Art Beyond Participation – BE PART Symposium as a part of the 2023 Homo Novus festival

After four years of exploring the ethics of artistic participation, the BE PART partners, artists, community members and audiences will gather in Riga for a final Symposium. BE PART is a project initiated by a network of 10 EU and non-EU partners that critically explores the politics and practices of participation in the arts field. From collaborative art-making and sharing to decentralised governance models involving local citizens, artists and policy makers. 

The Symposium aims to highlight projects from around the network, invite provocations from the participants and provides further inspiration to dive deeper into an ethical framework of co-authorship. Collectively for three days we will listen, talk, discuss, watch, participate, dance, sing and toast to the future. 

International Festival of Contemporary Theatre Homo Novus (LV) is joined in BE PART  by our collaborators: Santarcangelo dei Teatri (Santarcangelo, Italy), Artsadmin (London, UK), Scottish Sculpture Workshop (Lumsden, UK) VIERNULVIER (Gent, Belgium) URB festival (Helsinki, Finland) Festival de Marseille (Marseille, France) City of Women (Ljubljana, Slovenia) L’Art Rue (Tunis, Tunisia) Cork Midsummer Festival (Cork, IE).

All events are FREE and hosted at the Homo Novus Festival Centre, Kaļķu iela 24, Riga

Wednesday 06.09.

14:00 Feel for the Game – Keynote by Darren O’Donnel (CA), artistic director of Mammalian Diving Reflex. Strategies for co-authoring the cultural sector with young people who couldn’t really give two shits about the cultural sector.

16:00 First Panel Notes from the Future with The Shake Down curators Ikars Graždanovičs, Karu Treij, Samuels Ozoliņš (LV) and Kiasma young curator Alex Mitiku (FI). In the last two years, several different projects within the BE PART network have given context, power and artistic freedom to young people. However, were the right frames in place to achieve true artistic freedom? 

17:30 Wrong Families – Festival School debrief. The Gob Squad (GB/DE) will run a 6-day workshop, sharing different strategies for co-creation, all framed by the concept of ‘wrong families’ and notions of collectivity. All Welcome!

21:00 ATLAS: The Publication Party. A small delegation of artistic and social laboratory ATLAS (BE) will come to Riga for their official presentation and they need your help!

Thursday, 07.09.

10:00 Kubakiya kile tuko (Remain What We Are) – Keynote by Joseph Kasau (CG), visual artist, filmmaker and author based in Lubumbashi. Joseph will introduce his practice through his collaboration on the  films Ulemu and Return, an epic journey by Rita Mukebo. The discussion will propose a lens in which to understand art as essentially functional, representing celebrations and rituals within communities.

11:30 Second Panel Community and identity by artist duo Barbara Lehtna (EE/LV) and Katrīna Dūka (LV). The artists will share their experience on working with identity-based communities in their piece In the Name of Love (2021) which was created with 8 local queer people.

14:00 The Book of Riga by Andy Field, Beckie Darlington (GB). A live book launch where the book’s young authors will present their prospects for the city to the Riga City Council. 

16:00 Critical Network – BE PART Protocol Presentation. The critical network will organise different meetings during the Riga assembly that will be centered around the building of toolboxes departing from the protocol. We will start by reflecting on the whole protocol process, its usefulness, necessity and efficiency for the different participants and organisations. 

17:30 Wrong Families – Festival School debrief. (See above)

19:00 Film Beyond Participation – A glimpse into the fieldworks from beyond. The Screening program invites a gaze into the process and the outcomes of many collaborations from across the BE PART network. We dance in Tunis, Sing Ode to Joy (through the unique perspective of Deaf culture) and meet young traveler artists. After the screening there will be a short Q&A with the artists present at the Symposium. 

21:00 Be water, my friends – a performative dance by Mara Oscar Cassiani (IT) made to unify the people as a transgenerational open ritual, inspired by Bruce Lee’s “homonymous” monologue. We will be water, we will be the river, we will be the same dance. 

Friday, 08.09.

10:00 Artist Workshop Erased Gazes by artistic collective of the Politics of Touch. In 1992, soon after Slovenia broke away from Yugoslavia, the administrative bodies of the Republic of Slovenia arbitrarily and illegally erased more than 25,000 people from the register of permanent residents. To protest the injustices caused by the Erasure, the Artistic collective of the Politics of Touch project created the Erased Gazes memorial canvas. 

14:00 Third Panel Community as Locality – heading towards the more than human. This panel will explore the techniques of collaborating with non-humans and the humans that interact with the landscapes that also contribute to the complex make up of the locality. Panel features: One step at a time like this (AU), Vinny Jones (NL), Zoe Palmer (UK) and Linda Krumina (LV).

15:30 Workshop Beyond Participation? – Reflecting on BE PART. Sophie Hope and Henry Mulhall (GB) will present their research methodology inviting participants to reflect on the changing meanings, understandings, motivations and experiences of participation, power-sharing, co-creation and collaboration, asking the audience to play a game to explore what lies beyond, and behind their own experiences of participation.

17:30 Wrong Families – Festival School debrief. (See above)

20:00 Symposium Closing Party – QUEEREEOKÉ supported by members of the Baltic Drag King Collective. Performative means of spontaneous backup choreography, singing and show effects, memorable moments with life-changing potential.

Implemented as part of project BE PART. Supported by EU programme Creative Europe