Monday, October 03, 2016

Pollinator or parasite?

- notes from some adventures in intervention, participation & place based performance

I'm doing a talk at Glasgow University on Thursday 6th Oct - details below.

Over the last few years my research has focused on documenting, supporting, analyzing and sometimes producing a number of live, experimental, artist-led initiatives in a diverse range of places, many associated with aspects of the AHRC’s Connected Communities programme. All of this work claims to foreground knowledge that is ‘co-produced’ as part of university–community partnerships, drawing on different traditions and histories of participatory and public art-making practice. It makes use of ‘live methods’ which aim to encourage participation and engagement in the research process.

I will share some examples from a number of projects designed or produced as part of Remaking Society (AHRC 2012 – 2014), the Govan-Gdansk knowledge exchange project (Royal Society of Edinburgh, 2014 – 2016) and Challenging Elites (AHRC 2014 – 2015), reflecting on the obstacles and opportunities encountered through this way of working.

All depend, crucially, on sustained collaboration with an ever-changing roster of artists, activists, designers, researchers and citizens. This approach raises important questions of responsibility, authorship and agency, as well as academic practice.  To what extent has my role in these projects been fundamentally to act as a ‘parasite’? And might this, paradoxically, be a useful role to play? The interfaces between art, design, performance and the city are a rich source of material for speculative and opportunistic projects which might point to alternative futures for people and places – but in whose interests are they being carried out?  I will share some dilemmas and emerging thinking around these issues.

Thurs 6th Oct, 5.30pm, University of Glasgow, Gilmorehill (Room 408). 

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