I read an old Time Out this morning (I have a collection of them in the bathroom) and read an article about the Cultural Olympiad for London 2012. I found myself agreeing with Claire Fox's position on participation -
"Why are the key mantras of the Cultural Olympiad “engagement and participation”? These buzz-words may sound harmless, but beware. It is clear that no barriers to participation – such as having no artistic talent at all – will be allowed to get in the way of everyone joining in. The public is asked to prove it is engaging in the arts, by being dragooned into frenetic activity – all-singing, all-dancing marionettes. We are told that engagement “should be more than just being an audience member”. Quietly contemplating a piece of music or silently watching a play is derided as passive. This seems less about enabling people to appreciate the arts per se and more about trumpeting participation as an end in itself."
Well said that lady.