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  • Laura Donkers

Decolonising Collaboration: re-learning how to listen to the silenced

On 16th Feb 2022, I will be presenting a paper at the AMASS Conference: DIALOGICAL ARTS THROUGH SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES: ACTING ON THE MARGINS, REDEFINING EMPOWERMENT https://www.amassconference.com/programme.html



They have published a wonderful book of abstracts edited by Paul Wilson, Maja Maksimović, Satu Miettinen here (You can find my abstract is on p44)


Decolonising collaboration: re-learning how to listen to the silenced

Laura Donkers


What does a decolonised practice mean for collaboration, and how might it change the dynamics of discourse in collaborative art projects?


By calling on others to contribute their knowledge, a collaborative artist attempts to find out what

there is ‘to know’, ‘be said’, or ‘shown’ beyond their own perceptual limits. To increase multivocality

and foster pluralism, a decolonised approach, method, and vision open up new forms of inquiry

that support the perspectives of the colonised and subaltern in society1. This approach begins with the

self-decolonisation of practice that encompasses the questioning of representation, authorship and

ownership, as well as critical self-reflection of an ongoing ‘listening-observing-not-knowing’ process,

while acknowledging the challenges and limitations of arts-based methodologies.


As an ecological artist, I advance collective ecological responsibility by documenting societal and ecological

exchange. Each artwork’s evidential value seeks to inform eco-mindfulness, mutuality, and kinship

by acknowledging connection between human and nonhuman communities. My approach to decolonising

collaboration is exemplified inLand Radius|2, a recent audiovisual work I created for Zurich-based art and

climate science exhibitionDear2050 Oceans on the Rise. This work engages residents of Aotearoa New


Keywords

decolonising, re-learning, perceptual limits, voicing, multivocality, contributor-led


References

Seppälä, T., Sarantou, M., Miettinen, S. (2021) Arts-Based Methods for Decolonising

Participatory Research. Routledge New York

Smith, L.T. (1999) Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. Zed

Books, London

Charnley, K.(2011) Dissensus and the politics of collaborative practice. Art and the

Public Sphere. 1 (1) 37-53. Intellect Ltd

Vella, R.and Pulè, M. (Eds) (2020) Conducting Participatory Arts Projects: A Practical

Toolkit. University of Lapland

Lillie, J., Larsen, K., Kirkwood, C., Brown, J.J. (Eds) (2020) The Relationship is the Project:

Working with Communities. Brow Books, Australia

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