Design as a counter-narrative: Presentation to a workshop on arts participation

Here’s a presentation I gave to a conference called – unhelpfully – Art for Art’s Sake.  It was actually about new approaches to participation in the arts, about finding ways of connecting people to the arts – and the arts to people – which go beyond the traditional arrangement of government subsidised Grand Purveyors of Culture getting bums on seats to consume High Art. The day was spent with presentations from five arts practitioners in the morning and then three people from outside the arts in the arvo.  Those three people were me, an economist, a scientist and a non-partisan political campaigner from OurSay.

When the organiser rang me I was rather taken aback that she’d want me to speak, but she mentioned her topic and I said that I’d always thought about what I did as involving careful listening to people and trying to interact with it in terms of one’s preconceptions of what made good policy – always trying to update that as one went along. She liked the sound of this and I said I could describe the construction of the Button Car Plan as an exercise in that method. She liked that idea but I wondered whether it would be quite what the arties were looking for. When I saw some of the earlier presentations from the artists I got pretty excited about what some of them were doing and decided to talk about our work at the Australian Centre for Social Innovation as you will see from the presentation above.

Other materials to help you understand the talk are the slides I spoke to (ppt) (hastily cobbled together from other slide packs I’d constructed previously) and here is the video I showed during the presentation.

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