In May 2017 we hosted the second iteration of our conference series With For About. With invited guests and an audience, we explored three conversations on the fierce and urgent questions facing collaborative and social art today. Using the following statements by leading thinkers as provocations, we will explore collaboration, language and our role in an ever-changing socio-political landscape.
‘If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.’ Lilla Watson.
This conversation looked at the questions:
Who are our collaborators? Why are we working together?
Beyond the Rhetoric
‘There is no art practice that avoids all forms of co-option, compromise, or complicity’. Grant Kester.
This conversation asked how we avoid the co-option of the language and methodology of collaborative and social art practice by neoliberal agendas and move towards a ‘vision of social justice’ that excludes ‘over simplification’ and ‘quick fixes.’
Solidarity and Action
‘Useful art (Arte Util) is about transforming people’s lives, even on a small scale. It is art as activism and activism as art.’
This conversation looked at the role of art and artists in this time of political and social urgency. Where should we be working? What do we need to be doing? How can we work in solidarity with partners and collaborators to ‘convert our fears, findings and conversations, into plans, projects and results?’