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Session Overview
RN02_01b_P: Solidarities in the Arts
Wednesday, 30/Aug/2017:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Oleksandra Nenko, ITMO University
Location: PA.1.2
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: A, Level: 1.

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The Art of Organic Solidarity: The Fall of ‘Solidarity Forever’ and the Rise of Collaborative Organising and Participatory Art?

Marek Korczynski1, Joyce Jiang2

1University of Nottingham, United Kingdom; 2York University, United Kingdom

This paper examines the relationship between art and labour organising. Historically, there has been only a limited use of art linked to labour organising. We argue that a key reason for this has been the disjuncture between uniform mechanical solidarity and art works, which tend to be cultural expressions open to multiple readings. If the future of labour organising should lie with a new form of organic collaborative solidarity, does this open up a new space for the role of art in labour organising? We address this first conceptually by articulating an ideal type of the art of organic solidarity – an array of participatory art practices that are symbiotic with organising for collaborative organic solidarity Then we consider the utility of this ideal type in the analysis of an extreme case - Justice For Domestic Workers, a self-help group of migrant domestic workers in London which prioritises organic solidarity. We draw on extensive ethnographic research of this case. In this case, art was constructed as a safe space for participation, in which both individual and collective identities of workers were articulated, and in which a form of cognitive questioning took place. We show that the use of art in this case appears successful and sustainable. We argue that the successful use of art in this case stemmed from the symbiosis between the flat participative (related to organic solidarity) modes of both organising and art use. We conclude that there is likely to be more opportunity for art in labour organising in an era where organic solidarity is emphasised than existed in the era when the mechanical ‘Solidarity Forever’ was the song to be sung.

Experiences of Solidarity: Narrations of three Art Initiatives from Ankara

Emek Can Ecevit1, Hale BabadoğanKaya2

1Brunel University, Brunel Business School; 2Middle East Technical University, Sociology Department

Art initiatives could be seen as the smallest organisational agents that have the power to forge a change within the art-world together with the subjective presence of the artists. Specifically by their accepted organisational model that is mostly spontaneous in time, small-group in size, independent and non-hierarchical in decision making procedures, open-ended, non-deterministic and practical in objectives, and interdisciplinary in participation that eventuates in most needed solidarity formations.

Art initiatives have the capacity to make critiques of the artistic field from within; that is, they raise their voice to the already excepted rules, regulations and laws and implementations on the art-field. As associations thus they force others on the field to question the artistic practice, production and dissemination of works of art within the art-world. Utilizing various disciplines, their criticisms not only influence the artistic field but also carry over the concepts and issues that the social opposition put forward.

Although they are flexible, nomadic, free floating, seeking collective action and co-existence and new organisational forms within the highly nested and oppressed environment of neo-liberal politics, artist initiatives and artist-run spaces still needs a sustainable ground at least on practical levels.

Taken into consideration of the basic characteristics of artist initiatives and artist-run spaces this paper examines in theory and practice the current position and their future expectations in terms of their political stand, organizational forms, experiences and narrations of two art initiatives, Avareler and Ankara-Art Initiative and an artist-run space, Torun from Ankara that has been lasted more than five years and still active in Ankara, Turkey.

Art, solidarity and civil rights. Theatre as community response.

Ilaria Riccioni

Free University of Bozen, Italy

What can be the contributions of the sociology of the arts at the present critical juncture for a democratic Europe, in a time of great uncertainty, loss of rights for many populations and a widespread experience of destructuring institutions. If institutions are meant to be the structure from which the leading values of countries can be represented, what does implies their actual fading away? According to Jean Duvignaud the social function of artistic creation is that “elle vise à créer de la socialité”(Duvignaud 1965:54). Duvignaud defines three types of esthetic attitude: the first implies the relation between aesthetic experience and social space, in which is considered the dialogue between the different signs proposed by artists and the audience. Theatre is the artistical form which assumes this form of community holder: «Cette fraternité devenue irréalisable, prend la forme d’une attitude créatrice efficace, mais en tant que nostalgie d’un communion perdue, en tant que rêve interdit sans cesse avivé par un désir irrépressible de fusion affective» (Duvignaud 1965: 83). The consequent frustration after the division of labour, the social stratification, the extremely specialized jobs of contemporaneity, the need of sharing spaces and experience has changed social needs. In the theatre there is a reflexing communication which merges communication and participation into one single action, reaching for a clear social role: which is to bring to life the existant underlying relations of social movements and social change. This paper will inquire how and if the work of contemporary theatre in Italy assumes this role of reflexing communication bringing into life deep relation between social issues.

Hear it from themselves: the impact of arts on equality

Pia Maria Houni

Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Finland

How do arts-based initiatives influence artists and artistic professions? This question stems from the ArtsEqual–research project (2015-2020) in Finland. Currently Finnish culture is described more capitalistic than ever before in its history. This means implementing “ hard values” in many sectors of Society. At the same time there is a widespread conversation and political will to support arts-based opportunities for people of all ages. The key issue here is what does equality really mean when looked at through these kinds of projects. How does art develop solidarity in every day life inside a fast paced Society?

Artists are at the center of these questions, they are the people who make things happen with their professional skills. What kind of opportunities have they described to happen in the field? How do they understand the impacts of arts in different frames? To answer these questions, I have based my presentation on semi-structured research interviews of artists, who work in participatory, applied or community art fields. The total amount of interviews is 39. The interview themes include artists’ working habits and practices, their outlooks and impressions on the debate of autonomous and applied art, and their experiences of multi-professional collaboration in arts initiatives (especially in the public sector). What about artists themselves - in what way do they experience the meaning of art in their hybrid identities. How does aesthetical thinking connect with political missions.


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