This study explores how the Pauluskerk, in Rotterdam, aims to create a social space for those individuals who commonly find themselves in the margins of society. More specifically, this study investigates the role their community art initiative plays in the process of reaching this objective. In order to adequately study this phenomenon, the researcher spent 50 hours engaged in participant observations at various Pauluskerk settings and events. Also, twelve in-depth interviews were conducted with organizational members and visitors. The conceptual canvas of this study is primarily colored by Lefebvre’s work on the production of space. This perspective facilitates a better understanding of how the Pauluskerk ameliorates the experience of marginality by creating a place to be. The community arts initiative is highly influenced by the ambiguous organizational setting in which it is organized. As a result, it fulfills three main functions in the production of a social space. First of all, it adds Role Flexibility. It allows individuals to escape undesired social roles, they can experiment with different roles, and thus engage differently with the world around them. Secondly, it presents an additional means of communication as of which unnecessary silence is broken. And thirdly, the community arts initiative offers a choice. It assures more symmetrical relationships between organizational members and visitors. Altogether, this illustrates that the Pauluskerk does not create a social space for the marginalized. On the contrary, they succeed in producing a social space with the marginalized. The visitors are part of the production process; they become co-authors of space.

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D. Trottier, I. Awad Cherit
Media, Culture & Society
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

W.M. van Baalen. (2015, July 12). Creating Space Together. Media, Culture & Society. Retrieved from