Art & Social Practice:  What is it? How do we teach and learn this form of practice in Higher Education?

Date: 5th March 2014 –  11 am to 4 pm

This event brought together students, artists and lecturers from three UK universities based in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, London and Birmingham through video conferencing with each other and speakers from Northeast Scotland and New York.

The Virtual Symposium introduced the subject of art as social practice as well as what students are learning and what kind of projects they are making in their diverse communities, from remote islands and market towns to urban environments. It was intended to be informal, friendly and conducive to learning about and sharing each others work, experience and challenges.

Hilary Nicoll from Artworks Scotland outlined their innovative research projects in the field of participatory arts practices as part of the national initiative led by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Three case studies including one project from the USA by Gregory Sale; and two from Scotland, Tashi Gore on the Albert Drive Project and Catrin Jeans on her work as Cultural Health Visitor for Deveron Arts, provided a common ground for discussion. The day finished with a talk from Pablo Helguera, NY, author of Education for Socially Engaged Art, the primary text used by art students learning how to work within communities.

This Virtual Symposium was organised by students and lecturers from the module Art & Social Practice, led by Shetland College for the Visual Arts Section of the Creative and Cultural Industries Subject Network, the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and made possible by a pilot research grant from Artworks Scotland.