CCCA Workshop in Tōkamachi, August 24-25, 2018.


Workshop address:
Tokamachi Community hall (Tōkamachi kōminkan Danjurō)
〒948-0083 Niigata-ken, Tōkamachi-shi, Honchō, 1-chōme,Ue 508-2


Preliminary programme (may be subject to change):

August 24 (FRI)
9:00-12:00  Meet at Tokamachi Community Hall: Introduction to fieldwork practice
12:00-13:00  Lunch
13:00-17:00  Fieldwork in Tōkamachi or other ETAT locations
17:30-19:00  Dinner party at Soba House Yoshiya

August 25 (SAT)
9:00-14:00  Continue fieldwork in Tōkamachi or other ETAT location; prepare presentation
14:00-17:00  Tokamachi Community Hall: presentation of field work experience and findings
17:00-  Tokamachi Omatsuri: join the local festival with traditional dance, etc.


Within the frames of collaboration and community-building in contemporary art, this workshop of the CCCA network will explore various modes of participation. The workshop will take place in Tōkamachi, the hub of the 2018 Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale (ETAT).

Within the frames of collaboration and community-building in contemporary art, this workshop of the CCCA network will explore various modes of participation. The workshop will take place in Tōkamachi, the hub of the 2018 Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale (ETAT).

The workshop will employ a practice-based approach by engaging in art projects at ETAT and collect fieldnotes and documentation on personal and collective experiences of participation. Anyone can join the workshop – you do not need to have any ethnographic practice or special analytical skills. Everyone joining the workshop can propose tasks or activities, which will be low-key and managable, and which we can organize either on an individual or common basis. You might want to bring along a notebook and/or a camera.


About the workshop:

We meet the first day (August 24) at Tokamachi community Hall (Tōkamachi kōminkan Danjurō) and start out by discussing methods and tasks and form small groups (where meaningful). During the day time, the groups will encounter artworks and projects around in Tōkamachi (or other ETAT locations) and engage in a field study of participation. You can use one (or several) different methods, for example by participating in art projects and reflecting on our own experience; by observing and talking to other participants; by asking artists and curators about the concepts of participation in the artwork; by having conversations with local residents about participation. On the evening of the first day, we meet for a dinner party at Soba House Yoshiya.

Next day (August 25) we continue the field work exploration of Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale throughout the day. Each group can prepare a small summary of their findings or experience to present in the afternoon. In the afternoon from 14:00 we meet again at Tomamachi Community Hall and make short presentations for each other and share our experience and findings of the field work. This can be in the format of short presentations (about 10-15 minutes) including sharing photos and other documentation. How did the different forms of encounter with artworks, artist, local population, other art visitors etc. take place? How did you register or document this encounter, and what kind of issues can you address with this kind of method?

In the evening, we can all join the local Tōkamachi oo-matsuri, a traditional town festival that takes place in the streets of Tōkamachi and the Suwa shrine. (The festival takes place August 25.-27., see more on the Tōkamachi oo-matsuri website in Japanese here and in English here).



Why explore modes of participation? Within the so-called “social turn” of contemporary art since the 1990s there has been a keen interest in participatory art practices. For some, participation is a means to engage audiences in new and different ways through relational aesthetics or co-production of the artwork, while in other types of art projects the artists wish to include and address local residents to form new types of communities or micro-utopias. In many cases the art projects rely on embodied participation by including the social interaction among human beings, but also by engaging in site-specific properties of the location and/or by placing a strong emphasis on materiality and objects. In any case, participatory art practice evolves in complex patterns and is difficult to grasp and document – not only because of the wide variety of participatory practices, but also because the modes of participation in each artwork are dynamic and transformative forces that continuously change the artwork and the participants.

The aim of the CCCA workshop is therefore to explore the different modes of participation in artworks and projects of ETAT, as well as to map out different methodologies to study participatory art practices. We wish to engage in an interdisciplinary approach between aesthetic analyses and ethnographic fieldwork to develop methodologies for analysing participatory and socialle engaged art. Such analyses may lead to discussing broader issues such as: what defines “participation”, and what different kinds of participatory practices can occur through art practices? Why has participation become such a ubiquitous concept, and how do we evaluate the quality and urgency of participation?


 Sign Up and Further Information:

There is room for 20 participants in the workshop. So please sign up as soon as possible to: Associate Professor Gunhild Borggreen, University of Copenhagen, e-mail:

The workshop is sponsored by the Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education.

The workshop is a collaboration between GA (Graduate School of Global Arts), Tokyo University of the Arts, and Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen.