Where Strangers Meet – Art in the Public Realm

Claire Doherty, Gabriella Gómez-Mont, David Olusoga, Papa Omotayo, Jay Pather and Beatrice Pembroke

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Can participation in arts and cultural experiences in the public realm catalyse change for a society? The panel will consider the changing face of arts in the public realm, both in terms of how it is produced and what it symbolises, bringing experience from their international work. As traditional monuments and static representations of art are challenged and supplanted by spontaneous, unannounced artist and citizen-led interventions, the panel will discuss what is the value of participation in the public realm? How can the artist act as change agent and provocateur, and can community and individual movements influence cultural and social policy?

This event marks the launch of Where Strangers Meet – Art in the Public Realm edited by Claire Doherty for the British Council, the first in a new digital essay series exploring emergent forms of participation and cultural experience in the public realm. Where Strangers Meet brings together some of the latest thinking from around the world. Contributors to the collection include: Paul Heritage, director of People’s Palace Projects, on With One Voice, Rio; Liv Little, editor-in-chief of Gal-Dem, interviewing Cuban artist Tania Bruguera; Shriya Malhotra, former member of Moscow-based Partizaning; Lynn Froggett from the University of Central Lancashire Psychosocial Unit; Cairo-based architect and urban planner Omar Nagati; Jay Pather, former director of Infecting the City (Cape Town); Jen Stein, Professor of Design Futures, UWE; Karolin Tampere on Amy Franceschini and Futurefarmers, Oslo; writer Tony White on his library collaboration with Blast Theory in London; Gabriella Gómez-Mont from Laboratorio para la Ciudad, Mexico City; Papa Omatayo, an architect based in Lagos and London; architect Diba Salam on Dubai; and historian David Olusoga on the debates surrounding the removal of statues.

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