Thesis (Ph.D)

We are the Revolution? The 'creative social action' of La Fiambrera, Skart and Superflex and its contribution to sustainable social change


"WE ARE THE REVOLUTION?" begins by introducing the type of art practices being studied, collectively referred to here as 'creative social action,‘ and explaining the nature of their revolutionary intentions. It then shows that such art practices are in need of a critical framework; specifically, a means of examining their contribution to sustainable social changes. Having established that creative social action lacks an apposite or robust critical framework, and that such a framework is an essential tool, the study sets out to address this. Initially the study surveys a significant number of practices in order to identify core threads of creative social action. Through this, three threads of particular significance are identified; utopianism, participation and value-orientation. These threads are then examined in depth through recent critical writings on each, which takes the research into several different disciplinary territories and alternative concepts of revolution, as a slow, creative, permanent and almost imperceptible process. Subsequently, aspects of these writings and concepts are synthesised to provide an evaluative approach that is original in its transdisciplinarity and its depth of vision. The study uses its newly formed evaluative tools to unpack three carefully chosen cases of creative social action; Skart, Superflex and La Fiambrera. Accordingly, the utopianism, participatory strategies and value-orientation of these cases are explored in depth. Through this, and further development of an alternative concept of revolution, the study shows that in this sense the practices in question appear to be revolutionary. By developing a comprehensive critical understanding of creative social action, and its relationship with radical social change, the study makes a significant contribution to the field. By not providing definitive answers regarding creative social action‘s contribution to revolutionary changes, the study makes an equally significant contribution. In examining the transformative potential of these practices, the study draws attention to the need to value qualities such as complexity and flexibility, and shows that focusing on tendencies rather than absolutes, and generating further questions rather than arriving at neat answers, is not a weakness but a revolutionary force.

Attached files


Barratt, M


Year: 2010

© Barratt, M
Published by Oxford Brookes University
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