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‘We’re trying to change the nature of art’

Writing about community arts The first phase of community arts in Britain (roughly 1965-1990) has not had much attention from historians, art critics or other academics. In the one really substantial book on the subject, Kate Crehan suggests that may be because the art world refused to give attention to a practice that challenged its authority.…

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Sharing the stage

For the past three years, I’ve been visiting participatory art projects in Spain, Portugal and other parts of Europe to learn about what is now happening there. I’m wary of simple explanations, especially in contexts I don’t know well, but it is hard not to link this new energy with the pressures European societies have…

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‘A gift for fiction’

Theatre changes people. Mostly, it does so in small ways by rearranging our mental furniture, hanging around for a bit and leaving odd things behind when it’s gone, with the result that we perceive things differently. Sometimes, its effect is much more dramatic, making us reassess our fears, desires, understanding, or our sense of others,…

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‘Arte e esperança’: The PARTIS programme

Between 12 and 15 January 2017, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation is hosting a showcase of of some the diverse projects they have supported in the last three years through the PARTIS programme. This has been a new venture for the Foundation’s work in Portugal, supported through the human development rather than the arts department. The demand…

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The legitimacy of non-participation

‘The problem, of course, is when you choose not to participate, most people don’t see it as a noble protest. Most people don’t notice at all. The absence of your voice doesn’t take up as much space as its presence. And so we have to choose: to be distorted or to be overlooked.’ Nina Simon…

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What next for ‘A Restless Art’?

More exploration than research The research period for ‘A Restless Art’ is gradually drawing to an end. I have a couple of further conversations with projects scheduled this week.  On Friday, I’ll be speaking at a conference on ‘Art and Hope’, organised by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation bringing together many of the projects supported through…