Some key questions and ideas that floated around during the engage 2011 conference, and have stayed in my head afterwards…

What is participation?  Is there a shared understanding? Is Roger Hart’s Ladder of Participation right or is there more of a spectrum (Johnny Gailey’s view)?  What doesn’t count as participation?  Is art instrumental?  Arts as good, but not ‘good for us’ (Joli Jensen) – art as medicine cf. arts as experience?  Fiona Whelan as ‘story gatherer’ and Irish police project – reading out stories together as live event.  Dan Thompson and #riotcleanup – agile methodology, open source philosophy and LEADERLESS ANARCHY.  On institutions…  ‘let the institution be the place to problematise the institution’…  Mingle-mangleness.  University of Local Knowledge – annoyed me intensely – what IS the difference between this art project and an oral history project?  What is knowledge?  Whose knowledge is shared?  What is community?  Have we done social engagement to death?  Engagement fatigue?  Are participant guinea pigs for social agendas?  How do we define culture?  Ian Bottle, Eliot and Isabella on their lovely GENERATE project – inter-generational/family/learning/playfulness/imagination by making and creating – with Jonathan Barnes from Canterbury Christ Church – inspirational teacher.  Is art at school different?  Andrea Hawkins from Lanternhouse who had tricky role of taking over from inspirational character, John Fox: polyphonic communities.  Who is influenced by whom?  Permeable membranes.  Educational turn (still not sure what this is – Mick Wilson as impenetrable to me).  Reputational or service economies?  Role of artist – ownership in community/social projects?  ‘Object-referencing’ in autism as something I found out from person from Aspex Portsmouth – need to contact and find out more…  Also she was brilliant on asking re. travellers and warden issues – ‘come and play with worms!’  She was tweeting (Louisa?)…  Ramblings and snippets complete for now.

And so to the 2012 conference!


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