participate! Toolkit for participatory practices
TimeCase. Memory in Action 2012-2014
Academy of Participation
Our memory, my identity
Methods and practice
Starting a participatory project
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
What is TimeCase. Memory In Action? The creation of cultural memory for a group or community is an ongoing process, where new visions on the past can take place. TimeCase. Memory in Action focuses on a number of issues such as the forgotten and hidden past of many European countries, the dominance or cultural hegemony of the majority in increasingly multicultural societies, and the widening gap between rich and poor, educated and non-educated, privileged and non-privileged. We have set out to collect, analyse and share case studies of effective participatory practice across the whole sector and have conducted a practice-based, comparative review
of innovative educational/creative approaches relating to 20th century history. We have also outlined new standards for open learning environments and participatory approaches in the cultural heritage sector, as well as developed new participatory approaches through peer coaching. By creating a community of participatory arts enthusiasts and professionals we have built sustainability into the project.
In a globalising world, with shifting cultural, demographic, ethnic and sociological structures, individuals and groups need to see their identity represented in their cultural surroundings.
Peer coaching training in Tondela, the method Pass the puppet (page 34) Participatory artistic practices in the field of memory and heritage go further than this, they enable individuals to take part in the creation of the discourse prompting different visions of culture and identity and society. But are we aware of the strong force of memories when entering a participatory exercise? As curators, cultural managers and artists, are we prepared to get a grip on participatory processes? Can we consider ourselves already as practitioners of participatory methods? This toolkit is meant to be used by curators, cultural managers, and artists – experienced practitioners, who are looking for a European exchange platform in cultural participation, as well as the inexperienced, who are taking their first steps into the challenging world of participation.
Why a toolkit?
• to enhance the discussion about the role of memories in European society (page 6)
• to initiate the discussion about the future of participation and the need for establishing cultural participation as a discipline in its own respect (page 14) • to provide a large number of case studies to illustrate the reflections (case studies on timecase. org) • to present the experiences of European practitioners of participatory projects (pages 11, 28, 35, 39 and 42) • to give some practical guidelines for participatory processes: methodological approaches, key questions, and a useful link list for project management (page 30 and forward)
How can it be used?
The format of this toolkit is interactive. A supplementary printed brochure provides a summary of the toolkit in seven European languages.
Based on a European project
Our reflections are based on the outcomes of the project TimeCase. Memory in Action, a network of cultural and educational organisations interested in participatory arts and 20th century memory practices. Since 2012, we have been mapping and analyzing the participatory projects landscape in Europe, we have realised participatory pilot projects, and disseminated our findings through workshops, symposia, publications and an online archive www.timecase.org. Our proposal is to set new standards for open learning environments and participatory approaches in the cultural heritage sector and create a community of participatory arts enthusiasts and professionals to grow a network with related research.
Goethe-Institut Paris, Castrum Peregrini Amsterdam, Palazzo Spinelli per l’Arte e il Restauro Firenze, Associação Cultural e Recreativa de Tondela, Bucharest National University of Arts, Riksutställningar/Swedish Exhibition Agency, The CASS at London Metropolitan University, Lithuanian theatre, music and cinema museum, Vilnius.
06 Our Memory, My identity: Michael Defuster The right for an own history is the right for an own identity 11 Personal reflection: Dagmar Osterloh On the role of power in participatory practices 14 Academy of Participation: Tamiko Oâ€™Brien, Lars Ebert and Chrissie Tiller Capacity building for a culturally inclusive Europe 28 Personal reflection: Pernilla Luttropp Exploring power through Open Space Technology 30 Methods for participation: Hannah Kabel and CĂŠcile Tschirhart Practice and pedagogical considerations
Academy of Participation
Cover: Peer coaching session in London
35 Personal reflection: Sjoerd Wagenaar Dig where you stand 39 Personal reflection: Miguel Torres Power relations in participatory practices 42 Personal reflection: Soheila Najand Democracy, freedom and participation 46 Before planning a participatory project Key questions 48 Bibliography
Methods for participation
Our Memory, My Identity
By Michael Defuster, Amsterdam
WE ARE WHAT WE can remember. When our memory
changes, then our identity changes as well. And memories change, by the simple fact alone that our brain can store only a small part of all the information we continuously have to deal with.
The brain is constantly forced to make selections and it does so just by forgetting. It remembers by preference the information that makes sense to us. By traumatic experiences it tries to suppress the bad memories, with all the known side effects this can have. What is valid for individuals, applies also for groups, generations, nations. Our cultural identity, namely, is determined by our collective memories and those are quite fluid, and we are not very aware of this fact. In addition, we cannot remember something consistent outside the context of the various social networks we are part of, like family, our work environment, our circle of friends, club, or nation. It points out that our individual memories are not as individual as we always assumed. Even if we remember alone, we do that as social beings, by referring to our social identities, by using languages and symbols we can use in a creative way, but which we did not invent ourselves. An event that is experienced by a group, is stored by the group as a collective memory. The impact of the event determines how it will be remembered, forgotten, or suppressed. When the social environment of a group is changing, then so too does its identity, like in the case of the deprivation of a neighbourhood, or the influence of mass tourism on local communities. In fact, we continuously reconstruct the memories of our past and adjust in this way the story, on which we base our identity, to the needs and perspectives of the present. This applies for both individuals and groups.
In human history, priests and politicians always understood the cultic powers of the past to underwrite solida-
Peer coaching session in Paris rity and unity, or to ask for sacrifices. They do so by appealing to the collective memory of a group, regardless of whether that group is a village parish, a tribe, or the complete population of China. The primordial stories of a group have the power to bind its members. They anchor the cultural identity of the group. This mechanism comprises a great potential for manipulating groups and individuals. Not only populist movements or totalitarian regimes are eager to use or misuse it. Notwithstanding oppression or persecution, a group can maintain its identity in a remarkable way through time and misery, like in the case of Judaism. Examples like that are testimony to the strong instincts of human kind for the need for a group identity.
Participation is closely
The right for an own history is the right for an own identity
linked to the notion of communities and the need to build on shared identities or the need to establish or transform an identity. Looking at those collective and cultural identities we are automatically drawn to the subject of collective and cultural memory. We are what we can remember and our memories are constructed. If we strive for understanding participation we cannot ignore the mechanisms of personal and collective memories. It is against this background that the partners of TimeCase have come to realise that culture is memory in action. But what is that memory? Michael Defuster, executive director at TimeCase partner Castrum Peregrini provides us with an introduction.
Photo: Goethe-Institut Paris
Myths, mythologies, national or ethnic stories, that contain the collective memory, are mostly easy going: like the story of the newspaper-boy who made it to a tycoon in the country of unlimited possibilities, or, the one about the country of sailors, traders and preachers, where the inhabitants of the capital are heroic, decisive and merciful. Or, they refer to the god or ancestors who embody in a magical way the spiritual powers of the group. Those stories mostly give a limited version of the past, by “forgetting” the less comfortable ones, like for example, the role that the slave trade had in them. Both collective remembering and collective forgetting are essential to a group identity. Moreover, most of those stories that reflect the group
identity are constructed. At the birth of the nation states in the 19th century, traditions were eventually invented, if no suitable ones were available to emphasize the unity of the state. Each collective memory is embedded in a group, confined by space and time. Collective memory procures the group a self-portrait that evolves in time. It is a collection of resemblances and to a great extent an illusion. Or, in the words of the British neurologist Oliver Sacks, “we are what we are able to tell about ourselves”. With the growing awareness that dominant groups have always been framing the past for their own benefit, in terms of the preservation of power and prestige, minority groups, whose past and identity have been erased or made subordinate to that of the majority, are able to create more and more space to reconstruct their own version of the past. With an appeal to justice, they claim the right to (re-)construct their own identity. As collective memory is accompanied by strong emotional forces, this process can only take place without outbursts of violence, in a mature democracy and rule of law, where each group and individual has the rights, recourses, and space to express itself. It is not difficult at all to see where it can go wrong: have a look at the Holocaust, Srebrenica, and topically the Middle East, where at the moment nearly every ethnic and religious group is in conflict with each other and with the common enemies Israel and the USA.
The impact of the media
With the invention of the writing system, humanity created for the first time an external memory system that could contain more information than the human brain. A brain that has to memorise long stories is very different from one that has to be able to read and write, or has to find its way in a library. With the introduction of electronic mass communication and the internet, even more different capacities were needed. Since the internet, memorisation has become almost obsolete. Instead, to use the internet successfully, one is expected to find the required information in a split second and interpret it on its value for use. This requires a completely different brain than the one of the storyteller. The human brain is flexible and evolves with those external developments. Because of the internet and the omnipresence of mass media in the daily life of most of mankind, another development takes course: the limits of one’s collective memory are fading, because one can imagine the culture and the real life of individuals that are completely different to one’s own. The world ‘globalises’ and ‘homogenises’ with the speed of light through the global glass fibre network. Hundreds of millions of people have an image of the magical landscape of New Zealand, since the quest of Frodo the Hobbit, in the film of Lord of the Rings, without ever having been there. Some see this development as an ‘information illness’ that is submerging personal memories, by the quantity and speed by which information is bombarding us. Public and personal experiences are not being drawn closer by it, but instead are being driven apart. That our time has such a need for a cult of the past indicates that we want to experience time cyclical again instead of straight forward, that we want to regain a way of contemplation that lays outside the universe of simulation and glass fibre networks, that we are looking for an anchorage of authenticity in a world of confusing and sometimes threatening uniformity. This is in fact a very forceful challenge for cultural and artistic creativity.
The role of the arts
The term cultural memory is merely a translation of the Greek name Mnemosyne. Since Mnemosyne was the mother of the nine Muses, her name came to stand for the totality of cultural activities as they were personified by the different Muses. By subsuming these cultural activities under the personification of memory, the Greeks were viewing culture not only as based on memory, but as a form of memory in itself. Aby Warburg saw art as 8
an “organ of social memory”. For him, it is the artist and the historian who are most sensitive to the unseen influences of the past. Memory is more a crucible of meaning than a vessel of truth. Memory, individual or collective, functions in every act of perception, in every act of intellection, in every act of language. With their special skills the arts can transform historical times into collective memories. The power of collective memory does not lie in its accurate, systematic, or sophisticated mapping of the past, but in establishing basic images that articulate and reinforce a particular ideological stance. The selection and organization of a vast array of chronicled facts into a narrative form requires a response to concerns that are essentially literary and poetic. The fictional dimension is even more pronounced in the case of the commemorate narrative, which more easily blurs the line between the real and the imagined. Art, literature, film, photography, and design, create and comment continuously the self-image of the different societal groups, by means of journalism, media, commemorations, performances, exhibitions, religion, social media, and advertisements, The Nobel prize winner for literature Mario Vargas Llosa sees the arts in general and literature in particular as “the motor of progress. Man distinguishes himself from animals by his ability to imagine the life’s of thousands of other people. Art and literature provide in this need. At the same time, they make the gap visible between the possibilities he has and the fact he has only one life to live. The result is a structural discontent that makes that mankind continuously has the urge to make the world better.” For Castrum Peregrini, during WWII, when youngsters were hiding in the apartment of Gisèle d’ Ailly and the German poet Wolfgang Frommel, art and literature played a central role in their survival strategy: notwithstanding the fact that the boys were excluded from any contact with the outside, through literature and art they had windows on the complexity of the world, through which they could deal relatively easily with life.
The societal meaning of cultural memory
Cultural memory is so manifest in society that we tend to ignore it. As individuals, cultural memory is to such an extend part of our identity, that it becomes invisible to us, because it is us. Cultural memory determines the way groups and individuals experience events. It is bound to our significance, interests and most profound emotions, and therefore a highly political matter. Even as it is a great good, because it describes values and
‘Dieses Projekt war für mich und für die ganze Gruppe eine ganz besondere Erfahrung.’
Peer coaching session in Visby norms for a group and offers a home for the individual, it is at once a dangerous minefield of not so noble properties, like exclusion of the ‘otherness’, group fanaticism and extremism. We can observe this at its best when we are confronted with other cultures, that in essence are nothing else than a set of different collective memories. Asian and South American emerging markets are increasingly able to place their own ‘master narrative’ as equal next to that of the dominant Western culture. That was visible at the Dokumenta 13 and the Venice Biennale 2013. A wealthy public in India, China, Russia or Brazil buys art that meets with their own cultural memory matrix. Their art does not bother about the taste of a Western public anymore. Thus it becomes clear how much art, culture and identity are related. The TimeCase. Memory in Action project deals with participatory practice in art projects related to cultural memory and identity. In 20th century Europe, several nationalistic and ideological catastrophes revealed the importance of awareness for the ambiguity of cultural memory - that is its inclusive and exclusive aspect which was in fact the birth of the European Union as we know
Photo: Swedish Exhibition Agency
it today. In line with this initial cause the TimeCase. Memory in Action project spreads knowledge amongst cultural institutions to improve the awareness of the double faced aspect of cultural memory, in order to promote inclusiveness.
Aleida Assmann; Jan Assmann; Maurice Halbwachs; Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger; Andreas Huyssen; Pierre Nora; Jeffrey K. Ollick; Richard Sennett; Merlin Donald.
About the author:
Educated as an architect Michael Defuster has worked for several architectural firms in the Netherlands and the Urban Development Department of Amsterdam. Today he is the Executive Director of the cultural foundation Castrum Peregrini. Under his direction it transformed from publishing house into a cultural centre with a rich international programme based on the core values of freedom, friendship and culture. He is the author of numerous articles for international journals and edited and co-authored a.o. Gisèle en haar onderduikers, Amsterdam 2008.
’Das Ergebnis ist nicht das, was ich mir am Anfang vorgestellt habe – aber es ist toll!’
Dagmar Osterloh works at the Goethe-Institut Paris as a language consultant. She has an extensive knowledge of cultural and educational management practices. She is involved in teacher training, liaison with schools and has project managed a number of art initiatives. Photo: Pascal Osterloh
’Förutsättningen för ett lyckat deltagandeprojekt är att bryta hierarkierna, men det är också det som är den stora utmaningen’
Personal reflection: Dagmar Osterloh on the role of power in participatory practices
Does the question of power, and the question of who is Can you identify the most neuralgic points of a colin charge in a cultural production process, play a role in laborative creative process between a) communiyour cultural practice and in which way? ties or target audiences, b) organisations, c) artists/ curators? Where are the bottlenecks? Where are the The Goethe-Institut Paris organises cultural projects like chances and moments to cherish? colloquia generally in collaboration with partners, and we decide collaboratively the content of one project. It is very important that all partners – regardless of their size or importance – can benefit from a common project and are highly valued for their work. For the past three years the participants also have made their proposals, and the final decision for the subject of, for example, a workshop is taken democratically. Some of the participants even lead the workshops, invite keynote speakers and prepare the material.
a) The organisers of a participatory project should be informed of the (different) intercultural and social backgrounds of their target audiences. They should create an open and trusting ambience which allows all participants to feel and act equally. There has to be a common understanding of the idea that we are all working together on one common project, and the contribution of every single participant is important. Don’t take this mutual respect for granted – it has to be created in a continuous process during the whole project’s lifetime! The organiser has a crucial role within this process.
’Äntligen ett sätt att jobba med besökare och deltagare på lika villkor’
b) Different organisations represent diverse intercultural norms and different legal or financial guidelines. But which organisation takes a decision within a project? Which one gives power away? Sometimes, especially during important projects, concurrence between the more and the less prestigious institutions can occur. Then it is important to negotiate to find a balance in respect of the different competences. The project itself has to be the priority, and sometimes the decision to not work together any more has to be taken. c) Time to get to know each other, to cherish and to respect each other is absolutely necessary. Who takes over which part of the project? This time of harmonisation is very often not scheduled.
How did you deal with those dynamics in your own work? Can you mention an example? During different project phases different dynamics can occur: There are amplifying dynamics which means that all partners contribute to a project and mutually reinforce each other. Thatâ€™s why the different roles of all partners should be defined from the beginning. There are also negative dynamics which occur when it is not clear from the beginning which partner fulfills which role. And there can even occur conflictual situations within a group of participants which can usually be solved, there are many methods, but the participants have to be (or become) conscious of the critical situation.
Who is the driver of a process and if there is more than one driver, - who is responsible? A participatory project is not static, and the driver differs from phase to phase. It depends on the general structure of a project as well as on each situation: Sometimes, the drive comes out of the hierarchical structure, sometimes it is content-based. But there will always come the moment when a â€?leaderâ€œ is needed: This person can be chosen out of the group of participants, and he/she is replaceable. The way of communicating and the general relationship
between a leader and the group is crucial. This relationship should be defined by equal estimation, competence, recognition of diverse capacities otherwise it creates a negative spiral. The project initiator has the responsibility to prepare the ambience for this group process.
How do you ensure the (artistic) quality of a participatory project? For me it is important to focus on the artistic quality of the work rather than just accepting it because it has been produced collaboratively. Sometimes the artwork has to be more important than the process itself and sometimes the reverse is true. In general it is difficult to define artistic quality. Maybe artistic quality and group projects even exclude each other? And what is more important? The artwork? The process of creating? The dynamics within a group? I am not sure. Personally, it is important that a group develops something unique, and that a piece of art includes different artistic approaches, and that it is presented in an interesting context either on the internet or in a public space.
Who owns the outcomes? It is very important to take decisions on the question of copyright together with all partners and participants from the outset. It is important that all participants and participating organisations have a positive outcome from the project and that they are treated equally.
Peer coaching session in Tondela
Academy of p
Capacity building for a culturally inclusive Europe By Tamiko O’Brien, Lars Ebert and Chrissie Tiller
Case study: Politique Qualité Photo: Raymond Le Menn
Participation in culture not only enriches individuals but also strengthens their social networks and brings about greater engagement with civil society.
active civic participation. It is often through this participation that communities come towards a shared sense of identity and belonging.
Countries with higher levels of cultural engagement have consistently been shown to have “higher levels of social and institutional trust” (Keaney 2006) and more
It is this shared sense of identity that is often missing in contemporary Europe. Although we have moved towards a greater integration of states, as a response
‘Art no longer wants to respond to the excess of commodities and signs, but to a lack of connections.’
articipation The article reflects on findings and perspectives generated within the EU funded
project TimeCase about participatory art practice with a special focus on contexts that address cultural memory. The wide range of funding, and ideological and political contexts found in Europe inform the work. The article proposes questions to be considered at the outset of any participatory project, and to be re-examined throughout the process. The participatory spectrum sets out a framework of reference. All reflections are illustrated with case studies. Finally, the authors suggest that participatory practice should be considered as a discipline in its own right, with its own history, key practitioners and practical and conceptual concerns.
to the extreme forms of nationalism that led to the Second World War, this has not necessarily created greater acceptance of difference within communities. Living with other states is one thing, living with the Other – culturally, ethnically and religiously – is another type of challenge on an individual basis. As the population of Europe has become increasingly diverse and mobile, the lack of a shared sense of belonging has become more and more apparent. The growth of populism, combined with the current economic and financial crisis, has made the situation yet more complex. To practice the art of living with the ‘Other’, Europe must invest in building the social capital of its communities. Increased cultural participation provides an important step towards addressing this crisis. THE CHALLENGE, in the multicultural reality that is Eu-
rope, is to begin to construct history and identity in a more inclusive way: as part of a collaborative exercise, with shared responsibility and ownership. Such re-ima-
ginings are, by definition, creative and dynamic and therefore offer the possibility for artists to play a crucial catalytic and facilitative role within their development.
Investigating the field
In exploring the role that cultural memory plays in building more cohesive communities and a shared sense of togetherness the TimeCase: Memory in Action project (2012-2014) has been looking at the role that creative and cultural participation plays in allowing different visions of culture and identity to become part of the discourse of our increasingly diverse societies. The TimeCase project has been considering ways in which participatory practices might engage communities to work through complex questions. Key issues identified through the project include: • the forgotten and hidden past of many European countries – victims or perpetrators during fascist and communist regimes, colonial and post-colonial times and the treatment of minorities; • the dominance or cultural hegemony of the majority in increasingly multicultural societies; • the widening gap between rich and poor, educated
‘True participation is open. We will never be able to know what we give to the spectator author.’
and non-educated, privileged and non-privileged, leading to increasing alienation within our societies. TimeCase has also been considering ways in which artists, and arts and arts and cultural institutions can be supported in developing strong and sustainable approaches to participation by: • collecting, analysing and sharing case studies of effective participatory arts practice across the whole cultural sector: from those that might be called “signature” works to community development projects. • creating a peer coaching model to support those working in participatory contexts in developing the skills and competencies needed to empower others through this practice.
If arts and cultural institutions are to take a lead in facilitating different visions of culture and identity and become part of the wider Case study: Burning Factory discourse it is useful to have a shared framework within which to contextualise this work. Participatory arts is characterised by the that unites them as participatory projects? This was one bringing together of professional artists and non-pro- of the early challenges of the TimeCase project. fessional artists to work collaboratively on a piece of artistic creation. In setting out to develop a framework ARNSTEIN’S A LADDER of Citizen Participation (1969) that could be understood by funders, artists, producers, provided a useful starting point, in terms of empowering managers and participants alike. TimeCase, felt it im- participants to take a more active part in society. In portant to find a way to situate this form of practice and moving from what she terms as “manipulation” through provide concrete reference points for sharing experience to “tokenism” to “citizen control” she highlights the issand expertise. In a trans-national European context, in ues of power and autonomy involved in any kind of parparticular, it became crucial to examine language and ticipatory process. Reflecting on participation in these terminology. Participatory practice has developed from terms raises the issue of social change and transformaquite different roots in the different countries and has tion and the importance of questioning, as Meissen does often emerged from diverse social, political and/or eco- in The Nightmare of Participation, whether participatory nomic imperatives. National cultural policies and access projects are sometimes being funded to bring about “pla(or not) to public funding inevitably create differences cation rather than a real process of transformation?” Are of scale, impact and level of engagement: some of the these projects really offering participants the opportuniTimeCase identified case studies discussed here are ba- ty to have their own identities represented and acknowsed in well-funded national institutions; others are small ledged? Are they replacing the voice of political dissent? rural grassroots initiatives. What is it then, if anything, Or, as the state is increasingly dismantled, are they being
‘Ce projet nous a appris à entrer en contact avec des personnes qu’on ne connaissait pas avant. On a du apprendre à les connaître et à travailler avec eux. La communication et l’écoute des autres avait une grande importance. Il nous a fallu rebondir face à des situations.’
king their lives vulnerable to the interpretation of others? CULTURAL CRITICS Bishop and
Kester argue for two different approaches. On one end of the continuum is work that looks for social cohesion and a breaking down of the hierarchy between the professional and non-professional artist within its practice. What Kester identifies as a “pragmatic openness to site and situation... and a critical and self-reflexive relationship to practice itself ” (Kester 2011 p.125). At the other end is work that Bishop would champion as being intentionally provocative and disruptive, challenging the status quo and dealing directly with the class, social and economic issues that may face the participants, while leaving the artist in a position where she/he retains their own autonomy and makes the final creative decisions. It is the continuum between Bourriaud’s notion of relational art where the artwork is concerned with Photo: CarlosTeles offering new, “ways of living and models of action within the existing real” through its process and Rancière’s insistence used to deliver services that would have previously come that the dialogical aesthetic must embrace the artists’ under social welfare, health or environment? ”ability to think contradiction.” In terms of participatory projects dealing with cultural memory, as those in TimeCase, this is an on-going tension. Is cultural participation providing a less expensive and less confrontational way to deal with complex social tensions and the marginalisation of minorities? Is it being used as a means to integrate these minorities into mainstream culture instead of building a sense of the richness and value of engaging with their diverse histories? Promoting “a homogeneous and consensual view of society: an ‘ethical community’ in which political dissent is dissolved” (Bishop 2006). For this reason it is impossible to think about the participatory process without touching upon the ethics and philosophy of such practice. What does it mean to engage people in a process that may involve them in sharing their stories, opening themselves up to the creative process and ma-
Effective participatory projects will always be responsive to the context, lives and circumstances of their participants as well as working towards artistic outcomes that are aesthetically challenging. The TimeCase research uncovered powerful examples of effective practice in a wide range of settings. The project I AM HERE, for instance, evolved from within a very specific place and a community. A public art work generated from within the increasingly transformed residential area in Hackney, East London, is a direct response to the experience of living in an estate in the process of being regenerated. The participants of I AM HERE replaced 67 orange boards, erected by the council to identify empty flats, with large scale photo-
’Je me suis quelque peu découvert’
Case study: Museum Of Genocide Victims 18
Photo: Lithuanian theatre, music and cinema museum
â€˜True participation is open. We will never be able to know what we give to the spectator author.â€™
graphic portraits of the residents. The aim of the project was not only to humanise the estate and open up a dialogue: challenging negative stereotypes associated with council estates but also to transform the austerity of the façade with the orange boards signposting dereliction into a provocative artwork. The artists who instigated the project were themselves long term residents of the estate and the project was their first collaboration, initially funded from a community development grant. This project has proved popular and important and spawned various related projects. It is a challenging work that subverts the local councils’ visual statement about the relative redundancy of the building and has instead proved a catalyst for community discourse and cohesion. EMPOWERING PARTICIPANTS to have a voice of their
own and ensuring these voices are heard is at the heart of participatory practice. If participants are to give informed consent to their part in both process and outcomes, then, artists and producers/ curators need to engage them in open and transparent dialogue. Involving them in shaping the whole process and engaging them from the outset in the creative enquiry and learning, as I AM HERE did, can lead to the possibility of real empowerment.
Place and community are central to the work of ACERT. Based in the small town of Tondela in Portugal, it has grown from a small local ‘grassroots’ theatre company to a large centre that provides bookable learning spaces, a bar, restaurant, gallery, both indoor and outdoor theatre and workshop spaces for local people. Responding directly to the needs of the community within which it has placed itself, it has transformed the way that local people engage with art and culture. By extending ownership of the work to the community it has raised the level of ambition of participants and proved an important hub for developing a more inclusive cultural memory. Through the targeted participation of elders and younger people in creative interplay, and experimentation it has also created the potential for meaningful inter-generational dialogue and offered a sense of agency to both. Using the participatory artistic process to bring about a greater sense of inclusion and shared memory has created collaborative works that have surprised and challenged both artists and participants. It has also stretched and challenged the organisation itself in the process as well as developing a more empowered and confident audience.
Participation is more than simply inviting people to engage
Participation is more than simply inviting people to engage in the production of a piece of art. Artists need to be aware of the possibility of exploitation, of using the ‘others’ and their exotic cultural capital to enrich their own work. While research can be a very real motivation for working with ‘the public’, practitioners need to look at their own motivations and the ethics of their approach. With her project, the South London Black Music Archive, Barby Asante provides a powerful example of an artist embedding their research within a very specific community in order to ensure real partnership and a respectful and reciprocal exchange of material. Asante’s projects open up dialogue about an overlooked area of culture. Through the process of sharing memories and stories through workshops, exhibitions and an inheritance tracks album, she enables people to talk across age groups, understand important aspects of their shared past and their contribution to the wider culture. In this way Asante acts as facilitator, participant and catalyst while developing her own approach to research and art making.
The Museum of Genocide Victims, housed in the former KGB building in Vilnius has used creative engagement to re-imagine a very particular space for its community. Originally the place where plans for deportations and the arrests, persecution of opponents and the suppression of the resistance were devised and carried out by Soviet authorities, it has always been a powerful symbol of the 50-year-long Soviet occupation for Vilnius citizens. By developing an open door approach and providing material that contributes to the mapping and understanding of these events, the Museum has established itself as a place of creative openness and exchange, of participation and interaction, in stark contrast with the building’s former use. In archiving and displaying material donated from local people that reflect their individual experience of the physical and spiritual forms of genocide, it has become a hub for engagement and reflection, giving voice to those that were previously persecuted and marginalised. By attempting to redress the balance of its own past, the Museum uses participation to bring its community towards a place where it can collectively own and make meaning from what was lost and ephemeral. Its audience has moved beyond the
’Participatory practice involves sharing experience, contributing with knowledge, taking part in the making, presenting a point of view thus creating a dialogue.’
role of passive spectator to that of active co-creator and interpreter.
participants share responsibility for both structure and content).
The participatory spectrum
BOTH THESE MODELS provide a useful distinction
All of these projects occur at different points of what is increasingly identified in terms of a spectrum of participatory practice. In Getting in on the Act: How Arts Groups are Creating Opportunities for Active Participation, commissioned by the Irvine Foundation in 2011, Brown et al. set out what they consider to be the five stages of participation that they describe in terms of audience: ‘Spectating, Enhanced Engagement, Crowd Sourcing, Co-Creation and Audience-as-Artist’ (Brown et al., 2011:4) following closely on Arnstein’s model by beginning where little real participation is happening. In Education for Socially Engaged Art , Helguera (2011) takes a more critical view of the same spectrum, describing a continuum from what he calls Nominal Participation (where participants are largely passive spectators) to Directed Participation (where participants undertake simple activities that might contribute to the artwork), to Creative Participation (where participants make a real contribution) to Collaborative Participation (where
between audience development work and real participatory practice, where the former often uses the term participation whilst most of the activities remain what Helguera calls Nominal or what Brown et al. might identify as spectating or enhanced engagement. In her participatory performing arts framework developed for the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Tiller has marked this difference by starting with Active Engagement and moving through Collaborative making to Co-creation to work that is completely initiated and led by participants: encompassing some of the important questions of why?, where?, and how? that surround such practice. There is sometimes an assumption that participatory arts projects inevitably lead to positive social outcomes. But if traditional hierarchies have largely been maintained throughout the process there is little reason why this should happen. This analytical work is a very valuable reflective tool for cultural analysts, curators and funders but it is also of great practical benefit for practitioners. Through the spectrum they can question their own mo-
Case study: I Am Here
’On nous laisse faire notre truc et on est indépendent’
tivations and address the level of engagement they plan to work with. (see table on next page) A further developmental distinction around the nature of the practice is shown in Brown’s analysis of the kinds of interaction that take place within participatory projects. In distinguishing between what he identifies as curatorial (selecting, editing, organising, voting) interpretive (performing, remaking an existing work of art) and inventive (creating something entirely new) he looks at the importance of the participant being able to collaborate with the artist to create a completely new piece of work. (Brown et. al, 2011) In terms of the Performing Arts, in particular, this distinction between interpretive and inventive provokes interesting questions. Is it of greater value for participants to work on their own interpretation of a relevant and meaningful piece of existing theatre or to create their own original piece? In many ways, creating an interpretive piece of work that focuses on the concerns and lives of the participants and takes place in non-traditional spaces, can offer a more powerful challenge to the prevailing cultural hegemony. It also offers the possibility of working with the creative language of metaphor and universality in richly diverse socio-cultural contexts. OPERA MACHINE, an international group that inclu-
des asylum seekers as key participants, does exactly this when it re-imagines opera from the classical canon, providing opportunities for audiences and participants to engage with what is usually considered an elitist art form. In this case, performances inhabit locations chosen for their poetic resonance and the opportunity they provide for an immersive and interactive event. The asylum seekers chorus that works closely with the director and professional singers benefits from this opportunity of indirectly working through memories of displacement while the ‘professional’ participants learn a great deal from working with the chorus and have through this experience developed new approaches to direction and staging learnt through this interaction. All participants receive respect and recognition for their own cultural value and contribution to the forming of the work and audiences benefit from new perspectives on shared cultural memory. A cultural centre in the historic canal district of Amsterdam, Castrum Peregrini, is also active in engaging with its historical roots and the need to re-imagine the way that we can collaborate on cultural learning and making. This cultural foundation is based in an area defined by tourism, wealthy inhabitants and roots going back to the Dutch Golden Age, the 17th cen-
tury, when this area’s great wealth was built on trade, including the slave trade. Castrum Peregrini’s name refers to the nom de guerre of a hiding place for Jewish young people on the 3rd floor of this 17th century canal house. The group of young people received a clandestine artistic education by their two mentors who risked their lives maintaining this secret underground community. Castrum Peregrini addresses the pressing issues of today, working with the arts, the humanities and its (im-) material heritage. Castrum Peregrini engages with artists, writers, musicians and other creative workers to play a role in creating access to and re-think heritage, both through their own research but also through their involvement with visitors in creative processes. The building and its archives serve as a background for dialogue about memory, about objects and their hidden stories. The young black poet Quinsy Gario, known for initiating the discussion on Black Peter in the Dutch Santa Claus tradition, has, for example, twice realised a participatory performance in the preserved safe room during Museumnacht Amsterdam (in 2012 and 2014). Gario invites small groups of 10 participants (6 groups per night) to join him in the hiding place: to hear the story of the room, to share thoughts about it and finally to work collaboratively for an intense period on the writing of a site specific poem. The poems then contribute to the blog ´messages of hope’, or are kept private to the group as they choose. In either case, the resulting poems demonstrate that such shared interactions are creative and profound and result in outcomes that question our tidy notions of the past in surprising ways. These examples demonstrate that as participatory practice grows and develops within and without cultural institutions it is impossible not to consider its implications for the education of both cultural managers, museum and gallery educators and artists. This is why the follow-up of TimeCase will look at the curricula of the art schools and art universities in terms of how they prepare their students to take a more active role in society. It is a pathway many emerging artists are already choosing. Placing themselves within what might be seen as more marginalised communities, partly in order to afford studio or rehearsal space, they are electing to engage with these communities in a meaningful and creative manner. The notion of the artist as an isolated individual creating work with little or no reference to the society in which they are living is being challenged by new realities.
’L’appropriation du sujet est un peu compliquée mais l’aide qu’on nous apporte nous a permis d’avancer’
Participatory spectrum, by Chrissie Tiller Active Engagement
Participants are involved with or contribute to the making of the work through stories, ideas or performances.
Artist/s remain in the leading creative role but participants have a direct involvement in the creation of the final piece, working together with artist/s. Professional artists and non-professional participants. Other partners from social contexts.
WHO is involved?
Professional artists and non-professional participants. Other partners from social contexts.
HOW does the work take place?
Inventive’ (or devised) ‘interpretive’ (or already existing) – i.e. working on participants’ stories and concerns or on an existing piece. May be single-authored/ signature piece with participants helping realise artists’ ideas.
‘Inventive’ (or devised) ‘interpretive’ (or already existing) – i.e. working on participants’ stories and concerns or on an existing piece. Shared authorship. With artist/s still taking final directive/artistic decisions.
Workshops that may focus on collecting material. Performance.Artist/s share skills dependant often on whether participants are engaged in the final performance.
Skills workshops. Performance. Artist/s share skills towards participants making the performance.
Celebration/Fun Skills Development Own or others attitudinal or behavioural change Improved Health and Well-being Community Development Economic Impact Political Activism
Celebration/Fun Skills Development Own or others attitudinal or behavioural change Improved Health and Well-being Community Development Economic Impact Political Activism
Participants assist artist/s’ in realising their vision. Honours participants’ input. Often a greater focus on professional artist/s intended outcomes.
More inclusive artistic practice driven by artist/s. Participants input is central. Strong focus on professional artist/s’ input into creative outcomes.
Traditional/less traditional spaces
Traditional/less traditional spaces
Theatre /dance/drawing on stories /lives of a particular group but performed by professionals. Opera where participants are trained supernumeraries. Community choirs mainly performing music selected for them.
Choirs drawing on participants’ own musical cultures. Theatre /opera/dance working with themes identified by participants who may also perform. Professionals and non-professionals working together.
’Get down and party together!’
Power is delegated to the participants as they take growing control of the artistic creation through the creative process.
Participants instigate and realise their own creative idea. They are the directors/ curators of the piece. Where professional artist/s involved is their decision. Participants. Other partners from social contexts.
Professional artists and non-professional participants. Other partners from social contexts. More likely to be ‘inventive’ (or devised) piece of work. Shared authorship – with equal value being given to participants’ input. Shared decision-making.
Most likely to be ‘inventive’ (or devised) piece of work created by the group. Often process driven. Authorship lies totally with participants.
Skills workshops. Performance. Artist’s share skills. Participants share skills.
Skills sharing. Performance.
Celebration/Fun Skills Development and exchange Own or others attitudinal or behavioural change Improved Health and Well-being Community Development Economic Impact Political Activism
Celebration/Fun Skills Development and exchange Own or others attitudinal or behavioural change Improved Health and Well-being Community Development Economic Impact Political Activism
More inclusive artistic practice driven by participants. Equal focus on shared artistic development. Shared artistic vision.
Less traditional spaces
Participants as artists engaged in creative process. Participation is both the process and the product. Shared artistic vision. May employ professional artist/s to help them realise final product. Less traditional spaces
Theatre /opera/dance in which the issues/concerns of participants are what drives the work. Professionals and non-professionals working together but non-professionals may have increasing input as skills developed over time.
Dance, bands, orchestras, choirs, theatre -performances led by the needs of a particular community to express themselves creatively.
’Participation is like a verb; it can be declined and conjugated. It can be plural, singular, set in time, be gender influenced, and have a voice, an aspect and a mood. Participation, like a verb, is all about action.’
IF ARTISTS AND ARTS institutions are to work on pro-
jects that respond to and reflect the complex realities of our society, whilst also challenging its expectations and prejudices, it is important these issues are explored within arts education. Working with communities on a more dialogic or relational basis requires other skills than just being competent in one’s art form. It requires an understanding of the ethical questions surrounding such work, a comprehension of the nature of cultural hegemony in increasingly diverse societies. It relies on the ability of the artist to shift easily between the role of catalyst, facilitator and fellow learner: becoming a practitioner who is skilled in reflecting in what Schön identifies as ”in-practice” or ”on-practice”? (Schön 1983) It also depends, increasingly, on the ability of the artist to plan, develop and realise a project from beginning to end.
of Western culture. Since Duchamp, Pirandello, Beckett, Brecht and more recently Suzanne Lacey and Leslie Labowitz, moved the spotlight on to the roles and relationships of artist(s) and audience(s), the characterisation of the audience as a passive invisible presence and of the cultural practitioners, agents, curators and editors as the absolute gatekeepers of culture, has been questioned through practice and critical discourse. THROUGHOUT THE 20TH century and continuing to
the present, a more self-conscious and reflexive approach to practice, that addresses the power structures and complexities of production and consumption of culture, has run alongside practices that reinforce the notion of culture as an exclusive activity resulting in commodities that speak as much of power and status as they do of artistic content. Indeed, artists have moved between types of practice and in some cases have retrospectively changed the attribution of their work and their approach to participation and institutional critique.
Good practice does exist and it is important to share it
Developing successful participatory projects needs arts institutions that have the openness to engage with activities that take place outside traditional spaces, or challenge their own space from within. For many this will mean embracing organisational change: revisiting their relationship with the communities in which they find themselves and beginning to find ways to reflect these different histories and life experiences. It also requires curators and managers who understand some of the barriers to cultural engagement currently faced by these communities and the flexibility to respond to them through imaginative and creative programming. It is no longer acceptable for institutions with public funding to find their audience amongst a more privileged elite.
TimeCase has already looked at and tested the role of peer coaching, and identified the skills and competencies that need developing to take on the challenge of participatory practice by those working in cultural institutions. Good practice does exist and it is important to share it. But the project has highlighted the need to re-think the educational context: not only in terms of new curricula but also in terms of developing different pedagogies. The question of attribution and authorship is deeply embedded in the Western tradition, despite evidence that the reality of artistic production is often more complex than history has suggested. The idea of the single (usually male) unique artistic vision is central to the narrative
Contemporary practitioners embark upon a lifelong commitment to engage in learning, research and the situating of their work in relation to such questions of intention and authorship. Collaborative and participatory approaches bring practitioners and audiences closer together so that in some cases the difference between them becomes indistinguishable and as we have seen in the examples, old hierarchies of cultural production can be turned on their head. With the self-conscious awareness of our own roles as maker/reader/audience/gallery visitor/performer we step away from traditional roles and learn to live with the unpredictable, the contingent, to be challenged, to take on new responsibilities and new relationships with culture and our own histories. If artists emerging from our art schools and arts universities are to understand their responsibilities as both practitioners and participants and to feel confident in creating safe spaces for non-professional artists to engage with artistic practice they need to have the experience of learning in more collaborative and co-operative settings. Critical understanding of art theory and practice may need to be supported by experiential exploration of critical pedagogy: engagement with cultural hegemony
’The fact that we use three languages is really important. It allows us to think in three languages and therefore express our thoughts in an exact manner’
Peer coaching session in Paris to move beyond a theoretical introduction to Gramsci to exploring its implications in terms of working creatively on cultural identity. Artist learners need to see these more emancipatory educational practices modelled in their own classrooms if Rancière’s faith in the potential for arts and culture to create a “new community between human beings” is to be realised.
From TimeCase towards The Academy of Participation
By giving emerging artists and those who will eventually be running our cultural institutions an introduction to the principles and ethics of participatory practice within their initial, or post-graduate training, we believe arts schools and arts universities can make a real contribution to creating a society that embraces and celebrates cultural diversity. In terms of informal education, participatory practice also offers opportunities for the arts to offer new models for learning. By drawing on the research from its first stage, TimeCase intends to work towards developing an Academy of Participation
Photo: Goethe-Institut Paris
that will support the principles and ethos of participatory practice being more fully integrated into Higher Arts Education. Beginning to create a framework or spectrum within which the practice can be described and understood is one of the first steps in enabling this re-thinking. The term Academy references authorities and leaders in a field of scholarship. In the Academy students might work ‘under’ an established expert. This expert traditionally selected their students based on their own criteria, often the relationship of the students’ work with their own. This historical model of the Academy pivots upon the hierarchical relationship between the master and their apprentices/followers with knowledge ‘handed down’. The TimeCase proposal for an Academy of Participation embraces the apparent contradiction of the relationship between ’academy’ and ’participation’ and reinvents the Academy as a shared platform from which discussion and debate about participation can be interrogated through practice and intensive dialogue. The
’Les quatre jours étaient très instructifs. Le travail d’équipe et la persévérance. C’était agréable qu’on nous laisse faire notre truc et qu’on soit indépendants. La confiance mutuelle était agréable’
Academy will share, propose and test conceptual and practical tools to support the very particular challenges faced by participatory practices while opening up and exploring new areas of enquiry.
About the authors:
Tamiko O´Brien has shown her collaborative artwork (Dunhill and O’Brien) internationally and also worked on pedagogic projects including the ‘Tuning Document for Fine ACADEMY OF PARTICIPATION recognises that participa- Art Higher Education in Europe’. She is currently Associate tory practice is a discipline in its own right, with its own Professor at the Sir John Cass, taking up the post of Principal histories, key practitioners and practical and concep- at City and Guilds London Art School in 2014. tual concerns. Where arts courses may consider some ‘professional practice’ skills related to participation, the Academy investigates participation from the other end of the telescope, considering practice from the participant’s perspective as well as that of the practitioners. Rather than skimming through ‘how to’ skills of project management, deeper questions about what it means to share practice and research and how to build trust are critically examined and tested.
Recognising that practitioners may come to participatory practice at different stages in their careers, the Academy of Participation is conceived as a cross-border non-hierarchical learning community whose principal aims are to develop cross-sectoral and cross-disciplinary sharing of practice and methodology in this growing and important field. The Academy will explore the questions to be considered at the outset of any participatory project, and how they can be re-examined throughout the process. It will enable practitioners to establish their own approaches to ethics, responsibility and codes of practice. The social histories of Europe and the challenges we face across the historical disciplines of cultural practice will form the context for the Academy. TimeCase will highlight ways in which governments have sought to mobilise culture and the instrumental nature of funding policies in the development of practice, where specific types of participation have been encouraged. The Academy aims to provide the necessary tools and access to knowledge to support practitioners and participants to face these critical challenges, to create inventive and inclusive forms of practice, to bear witness and to offer decision makers creative and inclusive approaches and solutions.
Lars Ebert is the programme co-coordinator of the cultural centre Castrum Peregrini in Amsterdam, senior advisor to The European League of Institutes of the Arts and co-ordinator of EQ-Arts. He holds a degree in theology. Lars develops projects and engages in initiatives addressing the integration of a culturally diverse Europe. Chrissie Tiller works internationally as a creative facilitator, writer and teacher, alongside her role as Director of the MA in Participatory and Community Arts at Goldsmiths, London University. Recent writing on participatory arts includes the Artworks guide to International Participatory Practice, Training the Reflective Practitioner and Participatory Performing Arts: creating a typology.
Case studies mentioned in the text: I Am Here I Am Here is a public art work generated from within an increasingly transformed residential area in Hackney, East London. The participants replaced 67 orange boards that the council erected with large scale photographic portraits of the residents. The aim of the project is to humanize the estate which was dehumanized by the council by making estates look abandoned while people still live in it. The complete case study on: http://timecase.org/case/i-am-here South London Black Music Archive The exhibition by artist Barby Asante aims to celebrate South Londoners’ personal relationships with moments in black music history. The McAulay Gallery was transformed into an ‘open archive’, mapping objects which represent and explore the personal stories behind the influence and evolution of black music in South London and welcoming contributions from the public. The complete case study on: http://timecase.org/case/south-london-black-music-archive ACERT / Burning Factory A very ancient pagan Easter tradition in Tondela, Portugal, was the burning of Judas. The cultural association ACERT transformed this tradition into a performance created by the local community. This event is an intense participatory process including more than 200 people each year. The complete case study on: http://timecase.org/case/burning-factory Museum of Genocide Victims The Museum of Genocide Victims was established in the former KGB building. For the Lithuanian nation, this building is a powerful symbol of the 50-year-long Soviet occupation. It now became a place of openness and exchange, of participation and interaction. The complete case study on: http:// timecase.org/case/museum-genocide-victims
1. Keaney, E. (2006) From Access to Participation: Culture, Participation and Civil Renewal. IPPR North 2 See Zygmunt Bauman, Culture in a Liquid Modern World, Polity Press, 2011 3. http://www.timecase.org 4. Arnstein, S.R. A Ladder of Citizen Participation, Journal of the American Planning Association, Vol. 35, No. 4, July 1969 5. Meissen, M. The Nightmare of Participation, Sternberg Press, 2010 6. Bishop, C. The Social Turn: Collaboration and Its Discon tents, Artforum International, vol.44 no.6, pp.178-183 7. Kester, G., The One and the Many, Duke University Press. 2011 8. Bourriaud, Nicolas. Relational Aesthetics. Dijon: Les presses du réel, 2002. 9. Rancière, J. , Aesthetics and its Discontents, Cambridge: Polity. 2009 10. http://www.iamhere.org.uk/ 11. http://www.peckhamplatform.com/whats-on/exhibitions/ south-london-black-music-archive 12. http://www.acert.pt/ 13. http://www.genocid.lt/muziejus/ 14. S. Brown. A., L. Novak-Leonard, J. L. (2011) Getting in on the act: How Groups are Creating Opportunities for Active Participation, James Irvine Foundation, Wolf Brown: Focus http://irvine.org/images/stories/pdf/grant making/Getting-in-on-the-act-2011OCT19.pdf Accessed Nov 2013 15. Helguera, P. (2011) Education for Socially Engaged Art, A Materials and Techniques Handbook. New York: Jorge Pinto Books 16. http://www.gulbenkian.org.uk/files/19-02-14-Participato ry%20Performing%20Arts%20%20Towards%20a%20 Typology%20-%20Chrissie%20Tiller.pdf 17. http://operamachine.com/ 18. http://www.castrumperegrini.org 19. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quinsy_Gario 20. http://castrumperegrini.org/art-in-hiding-art-in-crisis 21. http://n8messagesofhope.tumblr.com/ 22. Schön, D. (1983) The Reflective Practitioner. How pro fessionals think in action, London: Temple Smith 23. http://www.reactfeminism.org/entry.php?l=lb&id=94&e 24. for example Mark Boyle and the Boyle Family, Christo and Jean Claude, Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, Ed Kienholz and Nancy Reddin 25. Gramsci, Antonio (1992). Buttigieg, Joseph A, ed. Prison Notebooks. New York City: Columbia University Press 26. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platonic_Academy
Opera Machine Public presentation of a new opera that takes Puccini’s Madame Butterfly as its staring point. The opera was premiered at the old Limehouse Town Hall a large disused building with the audience sat very close to the performers. The cast included an asylum seeker chorus. The complete case study on: http://timecase.org/case/opera-machine
Personal reflection: Pernilla Luttropp Exploring power through Open Space Technology My name is Pernilla Luttropp and I work with leadership and organization development. I work with people, groups and organizations who have the courage and awareness to make a change. I work with those who want to contribute to a more equal world. I believe that personal development is an important part of that work. I believe that organisations need to be sustainable and foster healthy relations. When I facilitated a workshop with the TimeCase partners we started to talk about power relationships in collaborative art practice. One way to think about power is that you can’t give it away - power must be taken. Power could also be understood as a verb, not as a noun. It’s something we do together, in our relations. It can shift and it can take many forms. And the only way to deal with it is to talk about it, so that there is awareness in the group of what is going on. Yet another way to talk about power is to look at engagement and responsibility in a community or collaboration. What are people prepared to take responsibility for when given the opportunity? One way to find out is by using Open Space Technology (OST). It enables a truly shared process towards an unpredictable outcome. It’s about “taking responsibility for the things you love as an act of service” as Peggy Holman put it. So here are some resources to get familiar with the technology and the ways it can be used.” Open Space Technology is a form developed to support groups to self-organise and collaborate around any question of shared concern. It gives all participants the chance to propose a starting point for discussion, take part in any of the conversations and move on to another if needed. It is particularly effective in dealing
with complex issues where diverse and conflicting views are present. Over the last 25 years OST has been used across the world in an incredible range of contexts: to design aeroplane doors, resolve land disputes and address economic, environmental, social, political and artistic issues of every kind. Groups of six and of six hundred have used it with equal success. Harrison Owen said about OST ”In 1985 Open Space was born. It emerged not so much as a product of inten-
’Art no longer wants to respond to the excess of commodities and signs, but to a lack of connections.’
tional design, but rather as an outgrowth of frustration and at some level…laziness. The frustration appeared as a result of my having spent an entire year organising an international gathering for 250 people, only to discover that the best part, as judged by myself and all the participants, were the coffee breaks. It was during the coffee breaks where the real juicy stuff happened. All the rest (featured speakers, panel discussions and the like) seemed almost an interruption to the core activity.” There are five principles that describe what happen in Open Space Technology: 1. Whoever comes are the right people. 2. Wherever it happens is the right place. 3. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have. 4. Whenever it starts is the right time. 5. When it is over, it is over.
Some videos worth watching: Video from Devoted and Disgruntled on what OST is (30 min) http://vimeo.com/m/75226991 Short video showing the flow of the process, no speech (2 min) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTEO9CQe7Mw Talk by Harrison Owen on “Dancing with Shiva” (14 min) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APD7oQ3xrSA Owen, Harrison (2008). Open Space Technology: A User’s Guide (3rd ed.). Berrett-Koehler. The rest is practice and keeping the space open within yourself.
The one law of Open Space is The law of two feet or The law of mobility. If at any time you find yourself in any situation where you are neither learning nor contributing use your two feet to take yourself where your time will be better spent – only you know where this is. During an Open Space you might see ”bumble bees” going from group to group spreading and connecting ideas, or ”butterflies” hanging out at the coffee stall or random places doing very little except having great conversations. All this collective activity adds up to a system of self-organisation that is highly creative and effective at dealing with real issues in a remarkably efficient way. Another quote by Harrison Owen: “Beyond these two particulars, passion and responsibility, the critical thing for me is the presence of what I have come to understand as the essential preconditions for Open Space. 1. A real business issue that people really care about. 2. High levels of diversity in terms of points of view, people and groups. 3. Serious complexity in terms of the issue, its causes and ramifications. 4. Obvious passion and conflict – People really care. 5. A clear sense of urgency – Something needs to be done NOW. And last – but really first and foremost – that participation is a matter of voluntary self-selection.
’Participatory practice enables significant connections within communities through shared values and assists their inclusion in the larger social and cultural exchange.’
Methods for participation: practice By Hannah Kabel and Cécile Tschirhart
One of the biggest challenges in participative activities and events is the fact that they bring together a wide range of participants who may or may not know each other. Even if they are familiar with each other in a professional or social context, they may have never been in a situation where their feelings, emotions, fears, ambitions, and dreams are exposed to themselves and to the world. Participative activities and events therefore demand that a significant amount of time is spent on ice-breakers and other methods to engage participants with the event, with each other, and with themselves. What follows are examples of methods used in TimeCase, with comments, applications and reflections. These methods can be applied and adapted to a wide range of projects (art, commercial, educational), a wide range of audiences (fully abled, disabled, genders, ages) and disciplines (business, teaching, social).
Type: Ice-breaker Aims: Building self-confidence, getting to know oneself and each other, negotiating with self and others Skills required: Spoken language, mobility (can be adapted for less able participants) Number: 8-30 participants Line up is a method to quickly and dynamically get to know all participants in your group with regards to some specific issues. It can be used for groups from eight to up to thirty persons. The facilitator frames an issue and asks the participants to position themselves anywhere along this continuum according to their perceived closeness to one of the two opposite extremes of it – with or without talking to each other. Once everybody is still in the chosen position, the facilitator can pick some comments from participants and optionally ask the participant to reposition themselves after having heard the comments, to check whether they’ve changed their mind.
The issues can be size, distance from the meeting point, eye colour, warmth of hands, openness to art and participation etc.
There are several advantages to using this method in an educational context (see case study peer-coaching Goethe-Institute Paris): • it is physically active, everyone moves, thus removing traditional physical barriers (teacher standing/students sitting); • it breaks the power relationship between people as there is no right or wrong, only decisions; • it allows people to negotiate and agree at different levels (opinions, touch, looks etc.) and therefore acts as a social leveller – everyone can do it; • it is an equalizer and empowering method as participants can place themselves anywhere along the line depending on the issue.
’J’ai aimé le partage entre nous et le public et les échanges linguistiques et culturels’
and pedagogical considerations About the authors:
Hannah Kabel works as a project manager and coordinated a large number of intercultural artistic projects, in particular in the performing arts, in Europe and Egypt. Her interests are in intercultural exchange and participatory artistic learning approaches. Currently, she works as programme co-ordinator at Goethe-Institut Paris where she is responsible for its theatre programme as well as the European project TimeCase. Cécile Tschirhart is Head of Learning and Teaching at The Cass, School of Art, Design and Architecture, London. Her interests are in pedagogy and participative learning approaches in Education. She has published several teaching manuals and online materials for a range of learners. She is a National and Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
(E.g. At the front for colour of the eyes, back for warmth of hands, middle for opinions etc.); • it allows participants to engage in trust-building activities in a friendly and safe context (warmth of hands and colour of the eyes being the two activities that will engender personal connections); • it is non-threatening and can be fun. It deals with the removal or diminishing of fear which is one of the main impediments to acquisition in an educational context; • it allows the facilitator to observe and assess the individual needs of participants in a short and intensive manner; • it allows participants to focus on listening to each other without interruption or judgment.
Obviously, when planning such an activity the facilitator will need to assess whether all participants are physically or emotionally able to take part in all activities. It is therefore recommended that a safe area or safe sign for those who wish to ‘escape’ the line is created by the facilitator. This Line-up method was used by Chrissie Tiller during the peer coaching training for TimeCase partners in Tondela and by Cécile Tschirhart (The Cass) with a group of young people (16-18 years old) during the peer coaching event “Memorials in Progress” in Paris with the aim of introducing different and unusual teaching and learning methodologies to a group of young learners accustomed to working in a traditional educational context. The outcomes of the project and the extremely positive feedback from participants confirmed the intended aims of the project.
’Merci pour votre bonne humeur, pour votre accueil et pour votre enthousiasme à chacune de nos idées’
Type: Ice-breaker Pedagogical considerations Aims: Presenting oneself in a creative way, getting The advantages of using this method relate to the fact that: to know each other • participants can be as creative as they wish; Skills required: Spoken language, creative and lateral thinking • they can describe themselves in many ways and can be as detailed as they wish to be; Number: 4-12 participants In this exercise, all participants are sitting in a circle. The facilitator starts introducing her or himself by extracting an object from his/her handbag, explaining the relationship he or she has with it and why she/he chose it. One after another, all participants introduce themselves via a personal object. This is a more demanding exercise for participants as it requires individuals to talk to the whole group. It can be adapted to pairs or small groups (3 or 4 people) if the facilitator feels that the audience lacks confidence. This exercise allows participants to talk about themselves: • through an object (e.g. ‘this lipstick is my chosen object because it is bold and red. In my life I sometimes have to be brave and bold and the lipstick brings me the confidence to do so’.); • as the object (e.g. ‘I am Céciles lipstick and I know that she is quite organised so I always end up in the front pocket of her bag. I also know that she can be vulnerable in some situations and that is when I come to life and give her the strength that she needs’).
• this is also a non-threatening way of getting people to know you; • you can reveal as much or as little as you wish; • the object described or used as a prompt also becomes an actor in the activity and acts as a ‘protector’ or filter for its owner. As an extension to this exercise, participants could ask questions about each other through the chosen object and the object could decide not to answer them if they were too personal. This method is most effective with a group of confident and potentially artistic participants. This method was successfully used in the peer coaching training for TimeCase partners at the beginning of the TimeCase project to get all participants to be introduced to participatory activities as well as introducing each other.
One, Two, Three... and again Type: Empowerment Aims: Team building, listening to each other, guessing and feeling intentions Skills required: Listening skills, patience, determination, focus Number: 8-20 participants The aim of the exercise is for the group to count up to
20 without interrupting each other. Participants form a circle, close their eyes and don’t communicate. Individual participants call out a number at any time as long as no one speaks at the same time. (E.g. participant A calls out ‘1’, participant B calls out ‘2’, participant C calls out ‘3’. If participants D and E call out ‘4’ at the same time, then the whole group has to start again from the beginning until they reach 20 without interruptions or overlaps.)
Type: Ice-breaker Aims: Respecting silence and each other, investigating stereotypes and first impressions, developing self-awareness and non-verbal communication, being aware of perceptions Skills required: Spoken language, ability to notice details about others, creative thinking, respectful language Number: 4-30 participants The facilitator divides the group into pairs (participants that do not already know each other very well) and asks them to spend three minutes together without talking. They can just sit next to or opposite someone. After three minutes, all participants are asked to answer questions about the peer they spent the three minutes with and to present them to the peer: What kind of music does she/he like? What sort of holidays would she/he go on if money didn’t matter? What does she/he really enjoy about her/his work? What could she/he do instead of her actual job? What would the one person never guess about the other? Etc. In a last step, peers present their answers to each other and discuss them. Depending on the amount of confidence in a group, the answers can be presented to the whole group or just to the pair.
uage, sensitivity about others’ feelings etc.) The timings can also be reduced but one of the key elements to this exercise is the period of silence which participants need to learn to manage. Note that it may be really uncomfortable or even rude in some cultures to be silent for such an amount of time. The facilitator needs to ensure the questions are sensitive and relevant to the purpose of the exercise. It is important that the exercise is followed up by a wider discussion about the impact of self-reflection through silence, perceptions and stereotypes and the impact of non-verbal communication. This exercise can be adapted to deal with more personal experiences in a therapeutic context with clear ethical guidelines. This method was successfully used in the peer coaching training for TimeCase partners at the beginning of the TimeCase project to get all participants to know each other better and during the peer coaching event “Memorials in Progress” with an intercultural group of young people (16-18 years old) to develop non-verbal communication.
This method can be used as an ice-breaker as well as a way to investigate issues of power, stereotypes and cultural differences. It needs to be managed very carefully and possibly with a set of agreed rules (use of inclusive lang-
In this exercise, participants explore turn-taking, initiative and group responsibility. There is no room for individual blame as the whole group is responsible for the achievement of the task. In some cases, enthusiastic individuals will learn to self-regulate their initiative. This exercise could also be adapted by asking participants to call out one number only. Letters, alphabet, and foreign language counting could also be used to achieve a similar end.
This method was successfully used in the peer coaching training for TimeCase partners at the beginning of the TimeCase project.
Pass the puppet
racteristics, etc. The puppet show is then presented to
The facilitator provides paper, pencils, glue, and other materials for the purpose of engaging in a creative activity.
This is a fun method to learn about team work and handing over power. This exercise is particularly focused on introducing the notions of participation, sharing and empowerment.
Type: Empowerment the whole group. The workshop closes with a reflection Aims: Building together, handing over power and about how it felt to pass on the puppet or hand-over the puppet and what participants feel about their final pupsharing work, performing creatively together pet presentation/performance. Skills required: Drawing and cutting, creative thinking, verbal skills Pedagogical considerations Number: 8-12 participants
Participants are sitting in a circle. The facilitator asks them to each create a puppet made out of only one piece of paper. After five minutes, the participants have to hand it over to their neighbour on the right who has to create an outfit to dress the puppet, made out of the material provided by the facilitator. Five minutes later, the puppets again have to be handed over to the neighbour on the right who is asked to add something to make the puppet special. In the next round, another participant has to give a name to the puppet. The participants are asked to identify and write down two characteristics for the puppet they are holding – what does it like? What doesn’t it like? In a final step, the facilitator divides the participants in groups of three and asks them to create in ten minutes a participatory presentation (play, film) with their puppets, taking into consideration its outfit and its cha-
It allows participants: • to be creative with their hands; • to engage in a ludic activity; • to share fun and ideas with peers. For this exercise to be fully effective, the individual steps of the activity (cutting out/passing on/dressing up/characterising/acting-out) need to be revealed one at a time. Participants must not be aware of the ultimate purpose of the exercise. This method was applied by Chrissie Tiller to the peer coaching training at the beginning of the TimeCase project to introduce the TimeCase partners to the idea of participation – and possible difficulties that can occur while handing over power and sharing work.
Peer coaching training in Tondela 34
Personal reflection: Sjoerd Wagenaar Dig where you stand Sjoerd Wagenaar is artistic director at PeerGrouP. The company was founded in 2000 and is based in the North of the Netherlands, in a rural area. The work of PeerGrouP can be described as site- and community specific in a socially engaged manner. A field, a farm or a whole village can be their performance site. Every site and every location has a history and specific features. The first focus lays on the people who ‘own’ the environment. These people are the key to the specific stories, the conflicts, the knowledge, the economical situation, the celebrations and ceremonies. “With every new project, PeerGrouP starts off as an outsider. We are strangers, with strange intentions: “Theatre, art… that doesn’t belong here, does it?” Over the years, PeerGrouP has developed a special approach to bridge this gap: Integrate and infiltrate. In this approach we are working on a site and trying to find a (temporary) place in the community. By making use of the local artistic skills and fascinations, curiosity awakens. This is a starting point: from curiosity grows complicity and from complicity a desire to cooperate might emerge. Our fascinations are often not ‘theatrical’ in an obvious way. We are fascinated by rural topics as agriculture, landscape, food quality, shrinking populations. Topics like these require a different kind of research for finding the stories which have a ‘theatrical’ quality. Therefore, PeerGrouP does research on people with a variety of professions. Sometimes they even learn the specific skills of those professions. For example: foresters, scientists, farmers or cooks. Local people and their skills also get involved as participants during the production process and in the final performance. Working in this participative manner, the members of PeerGrouP continuously keep confronting themselves with the reality of their subjects, trying to find the ‘true’ stories. We have experienced that participatory processes are
slow processes that need time. This way of working asks for a different mentality, another way of working for the artists and it definitely differs from the autonomous stance. It needs a genuine interest in the life, experience, and knowledge of the other. The process of creating a performance becomes as important as the final show. In our vision the participative process is the result. We keep learning and developing new site- or community specific (artistic) methods to work with. But our vision is not always appreciated. When I noted during a debate with representatives of Higher Arts Education that the production process with participants is as important for me as is the outcome of the process, his remark was purposefully denigrated in the report of the discussion. PeerGrouP is funded by public bodies that handle dated criteria. Apart from the high artistic standard it mainly looks at quantity: how big is the audience, the number of performances and the percentage of generated income in relation to the subsidy. Luckily these criteria will be scrutinized with the goal to review how it could be possible to map the societal and socioeconomic value of a company. This means a much more sustainable approach reflecting our motto: “It is easy to fascinate, but it is the challenge to hold on to the fascination as long as possible.”
Teachers and pupils
Type: Empowerment Aims: Developing listening and observational skills, dealing with new ideas and new ways of doing things, presentation skills Skills required: Clear verbal skills, organisation, sequential thinking Number: 8-30 participants The facilitator divides the participants into pairs. Each partner in a pair teaches a skill to his/her peer (and vice versa) with the idea of making the pupil better at it than himself/herself. Each ‘teacher’ has 10 minutes to teach his/her ‘pupil’. At the end of the process, the skills learned are presented to the whole group by the ‘pupil’.
The advantages of this exercise are manifold. By becoming a ‘teacher’ one instinctively adapts and breaks down the skill, leading to a better understanding of the processes involved in acquiring such a skill. The ‘pupils’ are required to learn something new and unknown and through this process re-evaluate their ability to acquire new information. In terms of communication, the ‘teachers’ are expected to explain complex skills in an approachable manner, giving examples, illustrating, demonstrating, re-wording, etc. Meanwhile, the ‘pupils’ concentrate on acquiring the new skill using their own learning techniques (mnemonics, visuals, etc.) or using new techniques presented by the ‘teacher’. This method underlines the fact that: • we can all teach and learn something new to and from someone; • prior knowledge can be useful; • there are many ways to teach and learn; • the best way to know that you know something is by teaching it to someone else. This method was successfully used in the peer coaching training at the beginning of the TimeCase project to introduce the TimeCase partners to the idea of peer coaching.
Type: Empowerment Aims: Listening to others’ point of view, summarizing and expanding ideas, planning ahead Skills required: Understanding of concepts about participatory projects Number: From eight participants The World Café method takes between 45 minutes and three hours. Within the workshop, a café ambience is created: The participants are sitting in one room around café tables with four to eight persons each, discussing only one issue. The tables are prepared with flipchart papers and coloured pens. Each table has a host who stays at that table. Regularly, (every 15-30 minutes), the participants move to a new café table. The host welcomes the new table guests and gives a summary of the previous conversation. The main ideas of each café table are then summarized on the flipchart paper and discussed in a plenary session. This can be followed up by an action plan.
This creative workshop methodology can be used for larger groups with more than 12 persons. It is very effective if you are working within an inhomogeneous group of participants about a common project. It helps to share knowledge and ideas, to generate input of all participants, and to create an agile conversation about different issues, within a diverse group. The advantages of this exercise are that each table has a different dynamic, a different leader, and a different issue to discuss. This has for effect that even the shyest participants can contribute to the discussion, that the issue is discussed though a wide range of points of view and angles. It is a very inclusive way to discuss an issue. The World Café method was used several times during the TimeCase activities – for example by TimeCase partners Katharina Scriba and Hannah Kabel (Goethe-Institut Paris) during the peer coaching event on post-communist memories in Bucharest – as a suitable means to share and generate knowledge and ideas and to facilitate a collaborative dialogue, especially at the beginning of a participatory process.
’Diese Woche war für mich und für die ganze Gruppe eine ganz besondere Erfahrung.’
The bin value Type: Empowerment Aims: Making decisions and negotiating, reflecting on consequences, presentation skills Skills required: Understanding of concepts about participatory projects Number: 8-20 participants The facilitator asks each participant to write down five values related to participation (five minutes). Each value is written on a different piece of paper. The participants are then asked to sit down in a circle around a rubbish bin. They then throw away their values in to the bin, one by one starting with the value that seems to be the least important to them, until they are left with only one value each. All participants are asked to read out their last participatory value in turn. The facilitator then divides the participants into groups of three and asks them to create in 45 minutes a one minute participatory project dealing with one or several of the values identified in the beginning. Finally, the one minute participatory projects are presented to the whole group before being evaluated in relation to the values they represented.
ticipation and allows participants to develop their first ideas on participatory projects. The activity can be applied to any context where participants are required to define key issues and to make choices (E.g. change management, restructuring, community projects, etc.). It is a demanding method which requires participants to be familiar and confident with the subject discussed. Participants are required to make choices and decisions and to live with them through performing or applying the values they have chosen to keep. The final evaluation phase of the exercise should allow participants to reflect on the entire process: why they chose the value, how they made the choice, what they feel about the loss of the values, what are the consequences of their choice, etc. The creative aspect of the performance has for effect to learn to rebuild when you have lost (the values). It allows participants to be creative in possibly regaining what has been lost in the bin. This method proposed by Chrissie Tiller was successfully used in the peer coaching training at the beginning of the TimeCase project to introduce a deeper discussion about the idea of participation.
This method is aimed at clarifying the purpose of par-
Peer coaching session in Bucharest
’C’est agréable de créer quelque chose et d’en voir l’aboutissement’
Photo: Roxana Trestioreanu
Power Workshop Type: Empowerment Aims: Building together, handing over power and sharing work, performing creatively Skills required: Understanding of concepts about participatory projects Number: 16-24 participants In a random fashion participants are divided up into 4 groups of 4 to 6 people. Once the groups are formed, each group is assigned a subject to be discussed and group members are given predetermined characters. There are 1 or 2 groups without a pre-determined subject. Each participant formulates an identity for his/her character. This involves filling out a form, giving a name, describing dreams, nightmares, family situation and profession. Three different types of roles can be identified: ‘participants’, ‘journalists’ and ‘facilitators’. ‘Participants’ are those who will carry out the activities developed in the workshop after the creation of the stories and studies made of them. In terms of diagnostic model these represent the wider population. ‘Journalists’ will interpret the process of constructing the stories and record the interaction between the people as well as the story that is unfolding. His/her role can be seen as one of investigator. It can be beneficial if the ‘journalist’ has already made contact with the participants of the workshop in a similar situation. This would be seen as essential if this model is to be used as a diagnostic process along with the use of practitioners of partner organisations who already have contact with populations. Each group has a `facilitator` whose role is to help draw up the diagram of relationships and to or-
ganise the sequence of photographs making up the final story that has been created. Each group meets separately and creates links in the relationships between the characters, these are drawn up onto paper by the facilitator, highlighting names and the relationships between the characters. Each group creates a photo story around the subject allocated to them. The photo stories are presented by a ‘journalist’ in the group. Starting with the introduction to the characters (1 photo per character). The groups then discuss the stories presented by the different groups. The facilitator launches the discussion based on one of the questions that was identified. Space and freedom is given to participants to develop their arguments. The facilitators must also allow room for creative freedom of participants throughout the whole process and should prompt the debate in order to guarantee further work.
This is a specialized and advanced workshop specifically aimed at actors and facilitators in a participatory Art event. It is a complex and multilayered activity that will require a high level of organisation on behalf of the facilitator. This method was used by TimeCase partner Miguel Torres (ACERT) during the peer coaching event in Amsterdam to motivate different stakeholders of Castrum Peregrini to think about a sustainable future of the foundation.
Personal reflection: Miguel Torres Power relations in participatory practices
Miguel Torres works at ACERT, a cultural and educational centre in Tondela, Portugal, one of the partners in the TimeCase project. Asked about himself, he gives us an answer that is telling about his personality: “I am two things. Do I start with the first or the second? Because if I start with the second it will be the first, and the first will be the second, so… Cultural manager, first! Citizen, second (but it should be first), actually a preoccupied citizen, with some tools of cultural manager. You’ll find a little bit more here. Don’t take me too seriously! You know, in serious times we have to find time to joke a little bit or else we risk becoming disordered…” You want to know more about power-relations in participatory projects? This is very serious. The question of power is about who has it, and how to practice it. And most importantly is how we consider ourselves the ”example of democracy in societies” and are able to share this power that we also have in our own organisations. The question of sharing power is about the ability to share and lose. You cannot share without losing part of what you have, and if you are talking about power the question of who plays a role is completely different. It is not about power, is about the ability to participate.
Thinking of the neuralgic points of a collaborative creative process between communities or targeted audiences, organisations and artist/curators the bottlenecks are certainly building up of confidence, sharing, and the feeling that the most important is not you or your project but the result of what you do for your community, audience, etc. The collaborative (actually I prefer cooperative) process is about putting the common interests at a higher level. If I had to give advice to others about participatory projects and the question of power I don’t think that there is a formula. There are only principles. For instance, getting everyone on the same level of information; or the principle of democracy, and the awareness that we are managing a common good. I look for instance at my own organisation ACERT as a common good. Now more than ever there is a need to build communities around a common goal addressing those who have the power to decide our common future, and telling them we have a choice! We want to shape our future! We want the power to participate in the common decisions. Participation is about motivation, about celebration, about common objectives, about showing that through culture you can have alternative ways for promoting local development.”
Paul the employee
dirk jan historian
Trees van het bos script writer willemijn Markteer
laurence game developer
5 If we empty this space, how on earth can we keep telling the story?
in between the kick studio visit...
Encouraged by the talks with his friend he decides to consult with a historian that know the story of Gisele. it is in the end a sensitive issue...
i have no idea. i need a break. let´s take a bath...
oh my god, a game, that can´t be serious. ..
Paul organizes a a game! that will do it!
with the entire project team. But the game developer is late ...
shi t, my sister this commercial bitch... noone told me that she was involved... let´s keep cool!
Paul decides to talk about his idea with his friend Trees the scriptwriter. she will know how this could work.
this notebook says it all
Let´s not quarrel and get real: i propose to go to the studio and choos
was is my retarded let-wing brother doing here...
interesting but complicated
you could have told me...
sooooo rrryyy, I had second level
you never listen!
do you think this group will manage?
you historic truths don´t sell! who will pay the bill for
of course they are all good in what they do!
come on guys let´s stick to the subject!
i don ´t care about the history and the money,- this is a game and
10 that is historically not accurate. we have to stick to the facts!
It is not about the objects it is about the space and the context
this communicates with the target group
this is the real gaming object!
it is really about the art!
Credits willemijn Anneke Jansen dirk jan - Alfred Marseille Trees van het bos Teresien da Silva Paul - Vincent van Velzen laurence Lars Ebert Workshop from - ACERT - Miguel Torres
Peer coaching session in Amsterdam Photo: ACERT 40
The “Four Corners” method can be used to evaluate a workshop or project. In a room, the four corners are prepared by the facilitator, one with a picture of a smiley face, one with a picture of a neutral face, the third one with a sad or disappointed face, and the last one with a question mark.
The facilitator prepares a list of statements or activities which have taken place during a given workshop/event (E.g. brain-storming session, drawing, writing, silent reflections etc.). Participants are asked to advise the facilitator to either “Keep that”, “Get rid of that” or do “More of that”. The questions can be around the effectiveness, challenge, validity or the fun aspect of activities.
Type: Feedback Aims: Evaluating events and actions, closing a session constructively, giving a voice to participants Skills required: Decision making, justifying one’s choices Number: 8-30 participants
The facilitator asks qualitative questions about the seminar/workshop and participants choose one corner according to their feeling about the statements. (E.g. ‘How effective was the Four corners exercise to gather feedback?’ Participants can be asked to justify their choice in one sentence.)
The facilitator should keep a record of the feedback given by participants and should also ‘close the loop’ after the activity by confirming or affirming what participants said. (E.g. I noted that most of you found the instructions in the first activity challenging. I will therefore look into making this easier next time).
Type: Feedback Aims: Evaluating events and actions, closing a session constructively, giving a voice to participants Skills required: Decision making, justifying one’s choices Number: 4-20 participants
In this exercise, participants need to be given very clear questions so that they can make meaningful decisions. The facilitator could also ask participants to justify their decision in one sentence only to keep the momentum of the exercise going. Here again, it is good practice for the facilitator to be sure to reassure participants that the feedback given is valuable and will be acted upon. This method proposed by Chrissie Tiller was successfully used in the peer coaching training at the beginning of the TimeCase project to evaluate working sessions in a constructive way.
This exercise should only last a few minutes and be really focused on the feelings of the participants. The questions should be around how participants felt about the various activities. One advantage of this quick feedback method is that it is a non-threatening way for participants to give feedback and to choose whether or not to explain their views. The facilitator must make sure to reassure participants that the feedback given is valuable and will be acted upon. To conclude the exercise, thanking participants for their valuable feedback is good practice. This method was successfully used during the peer coaching event “Memorials in Progress” in Paris with an intercultural group of young people (16-18 years old) to evaluate the four-day workshop.
Please read the personal reflection of Pernilla Luttropp for more informaiton about the Open Space Technology method.
Personal reflection: Soheila Najand Democracy, freedom and participation Soheila Najand – is a Dutch artist born in Teheran, Iran (1957). Art for her means awareness of human relationships on a personal level and in society.
Photo: Jila Najand
Asked about Participation and power Soheila Najand immediately elaborated on their link to local democracy: They seem to be magical words, sacred terms almost: freedom and democracy. But in themselves they are nothing more than some random, empty phrases. Only in relation to the human and its social dimension do they acquire content and meaning. The pursuit of freedom, to be free and to be able to act freely, has always been the motivation of man to progress. Especially now, with the manifold possibilities to experience individualism, this pursuit seems more than ever accomplished. As I will show to you, it will appear to be an illusion to find freedom in your own individual reality, if there are millions of links between you as an individual and the world of the others. Especially, if we shed light on freedom in a democra-
cy, we can see a totally different truth than what we as individuals think to experience. When we state that democracy represents the approval of the free will of a people and likeminded citizens, we address something that does not exist any longer. There is no basis in the current western European society for freedom and equality. Authorities are no longer the translation of the ideals of freedom and equality and do not serve through those ideals a united citizenship. We only know that citizens have and don’t want to have anything to do with one another. In the absence of a people and a community the role of the nation state and the authorities seems to be obsolete. As democracies we drowned in our own ideal of individual freedom and democratised the social isolation of these individuals. In parallel with the individualisation of ourselves we forgot to deconstruct in time our state built on togetherness and to replace it with a modern
’La partecipazione per me è stata una rivelazione, mi ha aperto strade che prima pensavo fossero ardue da percorrere’
state based on individualism, and to build respective authorities. Instead, we now have to deal with authorities that reform themselves above and around us and follow their own agenda. Whether that is a positive or a negative development is a different discussion. The whole structure of a state that is built on the notion of a nation, and parliamentary representation that is linked to political parties seems to be prehistoric fossils which have little to do with the realities of today. In the past decennia the citizen is more and more at a distance from the institutions that bind communities together such as churches and political parties that help identity formation. Even labour as one of the last means of binding people together will shortly not be able to fulfil this role any longer. Postmodernism is in that respect, the confirmation of the autonomy of the individual and the culmination of liberal individualism. The mature citizen that positions him or herself at all times above the community, does not perceive him or herself any longer at the centre of society nor as a participant and a user of it. In other words: with all definitions becoming airy we begin to understand the hybrid character of the digitally networking citizen.
and interaction is the guarantee of the sustainability of this new virtual reality. At the same time the present-day individual forms part of a local community, a city, a nation state, a continent and the world. One of the consequences of societies becoming more and more complex is the ever increasing gap between the citizens and their political representatives. The citizen of today understands very little of the choices that politicians take for their societies. Nevertheless citizens are directly influenced by these choices. The mistrust of politics and politicians over the last decennia is the consequence of this lack of understanding. The public careers of politicians that are empowered by the public often end long before their official term has ended.
It will appear to be an illusion to find freedom in your own individual reality, if there are millions of links between you as an individual and the world of the others.
New media, digitalisation, globalisation, mobility and world- wide communication channels helped the citizen to easily connect to others wherever in the world. Social media are used to find new relationships and communities, which are based on common interests, lifestyle, energy, work and specialisation. These new communities or networks develop without co-ordination or liaising with others, but it is the people themselves who are in interaction with one another. Social media serve in fact as co-ordinators and agents. Citizens in the world of social media often do not realise that they are in public space and therefore in a political environment. They create and use their own, new language, symbols, rituals, a new collective and emotional dynamic and they are extremely active in shaping their own values. For these citizens the collective feeling is the reason for forming a community and a society. Attention is the main ingredient in this community-building
Meanwhile larger supranational associations, such as the EU, transform local units to unnecessary variations of identity. It will not be surprising if the nation states will disappear in barely 10-20 years. That is the direction that the current politics has chosen, without having discussed or formulated a future for the participation of citizens.
The citizen in the urban environment is more than ever looking for a suitable context for its existence. The transfer of the national public mandate to supranational institutions makes it necessary to regulate various public affairs, such as education, work, security, culture, health and welfare, in a different way. Although its need is emphasised nearly everywhere, the ideas about the solution, the direction and final form of these developments differ greatly. Participation of citizens today can mean nothing more than strengthening local democracy. In this model of local democracy the citizen will fully participate in the creation of that democracy, but also add something to it, namely the public nature. The citizen, the individual, after all, is its own audience. It therefore owns the public space and the public values and issues that it created. Its participatory role in the public space is not through delegation of parliament and not necessarily physically but mostly direct, virtual, and abstract in a co-creative way.
â€™Lâ€™interazione tramite la partecipazione porta alla piena soddisfazione lavorativa e intellettualeâ€™
The self-perception of the citizen in this model is not that of a consumer but of a participant in various processes. This participatory nature of citizenship also includes the attitude to politics, government, social institutions, entrepreneurship, social participation and governance issues. This demanding citizen forms the backbone of the latest developments in democracy and urban life. Without a transparent embedding of the outcomes of participation of citizens in public affairs, we have to question the democratic nature of government decisions. There is no democracy without participating citizens and without democracy, there is no future for the participation of citizens in politics and society. Also, the basis of political representation should reform according to the ingredients and the needs of today’s society. Although the predominant basis of society is individualism it now seems right and essential to create a modern social basis for the representation of the citizen. The system of political parties, the parliamentary democracy based on elections, does not live up to the standards of modern times. We do not have a clearly demarcated people any longer, no church related clerks, and no ideologically rooted voters. Realising this we can see how small the basis of the current political parties is. If we add to this the mistrust of the public towards political parties, then it becomes obvious that political parties should be the first ones that have to embrace the emerging new manners of organising politics and participation. The direction of public developments in recent years the strong polarisation in society, the modern political populism and the level of individualisation - make the existing forms of participation unsuitable for the present era, like social participation, civic engagement, social engagement, leisure participation, socio-cultural participation, client participation and political participation. The basis of the social life of the current citizen stems from its aim to be the participant of various processes and not to be the consumer of ideas that a third party offers. The citizen sees this participation in the co-creation with co-networkers, neighbours, urban fellows etc. Only this co-creation can translate the added value of each individual into a suitable value creation, and that of an individual intention into an interactive
participation. The citizen is already busy to manifest his/ her societal belonging in this sense. But the same cannot be said about the politicians. This form of participation means that politics can no longer lean on the single-sided support of citizens. The interaction with the citizen means more than distributing flyers in the streets once in a few years. The ‘old’ political order had a systematic approach to continuously speak to the citizens; the ‘new’ political order in its turn has to find its own forms to co-create with the citizens. In short, the contemporary and modern participation can only be based on the co-creative participation of citizens in controlling their own social needs (education, work, security, health care, culture and well-being). A participation where the interaction with politics is the core, a participation that is based on the joint and inclusive exercise of political and administrative power; and not a consultation or a group experience based participation, that mean nothing but to cover up the core of democracy. And that core means: the consent of a modern people, consisting of free and equal-minded citizens who have a lot to share with each other, including the political power and their political future.
Peer coaching session in London Photo: The Cass
Before planning a participatory project Key questions you should ask yourself before starting a participatory project: Learning
1. Are artists/practitioners and participants all involved to some extent in learning through the process of realising the project? 2. What does the practitioner/organisation hope and expect to learn? 3. What do they hope and expect participants to learn?
1. How are communities/individual participants engaged in the project? 2. Are they chosen by organisations or are they self-selecting? 3. Why are they targeted?
1. To what extent is the development of the project open to the influence of the participants in its realisation? 2. How will the practitioner/organisation ‘frame’ this impact?
Are there ways established that enable participants to
New Understanding and Skills
1. What opportunities are there for participants to deepen their understanding of the arts and culture? 2 Does it serve to develop or enhance their skills?
To what extent are audiences (where not also participants) offered access to the process as well as the outcome?
Innovation in Memory Learning
Impact of Participants
make their views understood and taken in to account during the process and/or after as feedback?
How does the project offer new innovative solutions or re-think already existing approaches to the representation of European Histories?
1. Where does the project seek to position itself on the Participatory Spectrum? 2. What is the basis for this decision?
’Des jours de travail pour quelques minutes de prestation. Pourtant chaque jour était super!’
Some links to helpful project planning resources: Participation and sustainability in civil societies in Europe. Methodologies, standards, case studies, research platform
Participatory Methods Toolkit. Comparative chart for participatory methods. Practical guidelines and approaches for participatory processes
Participatory youth projects. Planning steps, methodical notes, incl. the perspective of gender
Evaluating participatory projects
Innovation and participation in culture: 30 do’s for designing successful participatory and crowdsourcing projects
’Les limites (temps ou matériel) amènent à différents résultats’
Bibliography PUBLICATIONS Memory/heritage
AGAMBEN, G (1993) The Coming Community, University of Minnesota Press. BENTON, T. (2010) Understanding Heritage and Memory. Understanding Global Heritage. Manchester: Manchester University Press. BOURRIAUD, N (1998) Esthétique Relationelle, Presses du réel. LABADI, S. (ed.) and LONG, C. (ed.) (2010) Heritage and Globalisation. Key Issues in Cultural Heritage. New York: Routledge. SALTZMAN, L. (2006) Making Memory Matter: Strategies of Remembrance in Contemporary Art. New Edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. GUERIN, F. (Ed.) and HALLAS, R. (Ed.) (2007) The Image and the Witness: Trauma, Memory and Visual Culture. London: Wallflower Press.
DEZEUZE, A (2010) The ’do-it-yourself ’ artwork: participation from fluxus to new media, Manchester University Press. THOMPSON, N. (Ed.) (2011) Living as Form: Socially Engaged Art from 1991 – 2011. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.
KESTER, G. H. (2011) The One and the Many: Contemporary Collaborative Art in a Global Context. North Carolina: Duke University Press. DOHERTY, C. (Ed.) (2009) Situation (Documents of Contemporary Art). Cambridge MA: MIT Press. COHEN-CRUZ, J. (2005) Local Acts: Community-based Performance in the United States. Public Life of the Arts Series. New Brunswick NJ: Rutgers University Press. JACKSON, S. (2011) Social Works: Performing Art, Supporting Publics. London UK: Routledge. DOHERTY, C. (Ed.) (2004) Contemporary Art: From Studio to Situation. London, UK: Black Dog Publishing. BISHOP, C., GIBSON, B., HIRSCHHORN, T., WAPPLER, F. (Ed.) (2012) New Relations in Art and Society (Christoph Keller Editions). Bilingual Edition. Zurich: JRP Ringier. STEINER, B (2003) Superflex: Tools, Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König.
RUGOFF, R., YOUNG, R., HALL, S., HIGGS, M. (Ed.) (2012) Jeremy Deller: Joy in People. London: Hayward Gallery Publishing. GINGERAS, A., BUCHLOH, B.H.D., BASUALDO, C. (Contributors) (2004) Thomas Hirschhorn (Contemporary Artist Series). London: Phaidon Press Ltd DARLING, M., DAY JACKSON, M., CHRISTOV-BAKARGIEV, C. (2012) Theaster Gates: 12 Ballads for Huguenot House (dOCUMENTA). Cologne: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther Konig.
http://nva.org.uk/ Francois Matarasso http://parliamentofdreams.com/ about/
Toolkit for participatory practices This publication has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
Editorial Director: Cécile Tschirhart, The Cass, London Metropolitan University, London Editorial Team: Lars Ebert, Castrum Peregrini, Amsterdam Hannah Kabel, Goethe-Institut Paris Cécile Tschirhart, The Cass, London Metropolitan University, London
Printing: Bucharest National University of Arts
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Toolkit for participatory practices.