Rethinking the Relationship
between Artists and Communities

Ready to Change

The tight relationship between different communities and artistic production is as old as art itself. Artists have worked in them, with them and for them. Because of the everchanging meanings and relationship, we can look at this specific relation from different perspectives but in this edition of the conference, we have put a strong emphasis on participatory artistic approaches that involve communities directly. Not to promote them without reservations but to assess them critically and see the limitations of the approach as well as its implications for the artists and the targeted communities.

The mentioned relations are fluid and very complex and a two-day conference cannot provide definite answers. We can, however, open an honest debate and start addressing the proposed issues in accordance with our commitment to researching and finding new approaches to address different communities as well as to create symbolic spaces where the audience can be an equal partner.

Art affects communities in a substantial way and the conference program offers strong evidence for this. Participatory art is a mainstream practice today and there has already been considerable affirmative praise of the approach that we will try to avoid. The partners of the Create to Connect network produce and present artistic content that is challenging and critical and we have applied the same criteria to the program of the conference. We do not want to reduce the debate to advocating for participatory practices but rather touch on some of its more complex dimensions like the implications it has for artists’ working conditions or challenge existing assumptions about emancipatory potential of audience participation. We have gathered inspiring individuals whose work and engagement prove that adopting an inclusive approach to the production and creative processes is possible without compromising artistic excellence but we have also gathered those who will clearly point out the boundaries and limitations of participatory approaches.

We wish all of us fruitful discussions and plenty of challenging thoughts!