How do we find the people for whom art has changed their lives?

Samantha Stockdale, 2 October 2012

We talked about examples:

- of a light installation, facilitated by Everyman Playhouse, made by local residents in response to the council cutting the lighting to a local playing field; of how the local community came out in force which resulted in the lights being turned back on and one of the ‘ring leaders’ of the perceived ‘gang’ of local youths engaging with the theatre, going on to become on of their Young Technicians.

- of a scheme run by Tenant Spin, in which a community made art in a housing scheme; taking owenership of the process from start to finish.

We talked about how to avoid being “patronising”… about how “busking in” to communities and thrusting art upon them doesn't work - about how people/audiences shouldn't show up simply because artists are there - that for art to change lives, it needs to be relevant and meaningful for the community it is trying to serve.

We talked about how to evaluate and document reach in different ways - how to not let someone's experience of a piece of art be influenced by a data card or questionnaire being thrust at an audience member as soon as they leave the theatre/space/place.

We talked about how to foster a deeper and extended dialogue that might reveal a life-changing experience.

We talked about using digital tools to expand reach - to let audiences know about what we do and also to respond to it in a non-curatorial space… we talked about eliciting thoughtful responses from audiences, and handing over ownership of programmes and spaces. We talked about putting money and resources into the roots rather than the top - and that these sums needn't be huge for there to be real rewards; both as artists and as audience members.


Community, Audience, ephemeral, Resources, artists, community, audience, roots, Funding, funding, resources, life, art