Amidst epidemics of youth alienation and cultural polarization, community-based artistic practices are sprouting up around the world as antidotes to policies of austerity and social exclusion. Rejecting the radical individualism of the neoliberal era, many artistic projects promote collectivity and togetherness in navigating challenges and constructing shared futures. The Art of Collectivity is about how one such creative social program deployed this approach in service of a post-neoliberal vision. Focusing on a national social circus initiative launched by a newly elected Ecuadorean government to help actualize its “citizens' revolution,? the book explores the intersection between global cultural politics, participatory arts, collective health, and social transformation. The authors include scholars and practitioners of community arts, humanities, social sciences, and health sciences from the Global North and Global South. Sensitive to hierarchical binaries such as research/practice, north/south, and art/science, they work together to provide a multifaceted analysis of the way cultural politics shape policy, pedagogy, and aesthetic sensibilities, as well as their socio-cultural and health-related effects. The largest study of social circus to date, combining detailed quantitative, qualitative, and arts-based research, The Art of Collectivity is a timely contribution to the study of cultural policies, critical pedagogies, collective art-making, and community development.
Jennifer Beth Spiegel is a research fellow in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University and teaches in the Theatre Department at Concordia University. Benjamin Ortiz Choukroun is a director, playwright, circus artist, and social circus trainer, as well as the director of Tejido, a national network of social circus practitioners in Ecuador.