Presentation on theme: "TAKING PART CONFERENCE: OPEN SPACES: SUMMARY Taking Part Conference Venues: Southbank Centre and Goldsmiths, University of London Dates: October 29th and."— Presentation transcript:
TAKING PART CONFERENCE: OPEN SPACES: SUMMARY Taking Part Conference Venues: Southbank Centre and Goldsmiths, University of London Dates: October 29th and 30th 2010
The Question Whose Big Society? As many of the more traditional means of engaging communities such as unions, churches, disappear, how can the Arts and Third Sector work in partnership to encourage active participation in civil society?
WHAT DO WE MEAN BY COMMUNITY (IES) A R T ( S ) A N D A R T I S T ( S ) ? L E T S N O T R E I N V E N T T H E W H E E L Communities are complex and hard to define. They are based on many variables including work, geography, shared interests/lack of interest, location, ideological beliefs. It is important not to make assumptions about these and to acknowledge the potential differences/divisions even within so called communities. The definition and notion of the individual artist can be dangerous and often isolating. Community art is a process focused on creativity and on a multiplicity of skills rather than one defined art form.
WHAT DANGERS DO WE FACE BY BECOMING INVOLVED IN THE TERM BIG SOCIETY AND IN ANY WAY BUYING INTO CAMERONS VISION? WHY DO IT? CAN WE TURN THE RHETORIC OF BIG SOCIETY ON ITSELF? Is it possible to use the rhetoric of the Big Society at local level to help bring about political and social change? The voluntary sector is seeing opportunities, the arts are seeing threats. What opportunities might there be for the Arts in the Big Society? Its still early days, we should be lobbying, negotiating and compromising. Not merely shouting from the sidelines.
HOW CAN WE BE A COMMUNITY? (PROFESSIONAL, CREATIVE, CARING, OPEN, GROWING? WHO, WHERE, WHEN?) Through openness, connection, and being informed. Looking at our shared values. Respect, enabling and empowering, rigour, commitment, communication, enjoyment, inclusivity and quality (of both process and product.) Take the concept of the mandala and be the change we wish to see – let our work and our actions ripple out into the wider community.
HOW CAN WE USE OUR WORK TO MOVE BEYOND PERSONAL TRANSFORMATIONS INTO THE REALM OF AFFECTING MORE DIRECT POLITICAL CHANGE? Recognise that personal change meshes with the political – work to change people and the policy makers will have to respond. Refuse to get trapped into divide and rule fighting for funding, or letting our energy be sidetracked into the cuts. Work instead to respond to the times we are living in.
HOW CAN ACADEMICS AND CREATIVE ARTISTS COLLABORATE SO AS TO PRODUCE ENHANCED ART THAT CAN ENGAGE WITH WIDER COMMUNITIES? Think carefully who might be the best people from the Higher Education Institutions to engage in this work. Consider and acknowledge the tensions of language, desired outcomes and timing.
HOW CAN WE FIND STRATEGIES TO EXPOSE OUR OWN INTENTIONS IN THIS WORK? Begin by identifying the traditions, the history and the political reasons for this work and explore the hierarchical power that might be implicit in our strategies of engaging. Create a platform for knowledge exchange so that the work we engage in is based on true reciprocity.
TRUST – HOW DO WE WORK WITH IT? HOW DO WE EXPLORE IT? Know that trust is being prepared to give something of yourself to the group with the expectation you will receive something in return – this is underpinned by mutual vulnerability and requires identifying and respecting the fragility of that trust. Realise that the artist is able to create a safe space through trust rather than control - this is extremely powerful – we need to learn to work with it.
HOW CAN WE EXPLORE INSIDER/OUTSIDER ISSUES WITH PLAYFULNESS RATHER THAN RAGE/FEAR? Accept that Playfulness and Rage, Insider and Outsider are all part of a continuing process. Recognise that its important to invite outsiders in to take an internal role. Know that the role of the fool is a playful one but it is often driven by rage and fear (e.g. feminism ).
WHY ARE WE SO HOMOGENOUS AS A GROUP?* Because the conference was set up by an academic institution and the education/outreach department of an arts organisation? Does the demographic reflect that? The set up/framework and pitching inevitably influences who participates. How can we change that? Disempowerment (and anger) has long roots. Some of us have been around a long time – and are still here. * Majority of women, less BAME.
LEARNING FROM THE PAST- LESSONS FOR THE FUTURE Importance of working, as we have done here, across generations and experience. Importance of asserting, especially in rough times, what we are doing - importance of documenting and writing our own legacy. Otherwise others will write it for us.