Artistic practices in communities: forging new vocabulary to think about the world

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Artistic practice in communities in Portugal has gained much visibility in the last decades. The positive impacts of these practices in reducing social exclusion has been acknowledge and increasingly supported by municipalities, non-governmental organizations and cultural and artistic institutions. In this presentation I discuss the work of two artistic projects developed in the peripheral areas of Lisbon studied during my fieldwork between 2014 and 2015. The aim was to analyze the perceptions about the collaborative work between professional artists and the groups engaged in the artistic process. To the artists involved, the reach to the communities as a site of inquiry and reflection came from a desire to understand and/or interfere with social reality. For both artists and community collaborators, to participate in this process allows the development of "vocabulary" to "talk about" and understand "the state of the world". The forging of new vocabulary and common language puts these practices in a position of imminence as the anthropologist Garcia Canclini puts it by experimentation of new ways of being together and possible outcomes. In the global contemporary scenario were grand narratives that encompass social reality come short, the work of these artists opens a space of action, opportunity and hope from small scale experiences that contributes to a reconciliation or re-enchantment with the world. With these examples I defend that an anthropological perspective is important in order to amplify the way this processes are explained, expressed and understood.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018
EventRAI2018 Conference: Art, Materiality and Representation - British Museum/SOAS, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Jun 20183 Jun 2018


ConferenceRAI2018 Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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