Social Aesthetics

Call for Papers

Social Aesthetics

European Doctoral Seminar in Culture, Criticism, and Creativity
London, March 4-6, 2010

Deadline for abstracts: February 5 (100 words, to Lesley Hewings, )

Convened by Janis Jefferies, John Hutnyk and Helen Carr


Our topic for the March seminar is Social Aesthetics. Moving away from notions of individual creation or the single artist, perhaps always illusory, we will concentrate on participatory and shared creativity.

Social aesthetics first of all addresses the social forms in which we work: project work and collaborative work, work in teams and with groups, co-research, co-activity, collaboration and participation. We make things together. This also informs the format of our seminar, which follows a series of joint workshops with InterArts FU Berlin, Copenhagen Doctoral School and Goldsmiths – i.e., ours is a format which welcomes co-operative endeavour. Thus, in the spirit of our topic, presentations need not be formal papers, but could take various joint forms. They might entail:

Partner work - a jointly planned presentation where two or more persons from two or more of the participating institutions combine to devise and present.

Participatory excursive work/walk - participants might propose to socialise and mobilise the workshop by leading a series of peripatetic and simultaneous small group (say, for example, groups of five) psycho-geography style walks in parts of South London. Determined by a theme, led by one of the proposal team or an appointee, and documented by participants with still camera and video/camera phone, audio recording. Material could then be played back to the workshop, perhaps as pre- or after-dinner entertainment.

Collaborative presentation styles, improvisation, contingent and divergent performance, visual or project-based work is encouraged. Experimental and work-in-progress sessions are welcome, especially where the aim is to gather input for further elaboration, co-authorship and multiple authorship. We are the ones we have been waiting for... as they say.

But single papers are also welcome. Further topics for either joint or individual presentation might riff on ideas of socialist realism now, co-research, workers/people's art movement, community project space, co-production, co-constitutive ontology, democratization, communal work, complicity, politics and art, co-production, multi-user platforms, online collaboration 2.0.  Papers might want to address contemporary examples, for example, Antony Gormley’s  recent One and Other project on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, collaborative performance or writing, anything which suggests new possibilities, and problems, for social art. But papers will also be welcomed rereading past political, artistic, social, theatrical or literary praxis in the light of social aesthetics.


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