Few will dispute that culture matters for community development. But in contrast to traditional development goals, such as those on health and education, the value of arts and culture for development is far more wide-ranging and conceptually diverse. At one end of the spectrum are the well-recognized economic benefits of culture tourism and creative industries; at the other end, the benefits of arts and culture in fostering participation and social inclusion in community participation are equally valuable but less tangible.

The Creative Communities project in Indonesia falls at the latter end of the spectrum with its use of community arts to encourage participation in community planning. Unlike other similar attempts in harnessing arts and cultural approaches for development which often tends to be small in scale and takes place in urban settings,...

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