David Teevan

School: Art History and Cultural Policy

Supervisor: Dr Emily Mark-Fitzgerald

Encounter, collaboration and negotiation: the importance of co-creation in the ecology of participatory arts in Ireland

My research is focused on those artists in Ireland who are working in collaborative practices that set out to share the creative process with project participants who do not self-identify as artists. In the act of co-creating, these artists and their collaborators not only challenge the conventions of the art world, but propose the possibility of a truly democratic society in which meaning and power are collectively negotiated. The aim of this research is to interrogate this proposition by undertaking a critical analysis of the work of a number of artists, and arts organisations, that have been engaged in open-ended processes of co-creation with and within communities, with the objective of discovering forms of representation that enable these communities to voice, to a wider audience, themes and issues that are meaningful to them. Consequently this project is centred on a number of research questions, addressing both aesthetic and socio-political dimensions that impact upon co-creative artistic processes. How does the community setting within which projects are carried out, impact upon the choices made by artists and participants? What are the methods of mediation and negotiation utilised by the artists? By what criteria do the artists and participants evaluate the processes undertaken and its outcomes? What distinguishes this work from other similar practices in the broader field of socially engaged art? What is the contiguity of Irish collaborative art-making with a wider international practice and discourse?