Eco-social Practice: Advancing collaborative artistic co-creative methods to promote eco-social regeneration

Laura Donkers

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Art does not have to be separate from ordinary life and ordinary activities, and can be a supportive tool catalysing shared societal actions that can improve lives. Artists who work in this way use their art as a relational activity to advance personal and social transformations. This involves changing how everyday practices are perceived so that they are no longer seen as just inconsequential aspects of daily living.

Eco-Social Practice is developed by artists working in the public realm of politics, environment and social life. These artists develop understandings of ‘how to’ work with their communities by living with them and learning from them: joining in the web of group life. This requires adopting a listening paradigm so that the voices of others can be heard, aiding the recognition and airing of complex issues from an insider’s perspective and spawning a sense of empowerment in those who are listened to. Through this affiliation a new kind of self emerges that is intertwined with the other: A dialogic relationship that acknowledges interconnectedness and interdependence. Through projects that promote interconnectedness across the whole ecosystem, communities with long-standing relationships to their surroundings are able to co-create meaningful futures where sustainability of both the environment and its inhabitants are enhanced. This facilitates long-term regeneration, challenging the politics of social isolation to find the means to build more liveable, ecological futures; adopting tactics of togetherness: a making-with practice, ‘sympoesis’, rather than ‘auto-poiesis’, or working alone.


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