[artinfo] Social Intentions symposium

e-artnow info at e-artnow.org
Fri Mar 25 13:39:02 CET 2016

CCA Glasgow's Social Intentions symposium explores the use of 
socially-engaged art practice within institutions

Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow

Social Intentions is a symposium on the use of social engagement 
within art institutions.

CCA has invited pioneering institutions in this field from all over 
Europe to come together and share their practices. Since their 
socially engaged approach is relevant in the current development of 
contemporary culture, we will look at the benefits as well as the 
pitfalls of its uses when related to art institutions.

We shaped the symposium around three main components of socially 
engaged art practice which have impact and relevance when talking 
about institutional production: format, time and context.

We will explore different uses of format such us the open source 
programme, the hub, the laboratory, the art commission based 
organisation and the Biennale. It will be important to evaluate how 
these formats can relate to the use of process as well as 
participation and different ways of facilitating access to creative 
experiences. Thanks to the use of social engagement the 'passive' 
audience is turned into active participants and the format is no 
longer an 'outcome-focused' project, but rather is an outcome - an 
end product - in itself. Therefore the aim is to stimulate a cultural 
experience based on process rather than on event outcome. This 
different perception of time and place is experienced as a long-term 
and context embedded practice.

In the Introduction to her book 'Participation,' the scholar and 
curator Claire Bishop refers to this new approach as the 'social 
turn' in which the emphasis is now placed on temporal processes of 
engagement with people rather than on art as a product.

The use of time then becomes a core part of the use of these 
practices. This symposium will refer to time as 'durational' in 
response to Paul O'Neill and Claire Doherty's definition. They define 
durational as a series of 'processes to public art curating and 
commissioning [which] emerged as an alternative to nomadic, itinerant 
and short-termist approaches in recent years'. The durational 
proposed in this symposium is an open process, at some times more 
loose than at others, often a cyclical time of self-reflexivity 
without a predesignated end point.

Finally, we will consider ways in which these institutions engage 
with context. Often places are presented as fixed entities to which 
art practitioners are invited to respond with good idea(s). 
Geographer Doreen Massey offered an alternative approach to 
conceptualising geographical space, as 'a mutable location'. She saw 
it as a 'living experience,' a constellation of social relations, 
meeting and weaving together at a particular locus. A large 
proportion of those relations are constructed on a far larger scale 
than what we happen to define for that moment as the place itself, 
whether that be a street, or a region, or even a continent. Massey 
underlined the essence of space as a plurality of trajectories which 
coexist contemporaneously. She recognised the space as a constant 
work in progress, as the result of interrelations never static nor 
fixed, never finished. Space, in this sense, includes a complexity of 
aspects: history; politics; philosophy; social discourse; 
representation; community; culture; landscape etc. Those are relevant 
to the making and understanding of public art, site-specific projects 
and community projects.

The symposium will include workshops and brainstorming sessions as 
well as panel discussions, talks and presentations. The programme 
will aim to actively involve the people attending the symposium, the 
talks and all the activities will have a participatory component. The 
format of the symposium will be heterogeneous and versatile.

CCA's public engagement programme aims to widen access to our 
programme and encourage social and cultural change explored through 
art. For us this is a very important moment of transition. Our 
approach towards public and social engagement is very open and we 
would like to use this symposium to bring socially engaged 
institutions together to share different practices.

With Sanne Oorthuizen and Ying Que (CASCO), Viviana Checchia (CCA), 
Ainslie Roddick (CCA), Claudia Zeiske (Deveron Arts Centre), Emily 
Gee (FACT), Adam Sutherland (Grizedale), Andrea Phillips (Valand 
Academy, University of Gothenburg), Polly Brannan (Liverpool 
Biennial), Manuela Villa (Matadero), Marcos Garcia (Medialab - 
Prado), Alistair Hudson (Mima), Louise Shelley (Showroom), Claire 
Doherty (Situations), Harry Weeks (University of Edinburgh) and Lucy 
Brown (University of Strathclyde).


<mailto:viviana at cca-glasgow.com>viviana at cca-glasgow.com
Viviana Checchia, Public Engagement Curator
Phone: +44 141 352 4900

Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow
350 Sauchiehall Street
Glasgow, G2 3JD

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