University of Buenos Aires – CONICET
Trajectories of Community Theater in Madrid and Buenos Aires: an Analysis of Differential Uses of Art for Social Transformation
Camila Mercado is a Professor, Graduate and Doctor in Anthropological Sciences from the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina), where she has served as a teacher giving seminars in the area of Anthropology. Since her pre-doctoral years, she has been investigating the social practice of community theatre in Buenos Aires in its organizational, aesthetic and socio-political dimensions. In her doctoral thesis, she analyses the relationships that groups of community theatre in Buenos Aires establish with the state and with international funding bodies and the negotiations and conflicts that arise regarding which meanings of art as an agent for social transformation and/or inclusion prevail. After her doctoral studies, she has worked as a postdoctoral scholarship holder at the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research in Argentina with the project “Performance and cultural rights. Artistic uses of public space in the City of Buenos Aires”. She has also trained as an actress and multiplier of the Teatro de los Oprimidos tool.
Several authors have noted the growing use of culture as an agent for both the socio-political and economic improvement of societies. This notion of culture as a tool can be understood within a process of politicization of culture, where the meaning of culture is disputed in different arenas of power. This project proposes to investigate, from an anthropological perspective, differential appropriations of art for social transformation in Madrid and Buenos Aires. With this aim, social and political uses of art will be investigated based on the study of experiences of community theatre conducted in Madrid (Spain). Additionally, we will study the relationships established between these initiatives and the experiences of community theatre developed in the city of Buenos Aires (Argentina). The study of the potential presented by the artistic approach to social problems from an anthropological perspective is still an area of research that has seldom been addressed on an international level. Community theatre is a phenomenon scarcely studied in Spain nor have the relationships between European and Latin American experiences of art as social transformation been systematically studied.
2015. “Participación ciudadana y politización de la cultura. Contextos de actuación y modos comunitarios de gestión cultural en un grupo de teatro comunitario”, in Carolina Crespo, Hernán Morel y Margarita Ondelj (Comps.), La política cultural en debate. Diversidad, performance y patrimonio cultural, Buenos Aires, Ciccus, pp. 167-196.
2016. “Dinámicas de definición en el teatro porteño: entre lo culto y lo popular”, Revista de Teoría y Crítica Teatral Telón de Fondo, 23, pp. 15 – 31.
2017. “Arte y transformación social en Buenos Aires. Análisis de una actuación cultural de Teatro Comunitario”, Cuadernos de Antropología Social, 45, 115 – 132.
2019. “En reversa la mirada y en futuro el corazón: Teatro Comunitario y disputas en torno al arte para la transformación social”, in Julieta Infantino (ed.) Disputar la cultura. Arte y transformación social en Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, RGC Libros, pp. 93-132.
2020.“Teatro comunitario y procesos de politización de la cultura”, Revista Avá, 36. (In press)