This site is an experimental publication that draws together reflective considerations of a six-month residency that had emerged out of the Creative People and Places commissioning programme in England. I approached this project in the hope it might result in findings useful for practitioners and organisations working in the public realm. What resulted, however, was what I would regard as a failure of participatory art. While the project failed on all counts, my experience is still useful to those of us working in the field of participation, but for very different reasons than I had intended.(1)
The text follows three broad strands: Personal, Practical and Philosophical. These narratives can be structured via the ‘tags’ embedded into each post. So you can read the unfolding of the projects and my reflections on the process in a narrative line that contains the entirety of the work, or you can focus on a single strand, or combine two different strands. There are also sub-tags that are embedded into each post that allow you to link themes across the strands.
The aim of publishing the text in this way is to consider how these three strands of experience affect the quality – and production – of participatory artworks. Indeed, as a piece about infrastructure, the aim is that the mechanism of this blog-site mirrors the concerns on infrastructure embedded in the text.
1 – It is important to underline that I have anonymised the participants and organisations within this paper as much as possible.
2 – I use the terms ‘participatory arts’ and ‘socially engaged’ interchangeably, but recognise they do not mean the same thing – see here).