This is the transcript of my talk entitled Cultural Democracy, Community Development and the Old/New Normal which I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to present at the Imagine Belfast Festival on 28th March 2021. It’s about re-enchanting our art, cultures and everyday lives.
Sheelagh Colcough, David Boyd, Conor Shields and I had a great conversation after the talk which could have gone on a lot longer.
This is a repost (with permission) of Martyn Reed’s powerful recent post on Facebook. Reflecting at first upon Nuart’s recent struggle with Stavanger authorities to overturn a decision to significantly reduce funding for the globally important Street Art festival, Martyn calls for artists of all kinds to organise together collectively as a radical act so that we create the changes needed in our post-Covid lives.
In 2005, three artists, Stephan Dillemuth, and Jakob Jakobsen, wrote There Is No Alternative: The Future is Self-Organised (TINA1). They went on to issue a second call in 2012 with the same title that focused on reclaiming self-organisation from what they saw as several forms of appropriation (TINA2).
Having recently launched Artists’ Mutual Aid UK, I am reposting my article from this summer written for Freedom Press.
Please feel free to join Artists’ Mutual Aid UK here and start help shape what the movement might look like and what it could become.
Also, have a look at a recent talk I gave on mutual aid for artists and arts workers for the Bristol Artist-Led Forum here.
I am really pleased to be able to share this extremely powerful, thought-provoking guest blog by Rosie Priest. It’s a personal account of how art can be part of everyday life as well as a challenge to the superficial rhetoric of institutional art as a vehicle for “transformative change”.
Rosie Priest is a PhD candidate at the University of Stirling, working with the National Galleries of Scotland’s outreach programme to explore “Collaborative Art and Transformation”, whilst also working as the Creative Learning Associate for Stellar Quines Theatre Company.
The nation and many Western countries have successfully suppressed, oppressed and controlled our arts and our cultures: narrowly defining and policing terms and practices, building brick and glass citadels for a wealthy minority and a false vision of economic growth, and creating a hierarchy which places artists as servants and denigrates many working-class communities as “hard to reach” and uncultured.
Perhaps, it’s time for artists to learn from the COVID-19 Mutual Aid groups that are self-organising and self-seeding across the UK and the globe? Imagine if artists set up local Artists’ Mutual Aid groups to support each other through these difficult times; to begin setting out ways of speaking to power with coherent voices; to start using art to demand radical changes to the way we work and live together.
DUTY NOW FOR THE FUTURE
This is a revised version of Duty Now for the Future – an article commissioned by Collecteurs NY to help launch its SUBSTANCE 100 initiative . The original article was written before the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the UK , Europe and the USA. Duty Now for the Future 2.0 is a call for everyone in the art world to finally wake up to our responsibilities in a world there can be no going back to the crass inequity of our lives before Corona virus.
This is my take on why only cooperation and federalism and democratic, participatory community development can begin to heal the divisions that exist in our communities. For me, the Labour party have lost any connection to its roots, so we need to radically renew the idea of working-class movements by ending the elite electoral machines that never listen and that reproduce the very conditions of our oppression that they claim to oppose.… READ MORE