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Exploring the compromise between participatory work and Art / 21 April 2014

photo of artist Lynn Weddle, photographed on a path in the countryside

Lynn in the Sussex countryside

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We are currently questioning what moving from a participatory to an artistic approach means for us as individuals? There is a real tension.

As experts in participatory practice we are keen to ensure that we bring to the project good facilitation, comfort and safety: fine tuned skills developed over the years and something that really matters to us both.

We've been trialing the process with ourselves and people we know and trust before we take it to our subject group, with interesting results. 

One person found the process of being filmed interesting, but the depiction difficult to watch… an uncomfortable, moving 'selfie'. Yet a selfie is something you can delete, that you have control over.

As a trial this is okay, we can comply, but what if a young person finds the outcome too revealing, painful, yet as an art piece it works beautifully? Our nature as participatory artists is to make that better, but as artists, this isn't so clear.

Next time we'll be opening up the process to you all to give it a go and you can post your own living portrait to our YouTube channel, for now follow us on twitter @Living_Portrait