Art and Community Notebooks: Ethics and Participatory Art

A dialogue between Arlene Goldbard and François Matarasso is the starting point for the first “Art and Community Notebook”, which shares experiences and teachings of the PARTIS initiatives.
06 may 2021

Divided in three parts, this notebook is meant to “remind artists working for social change of the importance of ethics in their work, and the need to research, to think and perhaps most of all to talk about the challenges involved”, as stated in the foreword.

More than offering answers, the intention behind this notebook – freely available online in Portuguese and English – is “to offer good questions that will encourage readers to do their own thinking” about a theme that is quite broad and complex from the perspective of two key figures with decades of work behind them and a vast experience in the field of participatory art: Arlene Goldbard, a writer, visual artist and cultural activist based in the USA, and François Matarasso, a community artist, writer and researcher, author of the book A Restless Art, published by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in 2019.

The notebook starts with an introductory essay by Matarasso with the title “A Preliminary Reflection on Art, Social Change and Ethics”. The second chapter is a dialogue between the two authors adapted from an online session about ethics and participatory art, which gathered almost one hundred participants from different projects of the PARTIS initiatives, on the 29th of January 2021. The third and last chapter offers a practical guide based on the workshops on ethics and participatory art that Arlene Goldbard has been developing for several years in the USA.

This is the first publication of a collection called “Art and Community Notebooks”, which intends to share considerations and learnings stemming from the PARTIS initiatives with everyone committed to broadening the horizon of art, renewing hope in the future we have in common.

The PARTIS initiatives, which started in 2013 – now under the name “PARTIS & Art for Change”, since the partnership with “la Caixa” Foundation in 2020 – are an investment of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in the support of artistic projects with a social impact, based on the conviction that democratizing access and opening up participation to everyone are key elements to building more sustainable, cohesive and just communities.


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