Episode 013

From participatory arts to cultural democracy









François Matarasso first worked as a community artist in 1981. Since then he has worked in community arts, participatory arts, and as a writer and researcher. He has just published a new book called A Restless Art, which looks at the growth of participatory arts and argues that it has succeeded in moving cultural discussions forward.

This episode continues the conversation with Owen Kelly and Sophie Hope that began in Episode 12. They look at how participatory art sometimes has cultural democracy as its aim, and ask what cultural democracy might mean in this context.

Francois raises the important question of where the right to participate in making culture comes from. Do we have any such right? If we do, then what status does it have, and what status should it have?

Attentive listeners might note that Sophie’s eight week old baby Henry continues to participate in the recordings and once again makes a heroic effort to get himself heard.