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Keynote Speakers

Lisanne Gibson

Lisanne Gibson is based at the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester in the UK. She has worked in the field of cultural policy studies for 25 years and is interested in cultural participation and stratification, cultural values, cultural development, as well as nineteenth and early twentieth century histories of cultural policy. She is the author of 2 monographs, an edited book, has guest edited 5 special journal issues, and published numerous articles on these subjects. She is also a member of the editorial committee of the International Journal of Cultural Policy. Lisanne is currently working on the 6 year Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project Understanding Everyday Participation- Articulating Cultural Value (2012-2018).

Museums and Participation - Who Goes.. (and who doesn’t?)

Visitor figures, visitor studies and sociological studies show that the profile of the audience for museums is overwhelmingly predicted by an individual’s level of income and education. Museum visitors are white and middle class. This is so even when you take account of gender, ethnicity, age and wealth. Furthermore, visitors to museums are part of a minority of the population who engage with State funded cultural activities on any regular basis. Recent work on this in the UK has shown that this minority is just 8.7% of the population (Taylor 2016). Given that the aim of leading edge museum practice is to effect social change serious acknowledgement of these limitations and a rethinking of how museums offer service to the majority must inform museum practice now and into the future. This presentation will reflect on some of these stark facts and using excerpts from interviews discuss some of the emerging findings from the ‘Understanding Everyday Participation’ project and the implications for the museum sector and indeed the cultural sector more broadly.

Shannon Jackson

Shannon Jackson is the Associate Vice Chancellor for the Arts and Design and Hadidi Professor in the Arts and Humanities at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research focuses on two domains: collaboration across visual, performing, and media art forms and the role of the arts in social institutions and social change. Her books include The Builders Association: Performance and Media in Contemporary TheaterSocial Works: Performing Art and Supporting Publics, and Public Servants: Art and the Crisis of the Commons, co-edited with Johanna Burton and Dominic Willsdon. 

Civic Re-Enactment and Public Re-Assembly

Re-Enactment has become a ubiquitous 21st century process, one that dynamizes populist ritual and as well as artworld experimentation in participatory aesthetics.  Arguably, however, participants have very different understandings of what re-enactment is and who it might serve.  Art institutions also seem to deploy the practice in service of a range of goals—whether to recall history, to advance a conceptual art project, or to build community.  After surveying a range of possibilities, this lecture considers what happens when re-enactment is lodged inside civic processes.  What happens when civic processes—in all of their mundanity, bureaucracy, regression, and progression—are re-enacted? And what is the relation amongst aesthetic re-enactments and the other technological and policy domains explored at Cultures of Participation? Inspired by UC-Berkeley’s research platform on Public (Re) Assembly — and using work of Aaron Landsman and Paul Ramirez Jonas as touchstones — we will ask whether the concept of the “civic” is mourned or resuscitated in the moment of re-enactment.  What new things can we learn about re-enactment and participation when the “civic sphere” is the object? What new things can we learn about our own participation in the civic sphere when re-enactment is our method of investigation? 

Zizi Papacharissi

Zizi Papacharissi is Professor and Head of the Communication Department, Professor of Political Science at the University of Illinois-Chicago, and University Scholar at the University of Illinois System. Her work focuses on the social and political consequences of online media. Her books include Affective Publics: Sentiment, Technology and Politics (Oxford University Press), winner of the National CommunicatIon Association Human Communication and Technology Division Best Book Award, A Private Sphere: Democracy in a Digital Age (Polity Press, 2010), A Networked Self: Identity, Community, and Culture on Social Network Sites (Routledge, 2010), and Journalism and Citizenship: New Agendas (Taylor & Francis, 2009).  

Affective Publics: News Storytelling, Sentiment and Twitter

Social media excite the public imagination with their potential for democratization, newer forms of news storytelling and social change. Digitally aided waves of civil unrest invite speculation on whether social media make or break the pace of revolutionary movements. Focusing on the Arab Spring and Occupy, this talk begins by examining the role and meaning of social media, and Twitter specifically, for the social networks driving these movements. Data from recent studies undertaken at the University of Illinois at Chicago are presented in explicating the relevance of the platform for contemporary news storytelling, framing, and gatekeeping. The talk concludes with an emphasis on the concept of affective publics, and how these public formations sustain all forms of mobilization, including recent waves of populism.