|University of Newcastle
|community arts; Australia Council; Big hArt; social inclusion art; Fatima Mansions
|Full text PDF:
Research Doctorate - Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) In the context of arts and cultural funding agencies, the definitions of cultural democracy and the democratisation of culture blur. They are not two sides of the same coin – they are polar opposites. The two opposing forces have been discussed and dismissed for over a fifty-year period; as such both have been expediently reduced to a series of oneliners, or catch phrases – herein lies the problem. The practice of cultural democracy can be historically evidenced in labour-based cultures such as trade unions. The direct connection of labour to community, continues to grow through heritage. Cultural democracy flourishes in the collaborative community through activity, activism and action. It is fundamentally based on equity, in both participation and access to social processes. It will be referred to as a ‘continuous political system’. When this system is blocked or silenced, oppressive forms will appear. Brazilian Educator Paulo Freire astutely recognised this, and provided a framework to locate these mechanisms of oppression. His theories have guided the proposed differences between cultural democracy and the democratisation of culture in this thesis. Cultural democracy has always been aligned with community arts practice. When funding agencies and competing interests guide a community based project, the concept is often negated. Three separate community based works are scrutinised in the framework of cultural democracy. This thesis aims to provide guidelines and questions that can inform social policy and arts practice; and can continue to be utilised as a form of check and balance through procedure.