Still from ‘Ghost Town’ The Specials, 1981
THE DEPOLITICISATION OF COMMUNITY ART IN BRITAIN, 1970-2011
In 2011, I was asked to speak at ICAF about community arts in Britain, after the change of government the year before—and could I also say something about the riots that had taken place that summer? No, I could not: I wasn’t even in the UK when they happened. But I was in London during the 1981 riots, working as a community artist, and that memory started me thinking about what had changed during those 30 years, in community arts, politics and society. The result, worked out over several months, and first published by ICAF in 2013, was a long essay about the depoliticisation of community art, and its wider meaning. Revising it in late 2022, I can see how it laid the foundations for what subsequently, after many years more thinking and research, A Restless Art.
This is the last of the Old Words podcasts, at least for now, though Arlene and I will continue our Culture of Possibility collaboration. If you’d like to know about miaaw’s forthcoming podcasts and activities, you can subscribe to the monthly newsletter. (And if you’ve wondered why miaaw, it’s ‘Meanwhile, In An Abandoned Warehouse’, which seems a fair a title for an odd succession of quiet murmuring.)
Download ‘All in This Together: The Depoliticisation of Community Art in Britain 1970 – 2011’