enough of,” said one attendee. “Intersections of lives through conversation is such a necessary thing.”
The Human Library is a way to watch Splice’s key outcome of ‘Inclusion’ in action. It’s a key way to bring together the different segments of the Splice community - from friends of Splice, to potential community members and volunteers. Each time it takes place hundreds of curious onlookers are intrigued and wish to know more. One attendee summed up the Human Library’s focus: “This is what we need to stand up to those creating division.”
Stakeholders have been impressed by The Human Library and the return on investment is in line with core Splice values.
We love supporting collaboration through creativity. That’s why we bring an international artist to Aotearoa New Zealand every year to collaborate with hundreds of arts and community enthusiasts across New Zealand to create pieces of Heartful Art; from murals to painted sculpture.
In 2017, the Jean Marc Calvert Heartful Arts tour created a community-made mural at the Auckland City Library. Robert Young of Melbourne visited in 2018, while 2019 saw phenomenal Mexican embroidery artist Victoria Villasana visit Northland, Auckland and Wellington. Villasana’s work is a global sensation. Her portrait of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s response to the 15 March 2019 terror attacks in Christchurch received hundreds of thousands of likes on Instagram, making her collaborations with the people of Aotearoa even more timely and profound.
Heartful Arts is an arts event programme designed to bring together the community and address social issues like mental and physical wellbeing. The tour brings together supporters of Splice and Methodist Mission Northern to strengthen partnerships and create a greater awareness of the values that build strong communities. Splice increased its network of arts community organisations considerably, and exposed hundreds of people to Splice’s national presence.
The Heartful Arts tour is an intersection of two of Splice’s key values: creativity and collaboration. The investment in bringing an international artist to New Zealand widens the perspectives of participants, brings a considerable return on investment and growth for Splice as a national organisation.
We’re wanting to grow Aotearoa’s communities to be even more robust, connected, just and inclusive. Would you like to help us? Want some training and support to help you do it? In partnership with the British Council NZ, Splice offers a wonderful three day Active Citizen training. You can sign up and get more info here (link). As an Active Citizen, you’ll join 200,000 others from 54 countries around the world in this is a global initiative that provides skills to address 21st century social challenges. In Aotearoa, Splice facilitates this programme in association with the British Council NZ.
Since the start of the Active Citizens programme in New Zealand in 2018, with the generous support from the Ministry of Youth Development and the Office of Ethnic Communities, Splice has guided agents for change through six Active Citizens sessions across the country, and more is planned.
The programme is structured in four parts.
Module 1 — Me, Identity and Culture — aims to help participants open their minds to new learning and perspectives by learning about identity and culture. The module encourages empathy and starts the process of strengthening participants’ sense of social responsibility.
Module 2 — Me & You - Intercultural Dialogue — centres around learning methods of dialogue as a tool for building empathy, trust and understanding within and across cultures.
Module 3 — Local and Global Community — teaches dimensions of community through the different perspectives of problem identification, systems thinking and power dynamics. These are used to identify appropriate interventions and a network to address them.
In Module 4 — Social Action/Enterprise start-up planning — participants are taught practically how to plan a social action initiative in their community, considering the process in different levels of detail and complexity. This involves identifying and clarifying their agenda, a specific intervention and how they will deliver it.
The Active Citizens programme aligns with Splice’s focus on building connected, just and inclusive communities. The responses from these sessions have been eye-opening, in demonstrating the need for active citizenship initiatives in New Zealand communities.
“I enjoyed finding out about everyone’s passions and social projects and learning how driven everyone is, and renewing my faith in the wider community for years to come.”
“I really enjoyed the discussion session, I believe it was somewhat of a challenge in a positive way. There were moments which shifted my internalisation and caused me to humble myself and listen.”
“I have gained insight into different communities and problems must be identified within a community before a social action is introduced so it is relevant and effective.”
“Loved learning more about communicating across cultures and being equipped with the skills to implement social actions.”
We are excited to implement more Active Citizens programmes across Aotearoa, thanks to the ongoing support of our partners. If you would like to become a partner and help us coach social leaders in your community, we would love to hear from you.
Splice 'Yoga playgroup' provides a unique opportunity for parents and grandparents to do something for themselves while their children play safely and in sight. Our volunteer yoga instructors provide a space formal enough for great yoga but informal enough for you to stop and tend to children when necessary.
Mats & toys are provided, and many caregivers opt to head downstairs to the lounge for a well deserved cuppa afterwards where they have the opportunity to connect with the Tea, Talk and Culture group for an added cross-cultural bonus.
TEA, TALK AND CULTURE
Tea, Talk & Culture is an initiative that grew from identifying the needs of new migrants to flex their English skills in a safe environment. The group draws in many cultural identities including Chinese, Korean, Indian, Fijian and German – and of course Kiwi. Each week the group meets over a new activity – from yarn-bombing to making dumplings. English is not the only language shared! During cultural events such as Matariki, Chinese New Year or Samoan Language week, the group makes an effort to add a third language to the mix. This group also addresses culture shock, helping group members prepare for social events such as a kiwi wedding or dinner party.
Neighbour’s Day is about supporting individuals in the city’s communities to meet and celebrate each other over a barbeque, art, music, tai chi, community displays, games, bouncy castle, circus performance and heaps more. We believe that the city isn’t just a place for business, it’s a place for communities to grow, and people to connect, create and thrive. Every year Splice designs a social action to bring city centre neighbours together over meaningful conversation, hospitality and most of all - fun.