François Matarasso – Building Capabilities: Rethinking the social value of culture

Today will see the third performance of O Tempo (Somos Nós) , “Time (It’s Us), this time at the Gulbenkian Concert Hallin Lisbon, with the fourth and final one tomorrow. Sixteen inmates from the Leiria Youth Prison will perform in Lisbon, along with some of their relatives; sixteen more will take part remotely, using the Co-Creation Stage technology developed by Vicomtech. Last week, the Gulbenkian Foundation also hosted a conference at which SAMP spoke about the reasons and methods behind their work at the prison, alongside other contributions from TRACTION partners and community projects in Portugal.

One reason for organising the event was to present some of the new thinking that has come out of TRACTION’s research in co-creation, and specifically about the complex issue of its social impact. The conference was watched live online by over 300 people, and the presentations will be on the Gulbenkian website once they have been interpreted and subtitled. In the meantime, here’s the text of the speech I gave to introduce the discussion, summarise my evolving thinking about the value of participatory art. The photographs on this page are by Gil Lemos, from the first performances of O Tempo (Somos Nós), and are included with thanks to SAMP.

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