DEEP DIVE INTO THE POLITICS OF PARTICIPATION WITH dr. SRUTI BALA
What are the pitfalls of participation? And what role do community arts makers take (consciously or unconsciously) when they make participatory art that is part of a not-so-social, neoliberal political policy? For ICAF 2023, dr. Sruti Bala (University of Amsterdam) will build upon these arguments, by presenting two lectures. The first, on Thursday 30 March, will be “Participate or Else!”, in which Sruti will sketch the influence of neo-liberalism on community art in terms of ‘social impact’ and participation as a political instrument, questioning tokenistic calls for ‘diversity’ and proposing a vision of international, inter-species solidarity. This will be followed by a second lecture on Saturday 1 April, “Do No Harm”, where Sruti will dive into the practical consequences of the do-no-harm principle that derives from conflict resolution studies. It may sound like a no brainer, but what do we mean when we say ‘do-no-harm’? How far does it go? What are the ethical questions you must ask yourself in order to ‘do no harm’?
Both lectures will form practical sessions in which makers will be encouraged to go into dialogue with each other after an introduction from Sruti, to explore the ideas presented further, and apply them directly to their own contexts and practices.
dr. Sruti Bala is Associate Professor at the Dept. of Theatre Studies of the University of Amsterdam, where she currently co-ordinates the MA Theatre Studies programme. Sruti’s research interests are at the intersections of performance and politics, which has taken shape in specific research projects on nonviolent protest, participatory art, artistic activism, feminist and postcolonial/decolonial literary and cultural theories and translation. She has previously presented at ICAF NWE MKRS 2021 and 2022 on the topic of the “Pitfalls of Participation in Community Arts”.