Cork, Belfast and Kaunas, Rotterdam, 2012-2014
The field of this inquiry is culture, community and public-ness and the contested nature of these terms. An invitation to 12 artists and researchers with a depth of Practice, Ideas and Experiences led to the formation of the PIE Group.
They are: F. Marques Penteado (BRA), J. van Heeswijk (NL), M.J. Jacob (US), N. and G. Urbonai (LT), S. Bosch (DE) as well as Irish-based A. Murphy, C. Smyth F. Woods, J. Mulloy, N. Crowley and N. O’Baoill. They are not associated with any institutions and operate as independent artists and activists.
We travelled to three cities, Cork, Belfast and Kaunas. We spent four-days in each, engaging with people about their experience of creative local expression. We had a concept for a mobile pop-up space and tested this in Belfast and Kaunas. We developed a public deliberation process for people to discuss the hot topics in the field of local culture significant to their context. We spent time reflecting upon our own ideas and values to see if we could formulate a shared understanding and insights.
We valued our exchanges, even our own sense of getting lost. This taught us that not-knowing is part and parcel of inquiring into the problems facing local culture, cultural expression in contexts of disadvantage, and issues of democracy and rights. What is emerging from our inquiry is a need to invest more time in meaning-making with each other and across the boundaries that might divide us. We will formulate recommendations about how to nurture local culture on the island of Ireland and in Kaunas. The next step is about continuity, about creating multiples of this type of discourse; platform building for distribution of our research findings; and the use of pamphlets to capture our individual learning and insights from the process.
By being a catalyst for
-a fledgling national and international platform for exchanges about community culture;
-a ground-breaking Community Culture Strategy on the island of Ireland.
-experimentation about how to be more cooperative and engaged the Venetian art collective, artwayofthinking.org to deliver training with 11 participants from Ireland, Lithuania, US and Italy.
City (Re)Searches: Experiences of Public-ness commences in June 2012 and finishes in May 2014. It is funded by the EU and is allocated €60,000 based upon raising its own match funding of €40,000.
The Project Assessor noted in her report:
“Here is a research based on the correct observation that there has been an institutional failure to create conversations between arts/culture and other momentum's for social and political rights, and rightly place their efforts in the framework of developing a new consensus about the public value of culture.”