We strongly recommend watching the recording of the presentation of professor Sruti Bala that was part of our national festival ICAF NWE MKRS. Professor Bala, from the University of Amsterdam, facilitated an in-depth conversation about the pitfalls around ‘participation’ with Jasmina alongside key stakeholders in the cultural field in the Netherlands including lecturers from art academies, government policy makers and researchers. Sruti introduced the complexity of participation, helping to stimulate us as makers and producers, but also inspire policy makers, art teachers, social workers, and funding employees to think critically about the position we take as a participatory arts sector in a neoliberal society.
In her presentation Sruti stated that: “Participation shifted from something that we demand of our governments into something that governments demand of the people. If you look at the culture of the 1960s and the anti-colonial movements, participation was a grassroots ideal. But it has become a buzzword in political life and governance. It is a convenient way to mark the withdrawal of the welfare state. It is a kind of sweet dream turned into a nightmare.”
Please note: Jasmina’s introduction and the discussion section are facilitated in Dutch, but Professor Sruti Bala’s lecture is in English.