The Culture and Arts affinity group (CASE) held its first webinar of the Spring on April 27th, aiming to reconnect the community of researchers, artists and practitioners who contribute to the EMES landscape.
The participants of the webinar included researchers who had been part of the 2019 workshop in Malta on “Unlocking the transformative potential of culture and the arts through social enterprise”, as well as newcomers to the EMES community. The webinar began with a (re)introduction and update round where each person shared why they were interested in the webinar and the Affinity Group, as well as current projects and initiatives in which they are involved. The variety and richness could not be wider: from artistic inquiry, participatory perspectives and community arts, to non-traditional spaces and the status and wellbeing of artists and cultural workers.
The methodological potential of the arts to support community participation was also evoked, as well as questions about how this knowledge is transferred to the academic realm and other areas of practice.
They also discussed the need to highlight the political aspect of the arts with the relevance of voices speaking up, along with the healing and empowerment processes that are unleashed.
The urge to mainstream the way in which artists organize their work and create organizations was also challenged to encourage critical thinking within organizations. The group shared experiences jumping off from the 2019 Malta workshop; particularly, we discussed ‘what models of dissemination need re-thinking?’
How to include the voices of local civil society organizations through artistic formats (such as poetry) was debated alongside more cooperative ways to bridge the gap between Universities and cultural spaces. Participants identified an urgency to bridge artistic practice, research and teaching as well as connecting them to other areas of practice and research. Researchers from Denmark, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Sweden brought perspectives to the table from visual arts, sustainable development, intercultural studies and arts-inspired methodologies.
Key to the discussion were shared ‘principles’ governing the borderland between the arts/culture field and the social enterprise ecosystem. We discussed the precariousness of cultural workers, practices of ‘commoning’, radical inclusion and non-violent pedagogies. Such themes wended their way among the institutional mapping of the arts and culture sector: formal places of heritage, healthcare institutions in need of cultural re-vitalising, and informal spaces of food sharing and dialogue. Together, this work aims to scope the research streams of the CASE community and contribute to future EMES conferences.
Interested in joining this ongoing collective conversation? Stay tuned for the next webinar by the CASE Affinity Group, and if you wish to be involved in its organization, please drop us a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org