What does “participation” mean in the context of presentational art forms like live theatre, dance performance or classical music? Is, as has been suggested recently by the James Irvine Foundation and researchers from WolfBrown, “participatory art” only that art in which the audience engages by becoming an active artist? What are the implications of such a shift from one of the major arts funders in the United States, and are they warranted? Increasing research indicates that the simple act of watching a performance event—spectating—is, in fact, participatory.
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