In government parlance, being a citizen means being recognised as a ‘subject or national’. How does this play out in our everyday experiences and relations? What is at stake in re-imagining new forms of citizenship and modes of civic participation? How can the notion of citizenship – in our trans/post-national society – be reconfigured without subjection? How can it help us to transform our practices, behaviours and environments? The Re-Imagining Citizenship Activity Book and Living Archive are invitations to re-imagine what citizenship means in daily life. This invitation comes at a critical moment when the concept is being reshaped both by those who wish to reinforce the status quo and those who want to change it. We are looking for collective redefinitions of citizenship that are not predetermined by the language of duty or obligation, but instead challenged and broadened by active and artistic methods.
The activities here were inspired by an exhibition that was collectively curated by the Politicized Practice/ Anarchist/ Theatre Activism Research Groups based at Loughborough University, UK (May-October 2018). The exhibition centred on the concept of the citizen/ citizen-artist/ artist-citizen to explore the potential for art practices to re-imagine citizenship, and it brought together a range of audio-visual and text-based responses by artists, researchers and students from across and beyond the University. The activities published in both the Re-Imagining Citizenship Activity Book and in this online Living Archive expand the range of approaches and ideas garnered from that exhibition. In making them mobile, we also seek to make them even more interactive.
HOW TO USE THE ARCHIVE
Each contribution is listed by the author and/or title. The instructions encourage readers to create responses in any media. Contributors aim to facilitate responses in workshops, but responses can also come from individuals/groups working at their own accord. These responses are recorded and can be found underneath the set of instructions to which they react.
By building this archive of instructions and responses, we hope to create a resource for future learning interventions, local actions, community-based workshops and online initiatives. It will enable us to show how different publics might re-define citizenship using the innovative tools, methods and approaches they find in the activities. It will also enable us to gather grassroots re-definitions of citizenship and map them onto different geographical realities.
Our aim is to keep informing participants of our research findings. For example, while identity seems to be an obvious prism through which citizenship might be defined, equality or mutual aid might emerge as a more encompassing notion. We also expect different age groups to re-define citizenship differently and this project will continue to explore that aspect.
Re-imagine, participate, respond! Help us stimulate and share new, creative approaches to citizenship!