François Matarasso

On his website François explains that “My work in community and participatory art stands on the belief that everyone has the right to create art and to share the result, as well as to enjoy and participate what others do. Shaping your own cultural identity – and having it recognised by others – is central to human dignity and growth. If people can’t represent themselves culturally how can they do so in any other way, including politically? If people are only imagined and portrayed by others, how can they be full, free and equal members of society? … My work engages with those issues through research, support for cultural groups and writing.”

He describes himself as “freelance writer, researcher and community art worker. Between 1979 and 1994, I worked in with people in estates, towns, hospitals, institutions and prisons. As my interest in the ideas behind this work grew, I became involved with research and its implications. From 1994 to 2003 I undertook a series of studies of arts and culture, often with Comedia, including Use or Ornament? (1997) and ending with Only Connect (2004). At the same time, I continued to work on community art projects in Europe.

Today, my time is shared between community art, writing, and research… My work has taken me to many countries where I’ve learned about community work in other cultures. In 2010, I began Regular Marvels, which celebrates people’s everyday art practice through five books, all free to download from the website.”