Reimaging networks as ecosystems: An exploration of international collaboration of art organisations through the ecosystem lens using Arts Collaboratory as a case study
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Ecological language has been seeping into cultural sector in recent years to describe types of relations, connections and networks that are dynamic, mutually dependent and symbiotic. This thesis explores the concept of an ecosystem to understand international collaboration between arts organisations using Arts Collaboratory as a case study. Ecosystems are understood as an interconnected web of communities placing relationality at the core of this thesis. Relationality also enables the study of the connections between human and non-human actors. Space, knowledge and dependency materialise as interrelated concepts that act as axis to guide the discussion. A key feature of Arts Collaboratory is that the majority of the organisations are located in the global South, influencing the type of literature consulted as part of the analysis. Insights on the practices of Arts Collaboratory is placed in dialogue with theory related the three concepts, which demonstrated the relevance of these concepts within the overarching lens of the ecosystem. Space as a frame, is used to understand the space between organisations, how this relates to the binary position of the global South but also how space is created at a local level. Knowledge is deconstructed from a decolonial perspective. The ecosystem model facilitates the multiplicity of knowledges and situated knowledges. Dependency leads to understanding the ties to resources, especially funding, and the tensions that can be created in adopting characteristics of ecosystem model of being self-organised the potential reproduction of colonial relations that need to be considered in international collaboration of arts organisations. Combined with these additional concepts, the ecosystem lens is productive to think with to understand international collaborations.