Cheeky little monkeys: Emancipation and art in regards to education versus participation
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Schrag, A. (2019) Cheeky little monkeys: Emancipation and art in regards to education versus participation. Engage, 42: Ethics and Activism, pp. 38-47.
The inception of the Social Exclusion Unit in 1997 by the recently elected New Labour government saw participatory art projects being applied to the issues of community cohesion and social inclusion with the explicit aim of the artistic works to seek consensus and eradicate social division. However, society is inherently dissensual, it is wrought with friction which can never be dissolved and as Rosalyn Deutsche clarifies: 'Conflict, division, and instability, then, do not ruin the democratic public sphere; they are conditions of its existence’. This dichotomy between intention and reality reveals the issues of power at play, and the complicated problems related to the instrumentalisation of artistic works within the social realm.