Participation &/in Culture: trends, debates and next events

Participation &/in Culture: trends, debates and next events

On April 18-20 Aarhus University, Denmark, hosted the international conference “Cultures of participation. Arts, digital media and politics”, organized by the Take Part research network on cultural participation. The conference aimed at presenting and discussing how participatory approaches are declined within both physical and virtual contexts, like cultural institutions and digital media platforms, urban spaces, artistic production, architectural design. It dealt with three main themes: 1) Participatory art & aesthetics, 2) Digital media & technology, 3) Cultural policy & participation.

In this context, LabGov participated, with its co-founder Christian Iaione together with Maria Elena Santagati, in the session that provided a reconstruction of the Italian context and initiatives, presenting the experience of the LabGov’s project Co-Rome promoting the participatory governance of cultural heritage in the framework of the Faro Convention, with a focus on the urban commons implemented in the Centocelle’s Archaeological Park in Rome

 

120 participants from all over the world had the opportunity to attend the three keynote speeches by Lisanne Gibson (School of Museum Studies-University of Leicester) “Museums and participation – Who goes… (and who doesn’t?)”, by Shannon Jackson (University of California, Berkeley) “Civic re-enactment and public re-assembly”, and by Zizi Papacharissi (University of Illinois-Chicago) “Affective publics: news storytelling, sentiment and Twitter”. The first one–starting from a recent study conducted in the UK showing that museum visitors are just a minority of the population (8.7%) who engage with State funded cultural activities–calls for a rethinking of museum practice and role to enhance the citizens’ interest and participation starting from the idea that “Museum can function as places where people can explore their own identities in relation to others, to reflect on how people are different and how they are the same” (Mark O’Neill, 2006: 109). The second one–based on the UC-Berkeley’s research platform on Public (Re) Assembly and the work of Aaron Landsman and Paul Ramirez Jonas–investigated the re-enactment in civic processes. The third one discussed about the concept of affective publics, the role and meaning of social media for the Arab Spring and occupy movements, together with data from recent studies by the University of Illinois at Chicago explaining the relevance of the platform for contemporary news storytelling, framing, and gate-keeping.

A range of sessions provided different perspectives on the topic of participation in culture through the lenses of different disciplines, reflecting the ongoing practices trends across Europe and beyond, including digitized cultural institutions and experiences, participatory art, policies of participation, measurement and valuation of cultural participation, cultural activism, methods for engaging communities in cultural production, arts&media platform, spaces for civic participation, urban and public space, participatory management of cultural institutions, technological transformations, and (non)participation. With respect to participation in policy and management, the session concerning the European Capitals of Culture provided useful considerations emerging from a study on ECOC projects revealing that most of them had an instrumental approach to the participation instead of providing a base for participatory governance (Szilvia Nagy). The session also stressed the need of rethinking the participation with regards to the experience of Aarhus 2017 based on the Rethinking participation Report  (Leila Jankovich and Louise Ejgod Hansen), shared an analysis of arts carnivals programmes and participation within Capitals of culture in UK (Angela Chapell), and, finally, displayed a very interesting project “2025€ x 2025”, concerning participatory projects for Dresden ECOC candidate city for 2025, including one based on the “table-theatre” method (Valentina Mercenaro).

With regard to participation in culture policy-making, interesting inputs were raised from: a critical perspective on Iceland’s official cultural policy and its confusing aesthetic of involvement (Njourour Sigurjonsson); an interesting critical analysis of newly rooted participatory cultural institutions in Poland (Marcin Poprawski); a case study of Leeds cultural policy making as a democratic space (Malaika Cunningham and Elysia Lechelt); and a reflection about cultural participation as a narrative in the German cultural policy (Claudia Steigerwald). Finally, another case treated the challenge of participatory management at the School-Museum of Pusol within the SoMus-Society in the museum project (Lorena Sancho Querol, Rafael Martinez Garci and José Martinez Jurado).

Meanwhile, on April 18th, the European Union published the final report of the OMC working group on “Participatory governance of cultural heritage”, containing both operational and policy recommendations. Moreover, within the European Year of Cultural Heritage, the European Cultural Heritage Summit will take place in Berlin on June 198h-24nd, with the slogan “Sharing heritage-Sharing values”. Among the next interesting meetings and events, some concern participatory issues like: the conference “Cultural heritage communities and audiences in today’s digital environment” dedicated to digital technologies and cultural heritage; the conference “Sharing as a chance. Private initiatives and cultural heritage”: “People want to participate in heritage and be involved in decision processes. It should no longer be a specific task of experts to decide about the future of our heritage but of all those who are engaged in it”; and the students’ summit “Culture Up Your Future – Living out European Heritage in the Digital Age” concerning students’ engagement with European cultural heritage.

Finally, another relevant meeting on the topic of participation will be held on June, 11th-12th in Manchester for the conference “Understanding everyday participation: Re-locating culture, value and inequality”, as the final step of Understanding everyday participation – Articulating Cultural Values, a five-year research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council advancing a re-evaluation of the link between participation and cultural value.

Experimenting Civic Collaboration between commons in the South East of Rome

Experimenting Civic Collaboration between commons in the South East of Rome

On Saturday, May 5th, the South East Co-District of Rome has been crossed by Civic Collaboration, urban redevelopment and co-governance of urban commons paths in a whole day full of activities, meetings, debates that has been organized by LabGov in the context of the Co-Rome, in collaboration with V Municipio, ENEA, LUISS University, Comunità Parco Pubblico di Centocelle and several organizations and associations from the district

An itinerant community made of students, academics, stakeholders and active citizens started its path from Parco degli Acquedotti, in Don Bosco neighborhood, to reach Torre Spaccata where, in the green area next to Biblioteca Rugantino, the labgovers and students from the master degree in Landscape Architecture of La Sapienza University inaugurated the third satellite of LUISS’ community garden #OrtoLUISS.

An horticulture lab, the valorization of urban vertical gardens an of “in-the-box” gardens and thoughts on the importance of concrete experimentations of circular economy enriched a morning where people of every age shared a new contact with public and natural spaces of the district

In this direction, the third step of the day was in the permaculture project oh Municipio V “Il sogno trasformato”, that consented to the participants to visit Parco Giorgio de Chirico, in Tor Sapienza neighborhood, and to discuss on how public institutions and communities can try together to look for solutions for environmental redevelopment and social re-activation of those territories where urban inequalities are much stronger.

The rain didn’t stop the seek for experimentation and collaboration, and the participants continued their path in the library “L’ora di libertà”, where they first admired the exhibition “100 piccoli volti di Centocelle” by Giorgia Capatano, and where they then sat down to discuss together the future of Centocelle district

Representatives of ENEA’s #fuTure and Centoc’è labs presented their new ideas to design and manage together the territory while ensuring environmental and social sustainability.

At the end of the day, at FusoLab 2.0, the last emotional step of the day with Valentina Correani sharing with Silvio Bruno (President of Centocelle Neighborhood’s Committee) and Vinceno Luciano (Director of Abitarearoma) stories and poems on the history and the beauties of urban suburbs, starting from the South East of Rome. During the evening the short film by Myrice Tansini “La Prima Volta“, starring Mario Caldaro (beloved honorary member of the Comunità Parco Pubblico di Centocelle) was shown to the move public.

And then: party and music! The musical event #RomaSudfEst was opened by the young Coro Cantering, who sang several folk songs from Italy and Europe (and Rome, of course), and continued with a space all dedicated to #Orto17 with three young roman songwriters, Emilio Stella, Gianmarco Dottori and Andrea D’Apolito, that shared an hymn to the Rome that we hope to be able to build together.

5th May 2018 | Third Civic Collaboration Day and RomaSUDfEST

5th May 2018 | Third Civic Collaboration Day and RomaSUDfEST

The Heritage Walk through the neighbourhoods in the South-East suburbs of Rome during a one day event to enjoy the city experiencing civic collaboration practices 

The EDU@LabGov academic year 2017-2018 – the LUISS Educational Lab is the urban clinic for students to experiment on the field the urban commons theories and collaboration practices – is coming to an end and, for the third year, the labgovers will be committed to a one day experience of civic collaboration and cultural and environmental heritage regeneration of urban commons in the South-East of the city of Rome.

On Saturday, 5th May 2018, the Third Civic Collaboration Day and the RomaSudfEst will represent a unique opportunity to meet, discuss and spread a message of environmental, economic and social sustainability.

A programme full of activities – open to participants of all ages – will engage a variety of local actors and urban stakeholders in living different places and public spaces of the entire district, experiencing new practices of civic collaboration, and pushing forward the local public debate.

The Civic Collaboration Day will start at 9 a.m. in the Degli Acquedotti Park (Don Bosco neighbourhood) and from there will cross through the neighbourhoods of Torre Spaccata, Tor Sapienza, Centocelle and Alessandrino; in each of them are scheduled different activities and events organized by associations and active citizens in collaboration with public and knowledge institutions, as Municipio V, Rome Municipality, ENEA and LUISS University.

The initiative is one of the outputs of the work carried on by EDU@LabGov in different urban experimentation sites in the framework of Co-Roma, a project aimed at building an integrated model of urban smart district based on the development of new co-economies: economies with a circular, social, supportive and collaborative nature and on an active and cohesive citizenship.

Amongst the many activities scheduled during the day:

>> At 10.30 a.m., in the green area next to the Rugantino Library (Torre Spaccata), the labgovers – together with the students of the Master in Landscape Architecture of La Sapienza University of Rome – will bring the University outside its doors by setting up the third satellite of the University’s community garden #ortoLUISS and leading a horticulture lab for children.

>> At 3 p.m. in the Centocelle Park – which, for the first two years, has been the centre of the Co-Roma project – will take place different activities for kids about urban mobility, together with a series of heritage walks (organized by the Comunità Parco Pubblico di Centocelle Odv), as defined by the Faro Convention framework, to discover together and showcase to all the participants the beauty of several archaeological and cultural resources of the district.

>> The Collaboration Day will close at FusoLab (Centocelle) at 19.30 with the RomaSudfEst where many people from the district and from the whole city will gather to celebrate with the music the conclusion of this important collective moment.

Click here to download the full programme of the event