Connected Culture

Revolution: not such a bad idea?

Posted by Connected Culture on 14 February 2014

A week on and I am still in a bubble of reflection from the Connected Conversations; Passing It On roundtables. So much experience, knowledge and creativity encapsulated into one space throughout 4 roundtables. My head is going to burst. I was so desperate to keep a firm grasp of every tiny piece of information that was passed from person to person, from roundtable to roundtable.

With the discussion grouped between practitioners, commissioners, participants and thinkers, nobody had truly envisaged what the four groups would share or pass on for that matter.

I found the outcome enlightening. Stunned by the correlation between the individual groups, it was a revelation to hear that we are all in fact singing from the same hymn sheet, so to speak. Revolution! Provolution! How do we start to truly value ourselves and ‘this work’? Does the outside world value this more than we realise? Cultural impact is just one of the many benefits we can contribute as participatory artists. We’re strong and effective communicators, creating history and enhancing wellbeing, enriching people’s lives. There is longevity, a legacy even to the work that can engage communities in the way that we do. So why don’t we shout about this more? Have we become too bogged down with frameworks, funding applications, evaluation, government cuts?

For me, the key themes that continued to emerge across each of the roundtables were: language, diversity, advocacy and politics.

Are we complicating the ideas process, the funding process and on going communication with the language we’re using? Have we become lost in translation? Commissioners and practitioners alike want the language to remain simple, along with the idea. The art and the human aspect must be the focus, along with the process. Diversity must be rife. When will diversity hubs like The Albany become the ‘norm’.

And how do we better advocate this type of work? More peer-to-peer advocacy? Better advocacy from commissioners? With ever-increasing government cuts to the arts, it’s inevitable that confidence may wane. But we mustn’t lose sight of how nourishing this work is. We’ve been told we need to take a political stance, so now is the time. As one participant said, ‘Too many people feel powerless against politicians and bankers. We need to create a space for people to use where they can have their voices heard!’.  Surely this is our moral obligation? What ever happened to ‘The Spirit of 45’?  

One thing is clear, this is certainly just the beginning of the conversation. Join us to keep passing this on at www.connectedculture.co.uk

Lucy Dalzell
Connected Culture

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