Perfect Citizen


Perfect Citizen is an interdisciplinary project using public art, action research, film, a marketing campaign and public engagement to look at the notion of citizenship. The project looks at the role of both the individual and the corporate, particularly in relation to urban development, in social responsibility and good citizenship. Drawing from a range of demographics and groups, the project will provide a series of works made with community groups, individuals and institutions across Southampton which engage with the question of ‘What is the Perfect Citizen?’ A competition to find the Perfect Citizen of Southampton will be central to the work of the project.


As an increasing emphasis is placed on the role and responsibilities of ‘the citizen’ in creating a healthier civil society (public health trainers encouraging people to live healthier lives, PSHCE – personal, social health & citizenship education – in schools, ASBO’s, Town Teams, Participative Democracy Projects, Public Dialogue Initiatives, and Life Long Learning), how is successful citizenship defined and by whom? Moreover how are these meanings symbolised, communicated and managed through our patterns of social interaction? In the current climate, Planners and Local Authorities take social responsibility and communities in their capital developments very seriously.

Perfect Citizen reappraises what it means to be a ‘citizen’ in contemporary Southampton as culture and priorities have shifted at central and local government and developer level. The extent to which the ‘relational matters’ that we used to count on as moorings (extended family, neighbourhoods, religion, participation in community affairs & politics) still carry the same focus in helping us to decide our destiny becomes an issue for debate. Money, fame and pursuit of these things are equally measures by which we monitor ourselves in relation to happiness or social standing.

So, what makes us happy? What do we fear? How we choose to spend our time in our lives. What does success mean & what are it’s social consequences? What is failure? What are its consequences? What do we believe in? Who has choice? Do we believe in different things? What vocabularies do we have to express these differences? How does this relate to our standing as citizens?


The Perfect Citizen project will run over three phases.
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