Social Practice: Concepts and Contexts

University Curriculum: University Curriculum

Liberal Arts
Undergraduate Course
Degree Students
Social Practice
Fall 2023
Taught By: Barbara Adams and Marisa Jahn
Section: L

CRN: 9168

Credits: 0

How is it that a work of art may now double as a restaurant, a barter network, a walking tour, a community garden, a scientific study, a town hall meeting, or a virtual community archive, and vice-versa? Since the turn of the 21st century, artistic projects that invite exchange, imagine new social relationships, and provoke individual and collective actions have grown increasingly influential, especially amongst a younger generation of creative practitioners around the world. This transdisciplinary approach is typically characterized by collaboration across liberal art and art/ design disciplines. Rather than being the product of a single artist working within an isolated studio, social practice projects are driven by the desire to connect, to look outside oneself in meaningful and tangible ways, and to positively impact daily life within specific communities—often co-created with people with a variety of life experiences. For this kind of socially-engaged work to have an impact as both action and artwork, artists, designers, writers, scholars, architects, urban planners, and curators (among others) must develop a unique set of social and material skills. They must demonstrate an awareness of local histories and a nuanced understanding of the relationship between social justice, polemics and poetics, and learn a set of critical tools that can help an artist work in this field and improve their practice. This course offers a theoretical and historical foundation for students interested in socially-engaged practices within or across their own disciplines, whether they are studying in the liberal arts, art and design, or the performing arts. It will introduce some of the economic, political, and aesthetic forces that have influenced the emergence of these contemporary art and design practices. Through assigned texts, case studies, possible site visits, writing assignments and group projects, students will investigate art historical legacies that challenge the boundaries between “art” and “life”; study methodologies stemming from social justice movements, new ways of teaching and learning, and ethnography; and engage in current debates regarding the ethics of cultural production in the public sphere. This course satisfies a requirement for the Social Practice minor. [This ULEC is in category 1, Tools for Social Change.] Note: Students must register for both the lecture and discussion section of this course. Both the lecture meeting of this course and all discussion sections will be delivered in-person and on campus.

College: University Curriculum (UL)

Department: University Curriculum (UNIV)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Lecture (L)

Modality: In-Person

Max Enrollment: 60

Add/Drop Deadline: September 11, 2023 (Monday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: November 19, 2023 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

* Seats available but reserved for a specific population.

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every few minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 6:12am EST 12/6/2023

Meeting Info:
Days: Monday
Times: 12:20pm - 1:35pm
Building: Academic Entrance 63 Fifth Ave
Room: L104
Date Range: 8/28/2023 - 12/11/2023