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Author: Sruti Bala

This book presents a study that undertakes an examination of participatory practices in contemporary theatre, performance and the visual arts, setting these against the broader social and political horizons of civic participation. It reconsiders the status of participation, with particular emphasis on participatory art both beyond a judgement of its social qualities as well as the confines of format and devising. The book attempts a cross-disciplinary discussion of participation, bringing together examples from the field of applied and community theatre, performance art and participatory visual arts. Gestures of participation in performance indicate possibilities for reconfiguring civic participation in public spaces in unexpected ways. Thus, less emphasis is laid on direct opposition and instead seeking a variety of modes of resisting co-optation, through unsolicited, vicarious or delicate gestures of participation. The book examines the question of institutional critique in relation to participatory art. It moves on to address the relationship between participatory art and the concept of 'impact'. A close examination of one workshop setting using the methodological framework of the 'theatre of the oppressed' in the context of a political party-led initiative follows. The book follows two conceptually inspired performance projects Where We Are Not? and If I Could Take Your Place? Finally, it emphasizes on how common-sense assumptions around audience participation in theatre and performance theory are called into question by the artwork's foregrounding of sleep as a mode of participation.

Selina Todd

essay demonstrates that working-class groups are forging cultural networks of resistance which promise a ‘regeneration’ of working-class culture outside the institutions – such as trade unions or labour history museums – in which scholars generally expect to find it. MaD: an overview MaD is a self-identified ‘working-class community theatre company’ based in Moston, a working-class district of north Manchester.6 Rob Lees and Jill Hughes founded the company in 1996, and initially called it Moston Active Drama. MaD’s new, abbreviated name testifies to the company

in Culture in Manchester
Kirsten Forkert, Federico Oliveri, Gargi Bhattacharyya, and Janna Graham

This chapter questions mainstream approaches to migrants as tellers of sad stories about their individual migration journeys. With this aim, it introduces performative methods used to de-construct the processes of migrantification through the creation of scenes. In these scenes, the experiences of discrimination and exclusion explored in the previous chapter are acted out and made the subject of collective analysis. The chapter is based on theatrical workshops and performances carried out with participants (who we see as acting as co-researchers in this project) and in collaboration with two community theatre companies: Implicated Theatre (London, UK) and Cantieri Meticci (Italy).

in How media and conflicts make migrants
Community engagement and lifelong learning
Author: Peter Mayo

In this broad sweep, Mayo explores dominant European discourses of higher education, in the contexts of different globalisations and neoliberalism, and examines its extension to a specific region. It explores alternatives in thinking and practice including those at the grassroots, also providing a situationally grounded project of university–community engagement. Signposts for further directions for higher education lifelong learning, with a social justice purpose, are provided.

Sruti Bala

the gestures of participatory art 3 Unsolicited gestures of participation Gesture is always the gesture of being at a loss in language. (Agamben, 1999, p. 78) The theatre of the oppressed for women’s empowerment in India In May 2013 I spent two days as a participant-observer of a community theatre workshop for rural women leaders in the small town of Karur in Tamil Nadu, south India. The workshop was part of a year-long train-the-trainer programme using the methodology of the ‘theatre of the oppressed’, which ended shortly before the national parliamentary

in The gestures of participatory art
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The complexities of ‘radical openness’ in collaborative research
Daisy Hasan-Bounds, Sarita Malik, and Jasber Singh

focuses on two strands of the Creative Interruptions project: the first, on connections between historical and contemporary civil rights movements in Northern Ireland explored through community theatre and other creative forms; and the second, the work that was undertaken on the political and cultural function of heritage and memory in post-partition Punjab. Creative Interruptions has been shaped by many of the central and evolving economic, political and cultural trends of the age. These include the rise of austerity, cuts in

in Creativity and resistance in a hostile world
Co-creation, theatre and collaboration for social transformation in Belfast
Michael Pierse, Martin Lynch, and Fionntán Hargey

reflection, from academic and project co-investigator Michael Pierse, considers the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of the project in the light of a range of responses from audiences, practitioners and participants. Between these three pieces is a salutary consideration of the complexity of and learning from this richly diverse, three-year project and what it suggests, more broadly, in terms of theatre, co-creation and community development in the context of what Hargey terms ‘a deficit of rights’. How community theatre enables forms of ‘research’, knowledge

in Creativity and resistance in a hostile world
Television adaptations by Peter Cheeseman’s Victoria Theatre company
Lez Cooke

the capital. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the growth of regional repertory theatres, many with an alternative vision of what theatre should be like and a commitment towards providing community theatre rooted in the locality. Many important and successful plays, including Peter Barnes’ The Ruling Class (1968) and Willy Russell’s John, Paul, George, Ringo … and Bert (1974), were first

in Screen plays
Sruti Bala

and companies in their daily interactions with funding bodies and supporting institutions. This is specifically true of applied or community theatre practices. At one point in theatre and cultural history, especially since the 1970s, these concepts were uttered by anti-establishment thinkers and stood for radical alternatives to authoritarian models of governance, alternatives that were imagined in and through artistic practices. Today they neatly dovetail with the logic of neoliberal thinking (Ahmed and Hughes, 2015). On the other hand, the ascendancy of

in The gestures of participatory art
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City of culture
Mike Savage and Janet Wolff

well-known, cultural institutions and activities of the city. In order to explore Manchester’s cultural history, and its transformations over the decades, we need to work with a broad definition of ‘culture’, which includes high-art institutions (galleries, orchestras, museums) and at the same time considers other forms (societies and clubs, leisure activities, people’s theatre). This volume, with its studies of the Dante Society, Belle Vue Zoological Gardens, the Methodist Mission, and the community theatre group MaD, is intended to provide such a perspective for re

in Culture in Manchester