by Ben Rogaly
In this article Ben Rogaly examines the idea that community is best understood through the concept of micro-sociality, as a verb, as ongoing social relations in action, rather than a thing to be possessed, lacked or lost. Such an emphasis on already-existing relations has consequences for the conduct of publicly-funded interventions including socially engaged research projects. This article tells a part of the story of one such project in Peterborough, England in the 2010s. If the project was counter-cultural in working with what was already happening in the city, rather than seeking to proselytize a culturally specific view of citizenship and the arts, it also faced its own political choices regarding whose work to accompany and how. Initiated by a group of outsider academics and artists, it involved transformations at varying scales, both fleeting and longer-lasting, often unplanned.
The article takes a look at the project’s own micro-sociality in the choices city residents made to accompany its intentions and practices. Like other people, university researchers and artists are seen to depend on social relations, including the commitment and care of people they work with.
Read and download the article here.