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Title: Digital butterflies of the backstreets :participatory art and the digital divide
Authors: Jones, Benjamin David
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Through this practice-based research I interrogate the terms community art, activism, social and digital media, as well as community and place. It is an investigation into both theoretical and practical aspects of community art practice and its connection to national and local policies on community, arts and digital media. It considers the increasing role digital technology and social media have in communities and community organisations, in particular under the guise of austerity, and how community organisations (do not) use social media and digital technology to encourage participation. It considers my position and role as an artist, curator and resident within the community that I live in and how, through becoming active and engaged with the place, I can develop a strategy for sustainable and long-term social engagement. This practice based Ph.D. takes as a starting point the stalled housing regeneration, due to the halting of the Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder, in the community where I live. The research builds upon my experience of working as an artist, curator and arts educator since the turn of the millennium where, under consecutive governments the purpose of contemporary art and its educational use has either been to effect social change (New Labour) or its economic value (current coalition government). Through the creation of a series of participatory and digital engagement events and workshops the research interrogates and considers the connections and conflict between the ‘physical’ (public space) and the digital and supposedly ‘open’ (the online). The research will be of use to those who feel an increasing and urgent need to engage with their own community as practitioners as well as community members.
Description: Phd Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Arts and Cultures

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