Participation is more troubled than ever. A global pandemic has people isolated and unable to touch while demanding ever more constant mediated participation. Protests to protect democracy continue in Hong Kong, in Bolivia, against corruption in Lebanon, and police brutality in the US and elsewhere. And a normal election in what was once the beacon of democratic participation–the US–is suddenly in radical question.

How did we get here, and what does it tell us about participation today? Although the protest and the social movement are the most visible and recognizable forms of participation, they are not the most common. In this talk, The Participant leads us through time and space to explore the curious and meandering history of participation—from participation in the workplace to participation in international development to “mystical” participation and into present-day pandemic participation and protest in movements for racial justice and election integrity.

This talk consists of a series of short video recordings that summarize the travels of /The Participant/ in past and present cases of participation, followed by a discussion of the participant’s experience today in the midst of a pandemic and an historic democratic crisis.

So far this talk has been scheduled for presentation at the following places: