What new bonds can be forged between artists and the general public, so that culture can “make” society?
“The amateur artists, ages 4 to 92, involved in the Babel 8.3 project, danced with a level of tolerance and recognition of the cultural and aesthetic identity of the other that proves what can be achieved when cultural, generational and social diversity are not perceived as a problem, but rather as the greatest potential of 21st-century societies.”
Director of Education at the OECD
Since the pioneering move by Guy Darmet to recognise hip hop at the Danse Ville Danse event (1992- 2001), followed by the creation of the Biennale Défilé parade in 1996, and the new Babel 8.3 programme, directed by Dominique Hervieu in 2015, Lyon has been at the forefront of the artistic experimentation that connects artists to the public. These participatory events have enabled thousands of people to experience new heights of personal expression, imagination and liberation. Today, artists and cultural institutions bear new responsibilities to counter the devastating consequences of insularity, sectarianism and populism. Artistic creation is in fact an idé means for overcoming rigid thinking and attitudes towards identity.
When people have appreciated other ideas and perspectives through art, they gain access to a durable, open and democratic value system. We will raise a central question today: can culture “make” society?
Libération, the Métropole de Lyon, the Lyon Dance Biennale and Maison de la Danse are organising a national conference to examine this issue and explore the functioning of our cultural institutions and their position in our society. Key issues will be addressed, including social diversity in theatre attendance, the role of artists, the stakes inherent to participatory projects and art in the public space. Designed by the editorial team at Libération, this event will focus on four themes in debates featuring artists, sociologists, policy makers, journalists, educators and researchers. It is open to all: people interested in these ideas, professionals from the world of culture, cultural initiatives, popular education, public education and city policy.
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