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Lesson 4: Participation

In this lesson you will explore participatory art (also called socially engaged art or community-based art) and how to use artistic tactics to work towards the creation of participation within a community.



The questions in this lesson are based on the essay Critical Tactics in Participatory Art written by Fabiola Camuti. To read the essay, click here.

The exercises question the critical role that we—artists, artist educators, and workshop facilitators—play in participatory art.


In the To Do’s, by Fabiola Camuti, you will find questions to relate the topic to your own practice and an assignment to create a boardgame in which the roles and tasks of those involved in a participatory art project have a clear meaning towards a shared goal.
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Etymologically speaking, the word participation includes the acts of part-taking, joining, and sharing; a communal experience in which everyone is united in a moment of collective engagement.
Previously thought of as a viewer or beholder, the audience is now repositioned as a co-producer or participant.
Fabiola Camuti

To do A

Questions:

What does it mean for you to make participatory art projects accessible and open to everyone?

How do you make sure the voices of the participants are included?

Who calls the shots?
A group of students from Sapienza University of Rome with the the FACT company in a meeting/workshop about the performance Destinazione non umana. </br>Besides the performative work, the company continues engaging with schools and universities, involving students in their projects and training them as facilitators/artist educators. </br>Source: FACT facebook page.
A group of students from Sapienza University of Rome with the the FACT company in a meeting/workshop about the performance Destinazione non umana.
Besides the performative work, the company continues engaging with schools and universities, involving students in their projects and training them as facilitators/artist educators.
Source: FACT facebook page.
The Three A’s: How to Make Situated Participatory Art: Accessibility, Agency, Articulation.
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To do B

The assignment for you here is to create a boardgame in which the roles and tasks of those involved in a participatory art project have a clear meaning towards a shared goal.



BUILDING BLOCKS



Define the players/roles in the game (artist/participants/public)

Give each player a card with tasks (can also include do’s and don’ts)
Define the common goal (for example: all the participants should get to the final line/performance together without leaving anyone behind)

Identify difficulties/obstacles/consequences that could arise during the journey.

Make sure to use the three tools identified in the essay (accessibility/articulation/agency) in the game building (for example: you can use it as an obstacle to assess whether players are following their tasks accordingly, or you can make special cards out of them with specific related activities).
WHO ARE THE PLAYERS? WHAT IS A GOOD MOMENT TO PLAY THE BOARD GAME?

When do you see the application of this game to be more useful?

To be played together with fellow students to explore possibilities and consequences?

To be played directly with a group of participants within a project you are already working on?

To be played after the completion of a project with participant as a reflection/evaluation tool?
POSSIBLE EXTENSIONS/ VARIATIONS

Instead of simple board game you could also design a living board game, using your body on this board game.

The three roles mentioned above are a minimum. In (almost) every participatory project there are more people/ roles involved. This could be implemented in the board game by installing an inner circle with ‘simple’ roles, and an outer circle with a more diverse compilation of stakeholders.

More ‘exciting’ cards could be added to the board game. Think for instance of adding stop cards (when a player does something against the common goal, must be consequences, e.g., delay in the process, going back few steps etc.) or adding secret card (the saboteur): identify someone in the group(s) who does not apply to the “participatory art rules.” For example, only wants to have profit, e.g., amazing work of art, wants to decide who is in or out. Ps the card can be secret, so the other players do not need to know who the ‘saboteur’ is. He/she/they have to work undercover.

How do you include the player(s) ‘public’ throughout the whole game and not just at the end as audience of a performance?

(Look at the ‘accessibility’ point in essay).

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For a good practice, have a look at

The Acting Project: theatre and refugee integration in Greece.

The project explores ways in which art and specifically theater can support the integration of refugees and migrants into Greek society.

This acting project began in November 2017, when 28 young people from Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, between the ages of 17 and 25, expressed interest in participating in the first acting group of Caritas Hellas. The acting group is part of the integration program Metavasis.

Scroll down to see the video
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Example project
The Acting Project: theatre and refugee integration in Greece. Exploring the ways in which theater can support the integration of refugees and migrants into Greek society.
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naar Lesson 5: Transgression

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