Going Public
Release Date:15 Nov 2017
Release Date:17 Nov 2017
Release Date:15 Nov 2017

Going Public

The Art of Participatory Practice

UBC Press

Going Public responds to the urgent need to expand current thinking on what it means to co-create, to actively involve the public in research, and to reconceptualize research for public consumption. As researchers are increasingly taking their research from the campus to the public arena, what are the ethics of, and expectations for, social impact? New technologies, platforms, and methods are challenging community-engaged artists, academics, and media makers to rethink their approaches to collaboration.

This book encourages practitioners to spend their time not only on “production,” but also on finding ways to use what is produced to open spaces of dialogue and action. Drawing on conversations with over thirty researchers and artists across multiple cultures and disciplines, it examines the ways in which oral historians, media producers, and theatre artists use art, stories, and participatory practices to engage creatively with their publics. The authors provide an overview of community-engaged practices and present case studies that grapple with issues of class struggle, gentrification, violence against women, and Indigenous rights.

Going Public offers insights into long-standing concerns around voice, aesthetics, appropriation, privilege, power dynamics, and the ethics of participation. It reveals that the shift towards participatory research and creative practices requires a commitment to asking tough questions about oneself and the ways that people’s stories are used.

Going Public is for researchers interested in collaborative approaches across a range of disciplines, including theatre, communications, history, education, sociology, and anthropology, as well as practitioners interested in collaborative approaches to performance, documentary media, and oral history.

There are many conversations going on in this book that will help to change the way we think about community-engaged research practice. Going Public is a book to savour and to return to time and again. David Dean, co-editor of History, Memory, Performance
In an era attuned to new possibilities for collaboration via digital technologies, Going Public presents a rich tapestry of case studies in participatory media, performance, and oral history productions that aim for public action or increased dialogue about urgent social and political issues. Andy Rice, assistant professor of film studies and comparative media studies, Miami University in Ohio
Going Public functions as a passionate clarion call to revolutionize artistic and knowledge production as a way to grapple with the urgent issues of the twenty-first century. The authors practise what they preach, building continuous reflexivity around the challenges, pitfalls, protocols, and practices of learning to work with communities rather than producing art or knowledge about them. Brenda Longfellow, co-editor of The Perils of Pedagogy: The Works of John Greyson
Elizabeth Miller is a documentary maker and professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Concordia University. Edward Little is a professor and chair of the Department of Theatre at Concordia University. Steven High is a professor of history at Concordia University’s Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling.


Part 1: Field Notes

1 Rethinking Engagement

In Conversation with jesikah maria ross

2 It’s Complicated

In Conversation with Lisa Ndejuru

3 Going beyond the “Juicy Quotes Syndrome”

In Conversation with Ronit Avni

Part 2: Sites of Struggle

4 People First and First Peoples

In Conversation with the Storyweaving Project

5 At Home, in Bed, and in the Streets

In Conversation with Kelly Matheson

6 Listening to the Post-Industrial City

In Conversation with Toby Butler


Appendix: Practitioners Interviewed

Notes; Selected Bibliography; Index

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