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Look Back: Models of Listening and Participation in Culture

by <object object at 0x7f8531513580> last modified 19/02/2024 05:00 PM

Isto é PARTIS & Art for Change 2024 - Image Credit: Carlos Porfirio

In January, Trinity participated in the Isto é PARTIS & Art for Change 2024 conference held in Lisbon, Portugal, shining a spotlight on the transformative potential of citizen-led approaches in the arts.

The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and "La Caixa" Foundation are actively working to platform and support the tangible impact of participatory arts initiatives, reshaping cultural dynamics, and fostering more just and cohesive communities. The conference served as a beacon for continued dialogue and action in the pursuit of a more inclusive cultural landscape.

Featuring panels exploring diverse methods of citizen involvement in cultural dynamics, Trinity Community Arts, represented by CEO Emma Harvey, emphasized the significance of creative community spaces in shaping cultural dynamics in the arts. Emma shared insights into Trinity's work managing the Trinity Centre as a publicly-owned civic arts space, alongside efforts to save another publicly-owned asset, Jacobs Wells.

Trinity shared a panel with Lara Seixo Rodrigues, Marta Silva, and Miguel Atalaia, highlighting examples of collaborative and citizen-led cultural activity, including the Largo Residências in Lisbon and the Bons Sons festival in Tomar. Bons Sons - akin to Trinity's annual Garden Party, the annual community festival involves the entire village coming together to deliver a celebration of music, culture and local pride—an inspirational example of true citizen empowerment.

Trinity's partner, Saad Eddine Said, Co-Director of the Citizens in Power initiative, delivered a keynote speech on avenues for active citizen-led decision-making. Trinity, in is working with Citizens in Power and St Paul’s Carnival, to develop a Citizen Assembly for Culture, supporting communities in the West of England Combined Authority to shape their cultural delivery priorities and plans – funded by Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch) and the West of England Combined Authority. The conference also highlighted Battersea Arts Centre’s social enterprise programme, The Agency, which uses a co-design model to support young people to unlock their creative potential.

This collaborative effort, led by The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, amplified initiatives that are unlocking the transformative power of citizen-led approaches in the arts. The Foundation's commitment to fostering partnerships between communities, creatives, and institutions, as showcased in the PARTIS & Art for Change initiative, exemplifies a forward-thinking approach to shaping the future of towns and cities. This conference facilitates key conversations and projects that contribute to the creation of more just, cohesive and culturally vibrant communities.

Further reading:

  • Read our blogs on creating a Citizens' Assembly for Culture 12, 3,  4 and 5
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