Artist & community organising for equitable, creative ecosystems


Alternative Civics - How Will Creatives & Citizens Design the Future?

Things are happening in our city and many of us remain on the periphery. How much of what is happening has a direct effect on our livelihoods and we don’t understand why. It is clear the current systems that govern our society aren’t imaginative, relevant or sustainable for the majority.

Within the context of change, artists and arts professionals are a critical asset. They can play a fundamental role in the reimagining and futureproofing of our towns and cities. Beyond the exploitation of artists that catalyses gentrification and displacement, beyond ‘artist-led’ and ‘cultural placemaking’ as sexy PR terms, beyond public sculpture and murals, how can artists play an integral part in civic contexts. How do artists work stronger within communities to develop new systems for economic and civic health?

Alternative Civics is a project that promotes artistic and citizen-led learning and exchange. Particularly interested in challenging current infrastructures that affect artistic production AND civic life, the project seeks to interrogate the possibility of developing new models that are relevant to contemporary culture and citizenship.

“All of the work citizen artists are doing is animated by the sense that it’s not enough to understand how power works; you have to couple that literacy in power with a grounding in the collective. [Artists] are coupling their understanding of how you get stuff done and how you wield power with a moral sense of why you should wield power and on whose behalf, with what sense of legacy and with what spirit of justice”
— Eric Liu

Through a series of workshops, learning circles, a new production and digital space, we will explore:

·      The concept of an artist-friendly city, particularly how creativity and culture contribute to how we think about future landscapes.

·      The future of economics and how collectivity might build new infrastructures and systems of investment/support/development/care.

·      How artisitic practice can act as a resolution to the practical concerns of people and public life

·      How artists uphold and explore the values that are crucial to instilling change and civic power


“We recognise that the community of artists possesses untapped creative and conceptual resources that can be applied to solving social problems. This call [to action] is to challenge artists to think about what it means to be active citizens, and how their critical and creative tools might work to create human alternatives to all those bestial acts that keep the 1% alive at the expense of the rest”
— Maureen Connor: Living and Sustaining a Creative Life: Essays by 40 Working Artists

As arts education is routinely pushed out of curriculums at all stages and the general public perception of art continues to be stifled, the future proves to be a complicated space. The future requires artists and general public to organise and revitalise civic dialogue & action.

Alternative Civics was launched with ‘The New Artist Economy’ 28.02.2018.  For the next events, join our mailing list here.

Source: Paula Varjack

Source: Paula Varjack