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Made possible by the Global Urban Humanities Initiative at UC Berkeley, California, USA with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Participatory urban projects have been shown to foster ‘real’ democracy; enliven the public sphere; expand civic consciousness and increase transparency, accountability and efficiency (Baiocchi 2005]. Participatory art projects subvert the traditional relationship between the art object, the artist and the audience such that the artist is no longer an individual producer of discrete objects but a collaborator and producer of situations; the audience is a co-producer or participant; and the work of art is an ongoing happening rather than a commodifiable object (Bishop 2012). And yet, even with the radical potential of ‘participation’ as mode of engagement, in discourses of both aesthetics and politics, the term ‘participation’ itself, continues to hold a complicated place. Some art historians and critics even consider participatory art compromised for, far from being autonomous or self-governed, it is ruled by the so-called “external” claims of communities, special interests, governments etc. (Jackson 2011). Participation is also paradoxical in its promises in the realm of urban decision-making. While local participation is conventionally thought to be a means of progressive urban governance, ‘taking part’ itself has been co-opted by the neoliberal state and institutions, potentially depoliticizing community struggles.
This peer-reviewed web publication (limited print run) seeks to interrogate the “participatory turn” in contemporary urban studies and performance studies, to explore the multifarious meanings of ‘part-taking’ or ‘participation’ and its conditions of possibility in making art and politics in urban spaces. As such, we encourage contributions that expand conventional definitions of ‘political participation’, ‘participatory aesthetics’ and ‘urban space.’ We welcome submissions across the fields of urban studies, performance studies, architecture, urban planning, geography, film and media studies, political science, philosophy, art history, sociology and anthropology. By offering distinct views on urban participation, this anthology seeks to illuminate the shifting meanings of ‘urban participation’ and expand knowledge of its praxis in the fields of aesthetics and politics.
Possible themes for submissions include:
• Global Practices of Urban Participation;
Final paper submissions are due December 1st, 2014. Papers should be between 3000 and 4000 words and follow the Chicago Manual of Style. If appropriate, include two or three small image files. Authors are also responsible for reproduction rights and associated fees relating to all images and text pertinent to their manuscript. Publication is expected in late spring 2015.