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Title: All together now : exploring the politics of participation in the arts
Author: Wilson, Anna
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis examines the increase and diversification of participatory art practices that have occurred over the past two decades. To help break down the terrain, it presents a typology according to four divisions: 1) Participatory Commissioning and Consultation, 2) Interactive Participation, 3) Social Participation and 4) Collaborative Participation. The formalisation of each approach will consider how the participation is actually created, who owns the work (or with whom it is identified), and how much agency or control is allocated to the participants. It also looks at the participatory action involved in each approach and how this functions in terms of the creation of the artwork. Engaging with a range of arts practices, from visual arts to theatre (and forms that work between and beyond such categories), it focuses on the various uses of 'participation', as a term, an ideology, a discourse and a practice. It considers the possible reasons for the current surge in participative work and the relationship it may have to the broader socio-political and technological landscape. For instance, a perceived 'loss of the social bond' informing many practices is often sought to be repaired through participatory work. Similarly, participating in the arts is frequently perceived as evidence of the 'democratisation' of art. To help explore some of the political assumptions around perceptions of participation and community in the arts, it draws, in the main, on post Marxist thinkers Jacques Ranciere, Chantal Mouffe and Jean-Luc Nancy. Contrary to popular conceptions of democracy, which often perceive of it in terms of 'the will of the people', it will examine the ways in which democracy has functioned historically to produce political change in the West. I hope to challenge, therefore, the idea that participatory art is inherently political through its 'bringing people together', invitation to participate or broader claims of inclusivity
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available