Mirror Images: Cultural Collaboration and Civil Society

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Image from Lampedusa Mirrors, from Matarasso's blog "A restless art"

Like all citizens and their organisations, artists are part of civil society. They have a distinctive role within it when their work gives voice and visibility to people who are marginalised or not easily heard. In all societies some groups and interests dominate, thanks to their position, strength or control of resources. For everyone else, culture may be the only legitimate (or safe) form of expression.

In this text, writer and researcher François Matarasso looks at the 160 cross-border collaborations made possible by the Tandem programme over the past five years; he highlights the links between culture and democracy and focuses on the project Lampedusa Mirrors as an outstanding example of theatre dealing with the refugee issues in the Mediterranean area. 

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