Into Action: the Politics of Play and Participation


Friday 20 May 2016, 10.00 – 16.00
Primary, 33 Seely Road, Nottingham NG7 1NU
Cost: £5 + booking fee (including lunch)

This one-day event at Primary, is inspired by the radical political roots of Action Space – a collective of artists, performers, dancers and musicians working in the community, set up in 1968 in London by Mary and Ken Turner. In common with other collective groups committed to the idea of art as a tool of cultural democracy and social change, Action Space took art onto the streets, blending art and play through the use of environmental inflatable structures. Over the last couple of decades, participative art projects have become commonplace but has art lost its capacity to be radical? In particular, this one-day event asks: How can ‘play’ be political? How can participative projects generate agency? What is the potential for community projects to be radical today?

A series of talks and interactive workshops will explore these questions. The day kicks off with materials from Huw Wahl’s current film project, which explores Action Space through archive research, interviews with participants, contemporary artists and theorists and the recreation of an inflatable structure.

Contributors include:

Gillian Whiteley (Politicized Practice Research Group, School of the Arts, Loughborough University)

Simon Connor (Director and sound designer of the Action Space documentary)

Barby Asante (Artist, Curator and Educator)

Anna Hart (AIR at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London )

Amanda Ravetz (Manchester School of Art)

Antoinette Burchill (School of the Arts, Loughborough University)

Zoë Petersen and Sarah Green (School of the Arts, Loughborough University)

Ian Nesbitt (Artist and Filmmaker)

Alison Denholm and Alma Solarte-Tobón (City Arts, Nottingham)


This event is part-funded by School of the Arts, English and Drama as part of the Critical Citizenship, Activism and Art project, an initiative of the Politicized Practice and Anarchism Research Groups at Loughborough University.