What is Social Practice in Art?

I have been researching this question and a definition that keeps appearing is ‘ a practice that involves engagement with communities of interest..’ I suppose communities of interest will face the usual set of challenges that arise when a group of people come together with a common aim:

  • how do you communicate your knowledge and skills in a universal language? 
  • how can you learn successfully from others – taking into account different perspectives on the common aim?

“Fundamental challenges are found in building a shared understanding of the task at hand, which often does not exist at the beginning, but is evolved incrementally and collaboratively….” Gerard Fischer


4 thoughts on “What is Social Practice in Art?

  1. Hello Julia, some thought provoking questions, i often wonder how it is possible to assess whether the goals have been reached, when the interested community may not necessarily be aware that they are part of someones Art practice? Best wishes, anne

    • Interesting point – how do you evaluate and assess? Do you start with a criteria of assessment? How do you collect and collate evidence – and is it really important – perhaps you have to begin with fluid goals?

  2. Hi Julia! Some good questions! I wonder if there is no such thing as a universal language, although you bring up a key point about social practice – communication!

    You’ve also touched on what I consider another important point in social practice – learning from others! This kind of learning is called “dialogical”, a way of describing the kind of practice, “dialogical practice” that is important for socially engaged practices. More about this on Monday!

    Meanwhile, you might be interested to check out a public session that the organisation, A Blade of Grass, held in New York City recently. They posed the question: How can dialogic teaching and learning be used as a strategy for social engagement? This is a learning process first developed by Paulo Freire which aims to empower people by giving them a forum for sharing their existing knowledge, equalising the teacher/student relationship.

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