Co-creation and Class

Notes from the group discussion chaired by Rhiannon White and Kenn Taylor during the last Network Gathering in Leeds


Class affects us all. Its the lens that people view you through. But why does it matter what class you are? Walls & barriers – the lifestyles we lead – actually we don’t even know the class system. Its too hard to explain. It’s not just about the crisps you choose to eat, or the shops you shop at.

The barriers come from ourselves from humans. Its about access to opportunities. the working class are given less opportunities. Education & confidence. By virtue my education let me into other cultures and rooms like this. I soon realised that those structures in the arts are being controlled by people who don’t like people like me.

I want to wear a badge to tell people where I’m from. People make assumptions. We have to find those things we have in common – common ground. Language is powerful. We have to look at language and what it means to use words. From the words we choose to use and the words we use about working class communities. What we say about people and where they live can have deep long-lasting affects.

Co-creation is about taking apart the hierarchies, the invisible barriers. Sometime co-creation is about handing over everything.


  1. How do we get more working class people into senior arts decision making roles?
  2. What does class mean?
  3. How do you avoid co-creation becoming about deficits when class reinforces power struggles?
  4. What class do people most dislike? and why?
  5. Why does class matter?
  6. Is there a mismatch politically, socially, culturally between ‘the arts’ and ‘the left behind’
  7. How to manage not to separate between class when creating projects. Does knowledge belong to a specific class? How do we reclaim knowledge?
  8. Is class about more than money?
  9. Is there any value in referring to class when it comes to co-creation? are there more relevant identifiers we can use now that traditional class frameworks have shifted from?
  10. Does the idea of inspiration serve us?
  11. Do you think the class system enables you to excuse your own ignorance?
  12. How do we make sure working class opinions are being heard and presented within the network?
  13. Is class intrinsic to society?
  14. Is the lack of class diversity the arts biggest failing?
  15. How can we retain a class that we’ve come from youth to adulthood?
  16. Is there a certain reason why everyone’s perception of class is different?
  17. How do arts and class go together? Culture is defined by certain classes. How can we work with that reality?
  18. Hoe do you stop social mobility from being a thing?
  19. Who is my class for?
  20. Middle class artists are too sensitive or not sensitive enough, what’s the middle ground?
  21. Middle class artists should collaborate with working class artists more
  22. How can we move away from using the word risk when it comes to people we don’t understand?
  23. Why is the arts so elitist?
  24. How does class affect the language we use?
  25. Why is art classified into high arts/ low arts – when it’s all art anyway?
  26. How does class affect co-creation?
  27. Isn relation to the arts and class why can the arts feel so elite? eg drama school, art centres?
  28. Rewarding people who depend on benefits
  29. Is it a problem for working class people to be facilitating co-creation projects in working class neighbourhoods?
  30. Can I be working class and live a middle class life? Can I want more?
  31. What are the walls and bridges?
  32. Is it important to consider the intersectional aspects of class. For example race within the context of class?
  33. Why do I feel I need to be middle class to be taken seriously as an artist? How can we change this mind set?