A Restless Art – François Matarasso – Blog – The Complexities of Cultural Democracy

When I saw Owen Kelly in March, he generously gave me a copy of his new book, Cultural Democracy Now, and urged me to give him honest feedback. I started reading it on the journey from Helsinki, but hadn’t made much progress since, partly because of personal events, but also because it’s a challenging read. It is beautifully written, in Owen’s clear and sympathetic voice, but his analysis of cultural democracy draws on a huge range of complex philosophical, psychological, economic, political and ideas. René Descartes, Susan Blackmore, Desmond Tutu, Alan Watts and Edgar Rice Burroughs appear alongside many other names.

In Part One, Owen writes about selfhood and identity, arguing that we become human beings through cultural processes of socialisation, and that culture is much less about individuals than communities. I think he’s broadly right, though there are aspects I see differently and my path to that place has different way markers (less science and more practice). The focus on ‘we’ is one reason why I still use the term ‘community art’.

See the full post at the link below


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