Several people have asked me why A Restless Art is available as a free download. On one level, it’s just to make it as accessible as possible. I hope that my work is useful to people involved in community art, and putting it online helps get past financial and other barriers. As a PDF, the book can be freely shared. The cost of the print version (£10) is enough to cover production costs (given that perhaps half the run will go to people who’ve contributed in one way or another). There are no royalties involved.
But there is another reason. Part of community art’s radicalism was its rejection of art markets and the commodification of culture. In the age of the ‘creative industries and the cultural economy’, I have to admit that project hasn’t gone too well, but the principles remain valid. Actually, it’s even more important to defend non-commercial and uneconomic cultural practices today than it was then. Although I work freelance, my income derives mainly from public or charitable sources, so I regard my work as belonging to everyone, A Creative Commons licence makes it possible to share it freely while keeping it in the public domain.