Participatory arts

An introduction to participatory arts projects.

Participatory Arts?
Participatory arts includes a broad range of practice where people collaborate with skilled artists to make or
interpret art. We acknowledge that 'best practice' participatory arts are often participant-led, enabling people to make or shape 'their own' art, validating peoples' own artistic perceptions, valuing cultural diversity, often valuing all genres equally and enabling inclusiveness. We acknowledge that participatory arts are complex and multi-layered and work in many different ways, engaging audiences, visitors, collaborators, makers and producers of art.

Notes from: The Arts Council of Ireland Summary Policy Paper

What is Participatory Video (PV)?
Participatory Video is a set of techniques to involve a group or community in shaping and creating their own film. The idea behind this is that making a video is easy and accessible, and is a great way of bringing people together to explore issues, voice concerns or simply to be creative and tell stories.

How does PV differ from documentary film making?
Whilst there are forms of documentary filmmaking that are able to sensitively represent the realities of their subjects' lives and even to voice their concerns, documentary films very much remain the authored products of a documentary filmmaker. As such, the subjects of documentaries rarely have any say (or sometimes have some limited say) in how they will ultimately be represented. By contrast, in PV the subjects make their own film in which they can shape issues according to their own sense of what is important, and they can also control how they will be represented. Additionally, documentary films are often expected to meet stringent aesthetic standards and are usually made with a large audience in mind. The PV process on the other hand, is less concerned with appearance than with content, and the films are usually made with particular audiences and objectives in mind.

Notes from: "Insights into Participatory Video: a handbook for the field" Nick and Chris Lunch 2006