Our project manager, Daisy Hasan, has presented a paper at the conference ‘New Perspectives in Participatory Arts’ Conference at UEA on the 22nd of May. Her paper, part of the panel on Theatre and participation, was titled “Promises to Keep: Creative Collaboration and Interruption in a Northern Irish Theatre Project” and discussed the co-production elements of our project. You can find her abstract below.
Abstract: This presentation is based on an empirical investigation of how co-production between academic and community partners is unfolding in the ongoing AHRC-funded Creative Interruptions project. Drawing on my ‘bird’s-eye view’ of the project as its research manager and on in-depth interviews with participants, the presentation will provide a critical account of the challenges and opportunities that accompany creative collaboration. My case study is a collaboratively produced play which was shown in Belfast as part of an inquiry into ‘civil rights’ in Northern Ireland. Drawing on interviews with producers, community groups and academic partners, the presentation will extend discussions by contrasting the promise of collaboration with its reality. My presentation will highlight the dynamic nature of collaboration and its consequences for the accumulation of knowledge. It therefore aims to expand the discussion about co-production and does not “naively assume that co-production always and already provides a utopian space” (Bell & Pahl, 2018:106).
The full title of the project is “Creative interruptions: grassroots creativity, state structures and disconnections as a space for ‘radical openness’”. It is a three-year international project led by Brunel University London with Professor Sarita Malik as its Principal Investigator. The project will look at how a range of people use the arts, media and creativity to challenge inequality and oppression. Researchers will engage with participants to co-produce creative outputs and to identify, analyse, promote and share evidence on the contribution that diverse communities make to creative culture. These findings will also seek to inform policy and decision-making by stakeholders in the arts and cultural sectors. Please see www.creativeinterruptions.net for further details about the project.
 The play opened in the Lyric Theatre in Belfast in March 2018. It also toured in Northern Ireland playing at Sean Hollywood, Newry, The Playhouse, Derry, The Market Place, Armagh, The Burnavon, Cookstown and Down Arts Centre, Downpatrick over April 2018. There were associated community ‘Talk Back’ events and panel discussions.