In their multiple facets, culture and the arts are a reflection of the times. They give expression to the way in which we understand and place ourselves in the world. But they also extend beyond that, playing a central role in the way in which we conceive of new realities, utopias and revolutions. History provides us with an abundance of examples of art movements and artists that have articulated a flow between aesthetic creation, political struggles and social change. The dimension of creativity and art as fields of social and political expression are becoming increasingly important as a focus of critical thinking, resistance, antagonism and alternative against the traditional political system and what it represents.
This is a particularly critical period where the arts can play a central role. We live in times of expanding extremism and populism and where the political system is the target of generalised suspicion. But we are also witnessing the collapse of ecosystems and a questioning of an old economic order which is causing profound social and ecological ruptures. New voices are being heard in this new critical context, but also new grammars of political, technological, environmental and spiritual action centred around an array of diverse causes such as human rights, gender equality, fight against racism, environmental crisis, etc. In different geographical, social and cultural contexts we see a rising dynamism emerging from minority, alternative, subaltern or stigmatised social milieus aiming to achieve a higher visibility and participation in the public sphere. Music, literature, street art, performance, the body, photography, the plastic or digital arts are, among several others, resources and languages employed to give the people a voice.
The intertwining between art and activism is established as an indelible expression of citizenship and participation in the public sphere, not only due to the authenticity of the creative and the artistic act, but also on account of its ability to push to the fore of public discussion new questions generating renewed discourses in the political field. The second edition of the COMbART conferences aims, precisely, at amplifying the reflection on these “combat arts.” Following the success of the first edition, we wish to broaden the political debate around the contemporary articulations between the arts, art activism, and political participation. The theme of this second edition is “Grammars and Politics of Resistance.”
The international conference COMBART: Art, activism and citizenship is the result of a consortium made up of different entities, institutions and academic associations, in order to bring different perspectives and experiences on the subject. The organization involves the CICSNova of the New University of Lisbon, the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon and the Sociology Institute of the University of Porto. This partnership also involves the Luso-Brazilian All-Arts Network (TAA), the Luso-Brazilian Research Network in Arts and Urban Interventions (RAIU). The conference aims to provide a unique and diverse forum, so that the presentation of proposals is open to researchers from areas such as sociology, anthropology, history, art history, cultural economics, cultural and social geography, urban planning, cultural studies, communication and related disciplines such as design, illustration, music, performance, film, visual and performing arts and new technologies. Submission of the proposals takes place between November 15 and January 30th. Submissions and respective communications can be made in Portuguese, Spanish or English.