‘Potency and Potential: creative connections in interstitial spaces’ – learning from encounters between Latin American and UK artist, activist and researcher communities.

  • Hilary Ramsden (Lecturer)
  • Anni Raw (Organiser)
  • Victoria Jupp Kina (Lecturer)

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Festival/Exhibition


We sought to bring together 6 communities to learn from different perspectives on how creative facilitation and arts participation can create possibilities for change: Together we created a series of collaborative research encounters, to explore the atmospheres in community (arts/creative) workshops or spaces, and what enables such spaces to carry the possibility of change, or to inspire people to work together for change. Participating community members were drawn from academic, practitioner and activist communities in Brazil and the UK. The style of the research project was 'action research' so that we explored the question together both through discussion and through trying out different practices while we were together.

Our key findings to date are that there are several important factors in creating an environment that can be 'potent' enough to catalyse collective action or change. These include:
•Creating a space that is away from everyday distractions;
•Ensuring the space is comfortable enough to allow people to reflect (which is an activity that is not possible if individuals do not feel they can relax); however that also includes new experiences, disorientation, being stretched, and a variety of approaches or engagement styles;
•Building significant levels of mutual trust between those in the space, including by carefully challenging obstacles to trust: This can be achieved indirectly through collaborative creative activity, so that issues can unfold without confrontation and an ensuing loss of trust;
•Sharing values and passions for the aims of each others' work, and sensing each others' high levels of commitment (as a trust building measure as well as motivating factor);
•Exploring concrete next steps, and sound communication mechanisms that suit people's needs and habits, in order to allow future collective action to take place.

Our research produced new ideas on how to collaborate transnationally at community level, to produce work and joint initiatives with local societal impacts (socio-economic impacts for local communities, and for cultural practitioners).

Collaborations include piloting different approaches to the execution of service delivery (social and health services)
Period1 Mar 201528 Feb 2016