Critical Perspectives is a collection of reflective, critical, and creative essays exploring art, civic dialogue, and reflective critical writing. Twelve essays focus on three very different projects that employed the unique capacities of theater, visual art, and historic preservation to reach people and stimulate them to talk together in new ways about issues that matter in their communities. Critical Perspectives deepens understanding of arts-based civic dialogue work through the engagement of multiple writers, as they approach each project from their unique vantage points. In so doing, it expands who has voice and authority in critical writing about civically engaged art.
by Sonja Kuftinec
Animating Democracy, in collaboration with Alternate ROOTS, commissioned theater writer, scholar, director, and dramaturg Sonja Kuftinec to write this article, prompted by the Writers Institute at Alternate ROOTS's spring 2002 FOCAS conference, where Sonja also presented. The conference provided artists and writers a chance to explore concerns and interests about critical and reflective writing related to civically and socially engaged art. Kuftinec weaves conversations from this gathering and other recent ones, demonstrating momentum on this subject and offering a context for Animating Democracy’s Critical Perspectives effort. Critical Perspectives fosters experimentation with different approaches to reflective and critical writing via teams of writers associated with three of Animating Democracy’s Lab projects.
by Andrea Assaf
In November 2002, a meeting of the Critical Perspectives writers and invited guests was held at the Tides Foundation in San Francisco. The intent of the meeting was to give writers an opportunity to share challenges and questions they were encountering in the process of writing about Animating Democracy projects, and more broadly, to discuss issues related to writing about civically engaged art. Animating Democracy Program Associate, Andrea Assaf, documents and draws out key discussions and areas of inquiry that emerged from the meeting.