100 Top Projects

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Good Art or Good Intentions – Does Art Change Lives?

There are approximately 49,000 grassroots arts groups in England with an estimated 9.4 million people participating in arts based activities on a regular basis.

I can’t find figures from the whole of the UK or Europe or the rest of the world but I imagine we are in the billions.

What is the purpose of community arts? Does participation in arts offer any lasting benefits? What is Good Art? What are just good intentions?  Why do artists and arts producers fight so vehemently about the process and results of participatory arts practise – one side justifying their approach as the most moral, engaging, process whilst other questioning their efforts as meaningless pap and dismiss it as amateurish self indulgence.

For me  – I like/engage with one project and I don’t like/engage with another project – Its very simple

Here is a list of my 100 favourite community arts projects – Over the coming months I will try and explain why I like them and why I think the work is important. I will also attempt to explain their artistic merits – because for me, that is the most important aspect of this debate – why does it move me, touch my soul, make me smile, make me happy, make me cry? Art explains the world to me and helps me understand my place in it.

1.           Piña Bausch,  Kontakthof, Wuppertal, Germany

2.           Semana Santa, Seville, Spain

3.          Sinulog, Cebu, The Philippine Islands

4.          El Sistema in Venezuela

5.          Streetwise Opera, UK

6.          El Puente Lab Medellin, Colombia

7.          LA Poverty Department, USA

8.         Grupo Cultural AfroReggae, Brazil

9.         Rehabilitation Through The Arts, USA

10.       Alain Platel, C(H)OEURS Project Ghent/Madrid, Belgium/Spain

11.        The Diwali Festival, New Delhi, India

12.       C:ntact, Copenhagen, Denmark

13.       Banglanatak.com, India

14.       Cardboard Citizens, UK

15.       Royston Maldoom, Berlin, Germany

16.       Boat-People.org, Australia

17.      Graeae Theatre Company

18.      Cast Doncaster

19.       International Community Festival Rotterdam, Netherlands

20.      Theatre of The Oppressed, International

21.      Manchester International Festival, UK

22.      The Rio Carnival, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

23.      Witches Blood, Dundee, Scotland

24.      The LIFT Festival, London UK

25.      ISIS Visual and Media Arts, UK

26.     The Grassmarket Project, UK

27.     Entelechy Arts, London, UK

28.    International Dance Festival Birmingham, UK

29.     Jack Drum Arts, UK

30.   Contact Theatre Company

31.    Residencia Corazón, La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina

32.     Mind The Gap, Bradford, UK

33.    The Diaspora Collective, Stockton, UK

34.    Tehrik-e-Niswan, Karachi, Pakistan

35.    Spare Tyre Theatre Company, UK

36.    Open Clasp Theatre Company, UK

37.    Banner Theatre Company, Birmingham, UK

38.    Charles Parker’s Radio Ballads, BBC, UK

39.    Plan B, Inverness, UK

40.    res artists, worldwide network of artists residencies

41.    Art in the Public Interest

42.    North East Miners Wives Oral History Project, UK

43.    Liverpool Biennial, UK

44.    STUT Theatre, Utrecht, Netherlands

45.    Welfare State International, Cumbria, UK

46.    Claque Theatre, UK

47.    Bubble Theatre, London,UK

48.     Collective Encounters Theatre for Social Change, Liverpool, UK

49.     Live Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

50.     Clean Break, London, UK

51.     The Orchard Project, Somerset, UK

52.     The Substation, Singapore

53.     International Dance Festival Birmingham, UK

54.     Yijala Yala Project  from Bighart, Australia

55.     Amber Film Collective

56.     World Community Arts Day

57.     Charnwood Arts, Leicestershire, UK

58.      The New Art Exchange – Realism in Rawiya

59.      NVA Speed of Light

60.      Auchtermuchty Festival

61.      Los Angeles Invisible People Chapter and Film Festival

62.      Lawnmowers Independent Theatre Company

63.       ArtsWok Singapore

64.        Mayana Kollai Celebration in Tiruvannamalai

65.         Sa Sa Arts Project, Phom Penh

66.        City of Sanctuary

67          Platforma Festival. Arts+ Refugee Network Manchester.

68          Afghan Youth Orchestra

69           Humans of New York

70           Invisible People Film Festival

71            Luminate Festival, Scotland

72            Kinshasa Symphony

73            Necessary Stage, Singapore

74            Landfill Harmonic, Paraguay

75            The School of Life Brazil

76            We Dundee

77             Petaling Street Community Arts Project

78             Namatjira Australia

79              National Youth Orchestra of Iraq

80             Culture 360, Asia/Europe

81              Art-Machina –  Plovdiv Bulgaria

82             Green Candle Dance

83             Artefacting Delhi, India

84              Homeless Link

85             Community Arts Network

86              Under The Radar Festival, New York

87              The Cyrenians Arts & Media Programme

88              Street View Photography

89              The Center for Artistic Activism

90              Dance United

91               Open Cinema

92               ICAF Rotterdam

91                Struileag/Shore to Shore

92               Age of Creativity

93               Banksy

94                Humans of New York

95                Theatre of the Oppressed

96                 The Choir with No Name

97                Brave Festival

98                Crisis

99                Res Artist

100              LEAF – Little Ecological Art Festival

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