Public Domain Arts & Media is a not-for-profit, community interest company founded in 2017, that uses the tools of the arts & media to encourage the development of active democratic citizenship in the UK by advancing public knowledge and understanding of the historical and contemporary struggles for equality, human rights and democracy.
We perceive that, through no fault of their own, many UK citizens are not so much politically ‘apathetic’, as politically ‘ignorant’. The idea of that democracy involves ‘struggle’ seems to be increasingly remote from public consciousness. Many people understand that there is much injustice in the world and want to do something about it, but they have not been educated to understand that, almost always, it is collective struggle that brings about progressive change.
Perhaps surprisingly, the struggle for our democracy is rarely part of the curriculum of contemporary mainstream educational institutions, but we believe an understanding of the history and praxis of these struggles, is vital for active, democratic citizens and thus for a healthy democracy.
We have discovered that when individuals are educated about the democratic struggles of the past and about the praxis of contemporary struggles for democracy, their understanding and self-actualisation as democratic citizens can be transformed.
The company pursues its objectives using a range of arts and media tools including (but not limited to) music and song, graphics, dance, theatre, film, television, video, photomontage, social media, performance art, street theatre, podcasting etc.
We believe that active citizens
- Form their own opinions and think for themselves
- Are informed about issues that matter to them
- Develop their own ideas for change and act upon them
- Effectively challenge injustice, inequality and discrimination
- Make a positive contribution to their world and to wider society
By ‘active citizenship’ we mean a range of activities that include, but are not limited to; joining political parties, joining or forming campaigning groups, joining trade unions, standing for lay office in trade unions and political parties, attending public meetings, engaging with elected representatives, producing activist works of arts & media and an on-going commitment to further study and research.
We will help develop active citizenship by:
- Providing free, online, creative, educational resources.
- Delivering free courses to all – and especially to the most educationally disadvantaged.
- Producing participatory, creative activist, projects and events that encourage public engagement with the history and contemporary praxis of the struggle for equality, human rights and democracy.
We believe the more widespread the knowledge and understanding of the history and nature of the struggle for democracy, the healthier will be our democracy. Historically progressive social change has always involved intense collective struggle and individual self-sacrifice. Today there are many who fear that Western democracies are descending into a regressive, post-truth era in which hard-fought personal liberties are once more under threat. A well-educated, well-informed and conscious electorate is democracies best defence against the reactionary forces that threaten to engulf us.
Founders Of Public Domain
Chris Jury is a TV actor, director and writer best known for playing Eric Catchpole in over 60 episodes of the BBC’s antique classic, Lovejoy, and for directing over 50 episodes of Eastenders. He has written theatre plays, feature films and numerous episodes of TV shows such as Casualty, The Bill & Holby. He was Artistic Director of The Blockley Millennium Mystery Plays http://blockleymysteryplays.org.uk. He currently writes the political philosophy blog I Am Not A Number http://iamnotanumber.org.uk and presents, Agitpop, a pop & politics radio discussion programme http://agitpopradio.org.uk
Kerry Irvine is an independent theatre producer. She has produced 18 theatre festivals and toured shows around the UK and Europe, working with over 200 theatre companies. She has worked across sectors in commercial and community theatre, recently producing Pictures of Life a musical community pageant event with partners Camden Council and London St Pancras for Sir David Attenborough’s charity Woodland Trust. She has been an associate to successful productions such as Churchill’s ‘Fen’ (FinboroughTheatre) as well as two Fringe First winning productions, ‘Crush ‘and ‘Mad about the Boy’, both toured nationally and received national acclaim.
Reuben Irving has worked as a freelance editor for over 10 years producing work for cinema, TV, web and mobile content, and live theatre/dance performance. His most recent project as editor was the feature film How To Be. He has always had an interest in experimenting with form, content and technology. Reuben was a Managing Director of Gorilla Cinema in Sheffield for five years. He was also an Associate Lecturer and ‘Enterprise Teaching Facilitator’ at Sheffield Hallam University. He has delivered courses for Sheffield Independent Film & Television and worked with Sheffield Arts Education developing curriculum design for schools across the city. He currently teaches at the University of Worcester specialising i production, sound recording, management of community arts projects.
John Newsinger is Professor of History at Bath Spa University. Before becoming an academic, he was a teacher at the Wreake Valley College, a secondary school in Leicestershire, for fourteen years. He has worked at Bath Spa University since 1992. He is the author of over forty articles and review articles in academic journals and of fifteen books. His books include Orwell’s Politics, British Counterinsurgency, Dangerous Men: The SAS and Popular Culture. Rebel City: Larkin, Connolly and the Dublin Labour Movement and Fighting Back: The American Working Class in the 1930s. He is joint editor of George Orwell Studies.