Focusing on urban development, the panel discusses projects of collaborative place-making on the intersection of art, research and politics which initiate the participatory involvement of local inhabitants. How do these projects navigate the diverging interests between the stakeholders involved?
Since its emergence in the late 1960s, "participation" has become a key concept in various fields of social action and cultural production. Our panel focuses on urban development as a field of action, where participatory strategies have gained popularity, employed today on a regular basis - often through collaborations of stakeholders as diverse as public administrations, urban activists, artists, scientists, and local inhabitants. Critical reflections on the following issues of these prominent, yet ambivalent collaborations between art, qualitative research and politics are invited:
- What distinct methods of participation have been developed within and between the fields of politics/activism, art and qualitative research in order to involve local residents to participate in urban development processes?
- How do diverging interests and power-relations - with respect to the unequally distributed political, economic, social and cultural capital - play out between the different actors? What kind of relations are produced for whom and why?
- Who moderates the heterogeneous communication process and who decides, finally, what to do? How is representation negotiated and enacted in the final form of participatory projects?
- What visual, emotional, symbolic expressions do the different actors create or adopt to produce a feeling of belonging to a place, a group or even movement? What role does art, visual and media culture play as social glue between the often multi-located actors?
- How do anthropologists define their multiple encoded roles as "participant observers", civic participants or even activists within these contexts of both, collaboration and conflict?