Unlocking Our Agency: Online Cultural Assembly – 13th Sept 2023

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This online assembly is open to all artists, creatives and cultural workers internationally. Please help by sharing the invitation to join and participate.

Together, we will explore what we require to unlock the agency to create justice, care and welfare in our work, communities and the planet.

You are invited to contribute by sharing your challenges, needs and stories. We will explore ideas, examples of practice and the story of Culture Declares so far and work towards an energised plan of response in which you can play an active and mutual part.

We invite you to consider and contribute in response to these provocations:

What are you struggling with? What gets in the way of you unlocking agency to create justice, care & welfare? How do you keep your compassion and energy for action for yourself and others?

What is working well? What kinds of practices and initiatives are working well to create justice, care & welfare that we can amplify and adapt in our work? (We’re inviting very brief shares of cultural and change-making practice.)

What can we do together? What does the movement* need to unlock the agency for this work? What is our energised plan of response to the systemic barriers that face us**? What will we do as individuals and as CDE?

* The movement = Culture Declares and our allies in radical cultural action.

* Barriers & pressures include: artist precarity, ongoing colonisation, extractive industry lobbies, capture of discourses, collapse of resources for basic safety, cultural sites destroyed…

NOTE: We are calling for some speakers to prepare brief presentations. Please get in touch if you are willing and available, by emailing culturedeclares@gmail.com describing what you would talk about and which provocation you would address. 

Context of this assembly

  • CDE has been running for over four years now. Analysis from the Roundhouse Assembly in July 2019 showed that people really needed to address barriers within the Cultural sector & their practice. We assume the need to do this has only increased. 
  • Acceleration of the climate emergency (as a key threat multiplier for the wider Earth crisis) and a need for CDE to ramp up in response to this. 
  • A need to address limitations on our agency for both cultural practice and system-changing activism. Limitations include a culture of shame around the crisis, the technocratic focus on measurables rather than systems & humanity, and a lack of funding for radical work.
  • A big gap in the sector response to explore transformative and adaptive routes for creative & cultural practices that we might pursue with communities. 
  • A need to grow capacity in Culture Declares Hubs in the face of artist precarity & other pressures. 
  • The ‘Together We Act’ assembly on 3rd Sept at South Bank will address the role of nationals like SBC and will engage London people, so we need a chance for wider localities and international hubs to come together. 
  • A need to bring together people with more influence (from cultural & environmental policy & funding systems), and practitioners with less agency. 

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