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Creative Democracy and the Arts: the participatory democracy of the Amber Collective
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Professor Robert Hollands
Vail J, Hollands R
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We use the term ‘creative democracy’ – coined by John Dewey – to explore the ways in which the creative activity of artists is shaped by democratic norms and practices. Using the case of the Amber Film and Photography Collective in the northeast of England, we discuss their process of creative democracy – featuring norms of project initiation, collective scrutiny and empowerment – and investigate how this practice became a vital feature of their everyday creative lives. We discuss the significant benefits of creative democracy, explore how the collective navigated its complexities and dilemmas, and investigate its relevance for contemporary cultural activists.
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