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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Art

Undergraduate Course: Community: social engagement in contemporary art practice (ARTX08073)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course is aimed at students who want to learn about and gain experience in the practice of socially engaged art.

By looking at historical contexts and precedents, you will be introduced to various approaches of social engagement by looking at artists, past and present, who have worked with and in local communities. Through active engagement with a specific community, you will learn how artists can operate in the public realm in a community context, sometimes playing an active role in shaping local environments by highlighting issues and bringing people together to facilitate and implement change. Arguments for and against various types of participatory practice will be examined. You will gain practical experience in this particular field of contemporary art and be introduced to participatory models of art production
Course description The course will be delivered through lectures, seminars, field trips, workshops, group tutorials and individual research. Engagement strategies will be tested out and lead to a final project proposal, which will be exhibited as part of an end of project exhibition/event/ideas laboratory.

The early part of the course will introduce you to the artistic heritage of socially engaged practice: from Dada excursions et visites, Situationist International, Fluxus, Allan Kaprow, The Artist Placement Group, Joseph Beuys and Social Sculpture through to Relational Aesthetics and present day practitioners. You will also be introduced to various participatory models and degrees of participation i.e. nominal, directed, creative and collaborative. This will equip you with the background knowledge that will assist in determining an individual approach when the fieldwork commences after a couple of weeks.
At this stage you will be expected to research the specific community (which may vary year on year) through site visits and through a process of active engagement with some aspect of that community (this could be the community at large, preformed groups or organisations, a particular site or users of a site, community organisers etc). Consultation of the ECA Ethics policy will be required as part of this process. Students will be expected to evidence consideration of ethics within their interaction with the community and in their submission. You will be expected to work on a proposal for an artwork that will be created in and for that community. The final submission is not the Art work itself, but the successful research, contextualisation and potential engagement of the community, projected and illustrated in the Proposal.

As this course is open to all students, the opportunity to share ideas and develop work collaboratively exists. Interdisciplinary projects will be encouraged. The course offers students real experience of operating in the public realm and trialling an aspect of contemporary art practice in a specific community.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Students are expected to pay for Art Materials and Equipment. Specific materials and equipment costs will vary depending on students individual choice of method of production.
Information for Visiting Students
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Attend, prepare for and make constructive contributions to tutorials, crits and seminars on the fields of socially engaged art
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of key research methods and strategies in socially engaged art
  3. Present evidence of a personal response by identifying an idea for a proposed work and employing appropriate research methods
  4. Communicate research, analysis and initiative in a well-structured, coherent and creative proposal
Reading List
Helguera, Pablo Education for Socially Engaged Art: A Materials and Techniques Handbook, Jorge Pinto Books 2011

Bishop, Claire Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship, Verso 2012

Kwon, Miwon. One Place After Another: Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity. MIT, 2002

Kester, Grant Conversation Pieces: Community and Communication in Modern Art, University of California press, 2013

Bishop, Claire Participation, Whitechapel: Documents of Contemporary Art 2006
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Work both independently and with others; develop social skills from working with others; gain real experience for making work in the public realm; employ new location based research methods including participatory research; develop analytical skills, planning skills and communication skills; develop ethical and inclusive solutions for creating artwork; problem solving.
KeywordsArt,Contemporary Art Practice,Community,Social Engagement,Participaory Practice
Course organiserMs Susan Mowatt
Course secretaryMiss Ellie McCartney
Tel: (0131 6)51 5879
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