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Together we Can: Collective Organization of Artists in Beijing
  • Corey Willis
Corey Willis

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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This study undertakes an analysis of the experiences of Contemporary Chinese artists engaged in collective organization in China’s burgeoning art districts in Beijing. A new conceptual framework is employed in this study which integrates theory from social movement theory and collective action. I explore generally the issues and strategies of collective organization in China, and specifically, analyze the development of a recently founded organization, the Chinese Independent Artist Alliance (CIAA). Data is collected through participant observation as well as through semi-structured interviews of the founders of the CIAA. Data analysis stretches beyond the scope of the main actors within the CIAA into a sphere representing over 1000 artists, academics and activists in China. Findings suggest that individual motivations for joining and supporting the CIAA artist collective differ substantially however, the various political and economic pressures faced by artists create a shared identity among CIAA participants acting as glue holding the collective together.