What’s Collective?

In this ongoing project Public Recordings invited participants to research ways and means of making that promote shared agency and authorship. Using the framework of a co-facilitated workshop, each iteration of What’s Collective? stages an artistic exchange through which collective approaches to art making can be shared, examined, and renewed. The result is a gathering in which participants can more deeply consider their own artistic contexts, and develop new questions and ideas in response to the project’s title.

What’s Collective? is co-facilitated by a group of Public Recordings affiliated artists. Over five sessions participants explore practical elements and systems borrowed from the personal and shared practices of the facilitator team, to uncover common issues in group work. Through a careful reading of selected texts, discussion, physical practice, sound-making, listening, writing, and reflection, What’s Collective? holds space to articulate different conceptions of collectivity, and consider how group processes can produce positive outcomes inside and outside of art. 

Presentations of What’s Collective? consist of five half-day sessions, each following the same sequence of activities. Members of the facilitator team rotate through the role of leading each of the activities in this daily sequence. This rotating format foregrounds the interplay between the structural and relational aspects of group work, as well as the connections between making and learning, and the borders between shared and personal practice.

Each presentation also includes a reading selected by the facilitator team for that iteration. Past texts so far have included: “The Tyranny of Structurelessness” by Jo Freeman (1970).

What’s Collective? has been offered in both in-person and online (synchronous) formats.

Project initiated by Liz Peterson, Christopher Willes and Evan Webber. Facilitators: Brendan Jensen, Germaine Liu, Bee Pallomina, Christopher Willes, Evan Webber, Liz Peterson. Developed in partnership with The Toronto Dance Community Love-in, Milieux Institute / LePARC and The Centre for Expanded Poetics at Concordia University. Photographs: Christopher Willes. Design: Jeremy McCormick.

What’s Collective? was created with the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Toronto Arts Council, and the Ontario Arts Council.