Pascal Gielen seminar on Community Arts

Tuesday 22nd November, 4-6pm
Westminster Forum, University of Westminster, 32-38 Wells Street, London W1T 
Pascal Gielen (Groningen University, The Netherlands)  
‘Mapping the Community Arts: Artistic Autonomy, Repressive Tolerance and Pastoral Power’

In recent years there has been increased attention to so-called ‘socially engaged art practices’. Equipped with a sense of urgency and intent, artists and curators develop work with the support of communities or groups to tackle political and social issues. While the success of these projects are not easily measurable, they often reiterate the role of artist/curator as protagonists of specific forms of social change, which posits a direct contrast to recent activism which carefully distances itself from any leader-based political organizational categories.

Pascal Gielen, co-editor of the recently published volume Community Art, will draw out a critical cartography of community art and will speak about the power and impotencies of this phenomenon. Since modernity, art and community, artist and social work have had an ambivalent relationship, can art have a role in building communities? What is the political potency of forms of art that strive to integrate individuals and social groups? Pascal Gielen is Professor of Sociology of the Arts and Director of the research centre Arts in Society at Groningen University. His publications include The Murmuring of the Artistic Multitude: Global Art, Memory and Post-Fordism (Valiz, 2009) and the co-edited Being an Artist in Post-Fordist Times (NAi Publishers, 2009).

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