The other day I had the chance to talk to Bill Cleveland, who runs the Center for the Study of Art and Community and has extensively written on art and conflict, regarding the two-day Art Residencies & Conflict Areas event (June 24/25) in which he will participate.  Here are some of the ideas and questions that we discussed … those in “_” are his words and the rest is my paraphrase:

– Taking a step back in order to see the lessons learned from “civil rights, economic justice efforts …”

– “even for long-term visiting artists, there is a struggle for/with accountability”

– Can artists “apply the same rigor they apply to technique to the relationship side of their work?”

– Hopes that we can “consistently ground the conversation in story

– “the potential for unintended consequences is gigantic”

– as residency moves from a studio to the broader community, accountability must broaden beyond the self

– “What is the continuum of intentions that are possible?”

– “How do you become rigorous and intentional in allowing intentions to manifest?”

– Bill has learned from working with community organizers, public safety folks, etc and their “experience thinking about ethical behavior (sets of behavioral standards that they see as critical)”

– “the experimental nature of art making works well in some spaces and not in others”

– acknowledging when we have “caused damage”

– One way to start a discussion on accountability is by asking artists to describe the [working] environment that best suits their needs.