Participatory Arts in International Development: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Participatory Arts in International Development

1st Edition

Edited by Paul Cooke, Inés Soria-Donlan


288 pages | 30 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780367024970
pub: 2019-08-27
Available for pre-order
Hardback: 9780367024963
pub: 2019-08-27
Available for pre-order

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This book explores the practical delivery of participatory arts projects for 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 community 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 both to academics and practitioners, this book would also be suitable for teaching on courses related to participatory development, community arts, and culture and development.

Table of Contents

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-EthnographyPaul 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

About the Editors

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 University of Leeds. Since 2008 Inés has worked internationally across the academic, cultural, and creative industries as a producer, project manager, creative practitioner and researcher, with a continual focus on youth, diversity and arts-led participation.

About the Series

Rethinking Development

Rethinking Development offers accessible and thought-provoking overviews of contemporary topics in international development and aid. Providing original empirical and analytical insights, the books in this series push thinking in new directions by challenging current conceptualizations and developing new ones.  

This is a dynamic and inspiring series for all those engaged with today’s debates surrounding development issues, whether they be students, scholars, policy makers and practitioners internationally. These interdisciplinary books provide an invaluable resource for discussion in advanced undergraduate and postgraduate courses in development studies as well as in anthropology, economics, politics, geography, media studies and sociology.

To submit proposals, please contact the Development Studies Editor, Helena Hurd (

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Developing Countries