François Matarasso is an independent community artist and writer. Seeing practice and theory as interdependent, he has worked as an artist and teacher, consultant and researcher, since 1980. He works with (mostly) small cultural organisations, as well as with foundations, universities, and national cultural agencies in more than 40 countries. Adopting a rights-based approach to cultural participation he has published influential work on the social value of cultural participation, community art practice and rural development. His latest book, on the rise of participatory art, will be published by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in November 2018. www.arestlessart.com
The talk will consider how the growth of participatory art since the 1960s has been facilitated by, and enabled, the ending of a division in European concepts of art that emerged during the Enlightenment. It will propose a definition of participatory art as a form with particular qualities that distinguish it from other types of art practice, and that spans a broad territory of intentions not all of which should be considered radical. The talk will conclude by considering the opportunities and threats that arise from participatory art’s acceptance in an unstable world.