These next few posts offer up some short reading & research lists, pulled together for our recent second Peer to Peer session, held at Theatre in the Mill, Bradford (many thanks to all the staff for their help).

They’re based on our own highly partial set of interests, current practice and research. We wanted to share them in case you find them stimulating and of use.

Sarah Spanton Reading/Research List

Invisible Hand: Art in the Transition to Another Economy, by Charlie Tims and Shelagh Wright, commissioned by IETM and the British Council, 2013, to be found at

  • Very interesting approach to thinking about the financial crisis and looking at artists/artists groups who are making work across Europe that seeks to critique and influence policy makers and power holders. If you’re strapped for time the short introduction is well-worth a read.

Laurie Anderson, Trisha Brown, Gordon Matta Clark: Pioneers of the Downtown New York Scene, Prestel Verlag, Munich in association with Barbican Art Gallery, 2011

  • Great exhibition/catalogue. Focussed on seminal works from Trisha Brown, Gordon Matta Clark and Laurie Anderson who’s works are connected by performance, the urban, found spaces and the body. Although the works were made 40 years ago and in New York, they are still highly relevant to the UK today. Includes Brown’s ‘Roof Piece’ and ‘(Wo)man walking down the side of a building’ and Matta Clark’s ‘Open House’, the restaurant ‘Food’.

Roof Piece - 600

Image credit: Trisha Brown ‘Roof Piece’

Jeanne Van Heeswijk –

  • How can an artist be an instrument for the collective reimagining of daily environments, given the complexity of our societies? This is the question that artist Jeanne van Heeswijk, of the Netherlands, considers when deciding how to employ her work to improve communities. Van Heeswijk believes communities need to co-produce their own futures. That’s why she embeds herself, for years at a time, in communities from Rotterdam to Liverpool, working with them to improve their neighbourhoods and empowering them to design their own futures—not wait for local authorities to foist upon them urban planning schemes which rarely take embedded culture into account. (Text taken from the website).

The Well Connected Community; a networked approach to community development, By Alison Gilchrist, The Policy Press, 2009

  • An in depth look at what community development is in the UK. Gilchrist is an authority in the field.

The RAX Active Citizenship Toolkit: GCSE Citizen Studies, Skills and Processes, by Jamie Kelsey-Fry and Anita Dhillon, New Internationalist Publications Ltd, 2010

  • A useful practical toolkit with exercises and activities to help think through notions and issues around citizenship with groups, focussed on young people but transferable.

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