1st Edition

Participatory Arts in International Development

Edited By Paul Cooke, Inés Soria-Donlan Copyright 2020
    266 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    266 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores the practical delivery of participatory arts projects in international development. Bringing together an interdisciplinary group of academics, international development professionals and arts practitioners, the book engages honestly with the competing challenges faced by the different groups of people involved.

    Participatory arts are becoming increasingly popular in international development circles, fuelled in part by the increased accessibility of audio-visual media in the digital age, and also by the move towards participatory discourses in the wake of the UN’s Agenda 2030. The book asks:

    • What do participatory arts projects look like in practice, and why are they used as an international development tool?
    • How can we develop practical and sustainable development projects on the ground, localising best practice according to cultural, economic and linguistic contexts?
    • What are the enablers of, and barriers to, successful participatory initiatives, and how can we evaluate past projects to learn and feed into future projects?

    Written to appeal to both academics and practitioners, this book would also be suitable for teaching on courses related to participatory development, community arts, and culture and development.

    Introduction: ‘Post-Participatory’ Arts for the ‘Post-Development’ Era’ Paul Cooke and Inés Soria-Donlan

    Part I: Organisational Perspectives

    1. Imagining Power: Development, Participation and Creativity Martin Keat

    2. Reflections on Practice: Integrating Creative Arts into INGOs to Promote Participation, Activism and Alternative Development Futures Kate Newman and Kate Carroll

    3. Beyond the Development Imaginary: Alternative Policy in Brazil and Colombia Simon T. Dancey and Emily Morrison

    4. Challenging the Message of the Medium: Scaling Participatory Arts Projects and the Creativity Agenda in Kenya Paul Cooke, Simon Peter Otieno and Jane Plastow

    Part II: The Role of the Researcher in Development

    5. When Elvis Dances: Activating Community Knowledge through Participatory Creative Practices in Santiago, Chile Simon Popple

    6. Fragments on Heroes, Artists and Interventions: Challenging Gender Ideology and Provoking Active Citizenship through the Arts in Kosovo Linda Gusia, Nita Luci, Lura Pollozhani and Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers

    7. Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP): Youth and Participatory Arts in Rwanda Ananda Breed

    8. Arts, Education and Reconciliation in Cambodia: Sociological Perspectives Peter Manning and Sayana Ser

    9. Historical Research as an Advocacy Tool in India William Gould and Dakxin Bajrange

    10. Developing Dialogue through Participatory Design and Imaginative Graphic-Ethnography Paul Wilson

    Part III: Exploring the Art Produced in Development

    11. Filming the Margins: Documentary Film, Participation and the Poetics of Resistance in Contemporary Brazil Stephanie Dennison and Gilberto Alexandre Sobrinho

    12. Taking the Product Seriously: Questions of Voice, Politics and Aesthetics in Participatory Video Paul Cooke, Sinethemba Makanya, Inés Soria-Donlan and Daniela Wegrostek

    13. Researching like an Artist: Disrupting Participatory Arts-Based Methods in Uganda and Bangladesh Emilie Flower and Ruth Kelly


    Paul Cooke is Centenary Chair of World Cinemas at the University of Leeds, UK. He is currently the Principal Investigator on Changing the Story, a project looking at the ways in which heritage and arts organisations can help young people to shape civil society in post-conflict countries.

    Inés Soria-Donlan is Project Manager of Changing the Story at the University of Leeds. Since 2008 Inés has worked internationally across the academic, cultural and creative sectors as a producer, project manager, creative practitioner and researcher, with a continual focus on youth, diversity and arts-led participation.

    "This important and timely book brings together arts practitioners, academics and senior research and policy figures from NGOs with first-hand experience of the power of the arts to disrupt and refashion neoliberal development paradigms. They analyse projects that put a premium upon indigenous knowledge derived from grassroots participation as an antidote to the colonial models, releasing forces of self-development in order that different futures may be imagined where equality and social justice are not sacrificed to short-term profits. While the book is a significant resource for makers of development policy, it also reminds us of Arnold Wesker’s dictum: ‘Not to be a poet is the worst of our miseries’." — Tim Prentki, Emeritus Professor of Theatre for Development, University of Winchester, UK