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Contesting agendas of participation in the arts.

Price, Jonathan

Authors

Jonathan Price

Abstract

Forms of participatory practice have become ever more widely employed across the arts in recent years, operating across various institutional settings and social contexts. It is misleading, however, to assume that a single agenda binds these developments or that they serve the same social values and interests. Veils of common terminology can conceal important differences of political intent and ethical integrity. Conceptions of art, artists, culture and community vary widely, while terms such as participation, engagement and co-creation are rarely well defined. This article draws on current research into UK cultural and artistic leadership, as well as established theories of participation and action, to explore the complex power relations that underpin participatory discourse. It critiques policies and practices that claim 'participation' as an automatic methodological virtue, questioning the positive connotations of participatory language, particularly in relation to shaping assumptions of shared interest. It argues that there is a need for improved critical self awareness on the part of artists involved in participatory projects and processes, discussing possible frameworks for analysis of the relevant power relationships.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jun 1, 2015
Journal Journal of arts and communities
Print ISSN 1757-1936
Publisher Intellect
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Issue 1-2
Pages 17-31
Institution Citation PRICE, J. 2015. Contesting agendas of participation in the arts. Journal of arts and communities [online], 7(1-2), pages 17-31. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1386/jaac.7.1-2.17_1
DOI https://doi.org/10.1386/jaac.7.1-2.17_1
Keywords Art; Cultural leadership; Discourse; Engagement; Participation; Power

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