- Centre for Cultural Partnerships - Theses
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ItemNon-representational geographies of therapeutic art makingBOYD, CANDICE ( 2015-11-12)This thesis is an exploration of the non-representational geographies of therapeutic art making, drawing on practice-led research methods from the creative arts. It is, therefore, interdisciplinary. The work comprises two examinable components—a major project (creative work) and the written dissertation. After a review of three major bodies of literature, the thesis outlines a series of geographical engagements with the practices of visual art making, poetic permaculture, subterranean graffiti, fibre art, and dance therapy. The ‘findings’ are presented in two empirical chapters. The first is a collection of poetry designed to animate fieldwork encounters, and the second describes a body of creative work that was audienced at a PhD art exhibition in 2013. In its entirety, the work attempts to think therapeutic activity at the boundary of the body and extending outward—into the cosmos—rather than inward, in support of a fragile ego. Informed by contemporary feminism, Guattari’s ethico-aesthetic paradigm, Whitehead’s process-oriented ontology, and Deleuze’s thinking on sense and ‘the event’, the work reclaims therapeutics as ecological, spatial, and material.
ItemBeyond voice poverty: new economies of voice and the frontiers of speech, listening and recognitionDE SOUZA, POPPY ( 2015)The unsettling effects of neoliberal culture - with its shaking loose of the social connections that bind individuals to each other, instead placing them within increasingly competitive and entrepreneurial markets - together with the uncertainties that come with new configurations of technology, bring with them an urgent desire to reclaim a sense of agency over the structures and processes that shape daily life. As narratives of ‘democratisation’ and ‘decline’ emerge as the dominant tropes for thinking through these complex cultural shifts, voice has gained increasing currency as a frame and intervention into some of these impacts. Yet while both critical and popular accounts of voice are generally organised around these two divergent narratives, each is in no way distinct from the apparent paradox at the heart of advanced liberal democracies: specifically, that individual liberty and freedom of expression are contingent upon distributed structures of power and control that shape the contours of what is and is not ‘narratable’; who is heard and who listens; and designate which categories of voice are made to matter. This thesis takes up an interdisciplinary frame to intervene in these debates and investigates the shifting meanings, practices and values of voice in the context of this contemporary landscape. It critiques prevailing notions of voice grounded in an intersubjective, relational ethics and unpacks some of the assumptions, values and norms that underpin both celebratory and crisis narratives. Part Two develops a framework for voice that accounts for new attachments and relationships between the categories of speech, listening and recognition as they take on new formations. I draw on several recent ‘limit cases’ that complicate existing notions of voice, and foreground emerging sites of struggle where neoliberal, informational and biopolitical forces intersect with modes of everyday cultural production and technosocial practice in distinctly provocative ways. These include: the Occupy Wall Street (OWS), digital storytelling (DST), free and open source software (F/OSS) and Quantified Self (QS) movements; the United States PRISM program; and the Right to be Forgotten. Despite attempts to re-humanise voice through a persistent appeal to the ethics of social relations, it is my contention that any account of voice must also account for the ways that speech, listening and recognition are increasingly attached to objects of value that circulate within new economies of voice. As such, I present a provisional framework for thinking about voice beyond its historical arrangement, one that pushes beyond current notions of voice poverty, towards new frontiers of voice.
ItemMeanings and measures of urban cultural policy: Local government, art and community wellbeing in Australia and New ZealandBLOMKAMP, EMMA ( 2013)Local government in Australia and New Zealand has long contributed to the cultural life of communities, particularly by providing services and infrastructure for creative activities. Through a historical literature review and four contemporary case studies, this research explores some of the many goals, values, techniques and traditions that are embedded in local government arts programmes and cultural policies. Drawing on the theories of governmentality and wellbeing as capabilities, this thesis argues that urban cultural policy in Australia and New Zealand is fundamentally driven by local government’s rationale of providing the conditions in which community members can live free and flourishing lives. Faced with increasing demands for accountability and evidence-based policy and planning, local government officers are endeavouring to articulate and assess arts programming and cultural policy in relation to broad aspirations. Their efforts are complicated by the multiple definitions of culture, competing rationales for supporting the arts and the difficulty of quantifying unpredictable and intangible results, not to mention the myriad other activities and agencies that shape cultural community outcomes. Cultural policy evaluation is important for learning and legitimation, but it presents significant challenges for local government. This thesis examines how municipalities in Australia and New Zealand develop and implement cultural plans and services in this complex environment. Exploring the problems of meaning and measurement that arise from certain discourses and practices, it demonstrates the value of an interpretive approach to cultural policy analysis. The case study research shows that local government officers require an array of skills and different types of knowledge to design, deliver and evaluate urban cultural policy. Their discourses and practices are shaped by overlapping traditions of local governance and multiple forms of cultural value. Community wellbeing indicators are put forth as a relevant tool for local government calculations, but evaluating the results of arts and cultural policy requires more than the careful construction of meaningful measures. Effective evaluation of urban cultural policy would recognise the significance of numerous policy frames and multiple forms of context-dependent knowledge.
Item“Naming the world”: a relational approach to representational practice in socially-engaged arts and cultural indicatorsBadham, Marnie Kay ( 2012)This thesis argues for a relational approach to forms of representational practice, offering meaningful ways for communities to engage in self-determination by “naming the world.” This approach challenges the cultural hierarchies of both formal government policy benchmarks and contemporary art paradigms, by offering a more localized and situated approach to represent local values and aesthetics. Paulo Freire’s conscientização is used as a framing device to identify this relational approach in two forms of representational practice: socially-engaged arts and the development of cultural indicators. This pedagogy of critical consciousness offers a dialogic space to reconcile real world contradictions and prevailing mythologies. Thus, “naming the world” is understood as a process of representing one’s self, shifting from object-hood to a position of subjectivity. The thesis positions these representational practices as both method and subject of inquiry through the exploration of two practice-led case studies. The studies investigate the development of local cultural indicators in two unique contexts: the increasingly gentrified and socially diverse City of Port Phillip, Melbourne, Australia and the North Central neighbourhood in Regina, Saskatchewan, identified in media reporting as “Canada’s Worst Neighbourhood.” The thesis concludes by emphasizing the inextricable link between aesthetics and ethics in these forms of representational practice and that cultures are neither closed nor static, but in fact, multi-layered, evolving and unique; this has specific implications for the field of cultural indicators. Comparative studies are illuminated as fundamentally problematic, and instead, a new relational approach to contextually rich and community-driven processes is mandated.