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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.

Open Access (free)
New perspectives on socially engaged performance

The book advances our understanding of performance as a mode of caring and explores the relationship between socially engaged performance and care. It creates a dialogue between theatre and performance, care ethics and other disciplinary areas such as youth and disability studies, nursing, criminal justice and social care. Challenging existing debates in this area by rethinking the caring encounter as a performed, embodied experience and interrogating the boundaries between care practice and performance, the book engages with a wide range of different care performances drawn from interdisciplinary and international settings. Drawing on interdisciplinary debates, the edited collection examines how the field of performance and the aesthetic and ethico-political structures that determine its relationship with the social might be challenged by an examination of inter-human care. It interrogates how performance might be understood as caring or uncaring, careless or careful, and correlatively how care can be conceptualised as artful, aesthetic, authentic or even ‘fake’ and ‘staged’. Through a focus on care and performance, the contributors in the book consider how performance operates as a mode of caring for others and how dialogical debates between the theory and practice of care and performance making might foster a greater understanding of how the caring encounter is embodied and experienced.

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Sruti Bala

area marked as an aesthetic space, wherein they may reflect or represent the world outside, undisturbed or untouched by it; rather, these two dimensions are porous, connected by a vector shuttling back and forth between them, not merely transporting ideas from one dimension to the other, but affecting and transforming each of them in the process. The present study 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 does

in The gestures of participatory art
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Between image, act, body and language
Sruti Bala

of its deviations from, and incommensurability with, a systematic narrative, in the emphasis of unruly, subtle, non-formalizable modes of participation. I treat participatory art as an inherited category, looking at its diverse, specific operations, or disciplinary routes and historical legacies. At the same time, I try to alter the terms of received wisdom by extrapolating principles and observations from the confines of one disciplinary arena into another. I search for ways in which affiliation to a given type of participatory practice might be described, only to

in The gestures of participatory art
Sruti Bala

following, I reflect on the challenges and conundrums of institutional critique from the vantage point of participatory practices. As a first step I examine the formation of participatory art as a genre, specifically community-based, applied art, as emergent from the critique of mainstream art institutions. In a second step, I inquire into some modalities of institutional critique which foreground questions of participation or non-participation, and examine their disciplinary configurations within the arts. Participatory art as the critique of institutionalized art The

in The gestures of participatory art
An ‘aesthetics of care’ through aural attention
Sylvan Baker and Maggie Inchley

below has been previously used to create plays by verbatim playwrights for theatre, we have adapted its approach in ways that we argue facilitates forms of caring, participatory practice and performance. The shift enables a ‘care-full’ and caring form of speaking and listening to be part of an ethical encounter between adult carers and young people. This palpably demonstrates that the latter have substantive contributions to make in the ongoing debate around practices of care, while allowing us to frame dialogue in spaces and contexts where they feel they are being

in Performing care
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Activism and design in Italy
Author: Ilaria Vanni

Precarious objects is a book about activism and design. The context is the changes in work and employment from permanent to precarious arrangements in the twenty-first century in Italy. The book presents design interventions that address precarity as a defuturing force affecting political, social and material conditions. Precarious objects shows how design objects, called here ‘orientation devices’, recode political communication and reorient how things are imagined, produced and circulated. It also shows how design as a practice can reconfigure material conditions and prefigure ways to repair some of the effects of precarity on everyday life. Three microhistories illustrate activist repertoires that bring into play design, and design practices that are grounded in activism. While the vitality, experimental nature and traffic between theory and praxis of social movements in Italy have consistently attracted the interest of activists, students and researchers in diverse fields, there exists little in the area of design research. This is a study of design activism at the intersection of design theory and cultural research for researchers and students interested in design studies, cultural studies, social movements and Italian studies.

Reconfigurations of twenty-first-century audiences
Liz Tomlin

often appropriated to describe participating spectators across a wide range of interactive performance (see Paris, 2006: 191; Lancaster, 1997: 82). In this way, the radical implications of Boal’s original terminology of empowerment are carried over to work that rarely shares the ideological context or political aims of his theatre, as I will demonstrate later in this chapter. Unsurprisingly, the Marxist politics that informed, in very different ways, the applied practice of Boal and the participatory practice of the Living Theatre, is rarely found in performance

in Acts and apparitions
Open Access (free)
Reading practices and participation in digital and medieval media
Heather Blatt

opportunity to inform the history of books and reading with the approaches of contemporary digital media theory and criticism. As the critic Thomas Pettitt has suggested when arguing for the idea of a ‘Gutenberg Parenthesis’, in which pre- and post-print media share more in common with each other than either does with print media, medieval literature and modern digital culture intersect in a variety of ways. As I trace these historical intersections of medieval and digital media studies through participatory practices, I show how experiences now perceived as characteristic

in Participatory reading in late-medieval England
Felix M. Bivens

high-quality participatory practices and processes globally through the work of students, alumni and a variety of partnerships with individuals and institutions worldwide. It is grounded in a process of critical reflection on experience and combines residential intensivestudy periods with a longer period of action research in a work-based placement. (2008, p. 366) The course turns on the concept of praxis. The basic premise is that experienced practitioners and activists come to IDS for one residential term (ten weeks), on a short leave of absence from work

in Knowledge, democracy and action