Public Relations 7/Improvisation and Embodiment/Group Projects/Work Skills Developed from Art and Participation


Affinity Space, by Artist Seoidin O’Sullivan and Architect Karol O’Mahony, Trinity College Dublin


  • Agree on a name for your Group.
  • Use this name to create a free blog or website (designate a group member to upload information to the blog or website, this person will be called the blog or website administrator).
  • Develop an artists’ statement for your collective. This is your manifesto, your way of working, your collective identity, and your unique description. You might also include (in conjunction with the artists’ statement) tag words, that act as keywords describing your collective’s practice. You might even have a motto.
  • Discuss materials and methods of participatory art that your group will explore and share.
  • Share emails amongst group members so that collective members can share ideas together. Forward emails with content for the website or blog to the administrator for posting. A group discussion can be developed through group emails and other forms of social media.
  • Each group member will send emails to their administrator with information for the group’s online platform. The emails can be copied and pasted and include photographs. Each group member’s emails (for posting online) will explore theoretical ideas, examples of inspiring participatory art projects, and their own explorations into participatory art. The website or blog will have both collective and individual postings from group members. The individual postings are the foundation for essay development.


Photo: Carsten Höller, South Bank’s Hayward Gallery, ‘Sculptures through which you can travel’ Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters, Article by Laura Cumming in the The Guardian

The European Academy of Participation (EAP) brings together ten higher education and arts & culture organisations from all over Europe. EAP sets out to make a contribution to a more inclusive Europe, in which people live together in mutual respect of their differences. Participatory practice in art and culture is a central tool to involve communities in a positive process of constructing a shared cultural space.


Photo: Firebird, Community Dance Performance in Romania, “One hundred and ten young people between 11 and 22 years with no dancing background whatsoever nor specific physical abilities came together in a spectacular contemporary dance performance to put on stage Igor Stravinsky’s Firebird. The participants came from very different backgrounds: orphans as well as children from prosperous families, children with special needs as well as high achievers…The only selection criteria was their motivation and desire to take part in the project” (Academy of Participation, Case Study)

Participatory Art Practice has been used to denote a range of artistic practices of co-production, collaboration, community practice and public engagement.

European Academy of Participation identifies Participatory Art Practice as the creative practice and dialogic interactions of artists and communities working towards social change

Participatory Art Practice enables

  • community empowerment through collaboration and engagement in the creative process
  • convergence of, and interaction between community and creative practices
    transformation through developing insights that challenge perspectives and assumptions, with the aim to
  • question the status quo
  • bring together diverse knowledges
  • co-creates through innovative forms of practice.

Participatory Art Practice Adopts the Following Approaches

  • creative and critical enquiry
  • mutual exchange and reciprocity
  • responsiveness to complex social environmental and political issues.

Gaining skills in creative processes and [participatory arts] strategies…enables artists/creative producers to work in diverse contexts for example:

  • Arts projects/programmes in communities of place and/or interest
  • Cultural leadership roles
  • Cultural institutions offer employment in outreach
  • Audience development in art centres, galleries, theatres and museums
  • Culture/arts departments of municipalities have cultural leadership roles, programming roles, education and social inclusion roles
  • Consultancy role in the design and consultation process for town/city planning in urban and rural environments
  • Independent citizen initiatives
  • Social enterprises and creative hubs
  • Through public services there is employment in a range of settings such as community support agencies and planning departments
  • Arts and health care settings (where applicable) with specialised training
  • Arts and disability contexts (where applicable) with specialised training
    In educational settings
  • The business and commercial sector offer work place opportunities in areas like cultural leadership, innovative methods of communication and design
  • NGO’s such as environmental agencies often work with artists around campaign issues, innovation methods of research, communication and consultation


Photo: ‘Why I Walked Blindfolded for Two Hours Through the Streets of Vancouver’ by Marsha Lederman, The Globe and Mail 

Last Friday, I toured the streets of Vancouver blindfolded, guided by a woman I’d never met before – and had never seen. Do You See What I Mean? is a work of one-on-one theatre created by Lyon, France-based choreographers/artists Martin Chaput and Martial Chazallon, whose company Projet in situ describes the work as “the choreography of participation.” They’ve mounted the piece – tailored for each place – in several cities, including Montreal; it’s now in Vancouver, as part of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival.

This was a rare moment: when my thoughts drifted beyond what was directly in front of me. During the tour, you are totally focused on your experience and its implications. You’re not checking your phone, you’re not casing the room, you’re not thinking about anything other than the steps you’re climbing, the lavender pastry you’re tasting, the exchange you are having with your guide. Your mind does not wander at all. At least mine didn’t – and that is a feat for me. I didn’t – couldn’t – take a single note. But I remember everything.

Do You See What I Mean? is set firmly in the world we’re already in, but have long forgotten to notice. We become intrigued again with the streets we walk every day. (Extracts by Marsha Lederman, ‘Why I Walked Blindfolded in Vancouver for Two Hours’)


CARDIFF & MILLER, Video walk, 26 minute walk, Produced for dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany.

The Alter Bahnhof Video Walk was designed for the old train station in Kassel, Germany as part of dOCUMENTA (13). Participants are able to borrow an iPod and headphones from a check-out booth. They are then directed by Cardiff and Miller through the station. An alternate world opens up where reality and fiction meld in a disturbing and uncanny way that has been referred to as “physical cinema”. The participants watch things unfold on the small screen but feel the presence of those events deeply because of being situated in the exact location where the footage was shot. As they follow the moving images (and try to frame them as if they were the camera operator) a strange confusion of realities occurs. In this confusion, the past and present conflate and Cardiff and Miller guide us through a meditation on memory and reveal the poignant moments of being alive and present.


Artist Roman Ondak, Measuring the Universe at MoMA, 2009

Slovakian artist Roman Ondak’s interactive installation titled Measuring the Universe started as a blank white room and evolved into a room with a strip of celestial black marks all around the gallery space at TATE ST IVES. Through the participation of over 90,000 visitors measuring themselves and marking it on the walls, spectators get a visual sense of the space each of us takes up in this vast universe. It’s a reflection of physical occupied space as well as interconnectivity. Each person serves as a star in a network of celestial bodies or constellations. It’s also interesting the way this project has organically evolved into a sparse series of black marks on white walls that resemble a galaxy whose monochromatic scheme has been reversed. (Source: Tate Collectives,

Drawn to the Beat was a participatory music drawing event using Silent Disco technology. The event was a chance for people to experience ‘music drawing’ by drawing alongside artist Naomi Kendrick in Band on The Wall’s club space, which became a silent disco and enormous drawing surface for the night.

The fascinating method of drawing music Naomi Kendrick has developed has the act of listening and physical response is at it’s core. Through drawing in this way she attempts to bring an immediate connection between mind and body that results in a drawing.

This process often involves working with her eyes closed and using both hands, moving in response to the layers and speed of the sound heard, and building up an energetic drawing of layered marks.

The event (open to all ages) encouraged other people to draw and respond to the music in their own unique way. The silent disco technology silently delivered an eclectic mix of music, selected in collaboration with musicians, onto headphones worn by Kendrick and the participants as they drew. Two different channels of music could be chosen via the headphones – some people drew to classical music whilst their neighbour sketched to reggae.

Every now and again the music was played through the club’s speaker system to be heard by everyone, connecting people’s movements and drawings with the music. This created a playful space where the idea of a solitary, internal perception and a shared act of creativity could be explored (Source: Drawn to the Beat, Curated Place,