T-AP SI: Worlding Public Cultures: The Arts and Social Innovation

Lead Research Organisation: University of the Arts London
Department Name: Chelsea College of Art and Design


Worlding Public Cultures: The Arts and Social Innovation is a collaborative research project and transnational platform designed to foster more resilient public cultures and institutions to address the challenges of populist nationalisms and global migrations in pluralist democracies.

This project focuses on the global dimensions of contemporary public culture and applies its findings on social
innovation in the higher education, museum, and cultural sectors. It proposes worlding (Heidegger 2002 [1950];Spivak 1985; Hunt 2014; Cheah 2016) or the situated-ness of world-making, as an activating concept and analytical tool. Going beyond current top-down models of "inclusion," "diversity" and other representations of the "global," the concept of worlding grounds the global within local worlds and allows entangled histories to emerge, opening pathways to decolonize "universal" Western narratives and epistemologies.

Through a series of academies in collaboration with public institutions (National Gallery of Canada; Tate Modern; National Museum of World Cultures, the Netherlands; Tate Modern; Institute for Cultural Inquiry, Berlin) this project is designed to enable transatlantic, multisectoral and public knowledge sharing between those working in and on different geocultural contexts. Worlding Public Cultures will culminate in a website of baseline data, two peer-reviewed volumes and two collaboratively written white papers on pedagogy and curating in a global context. Furthermore, it will play an important role in developing the Transnational and Transcultural Arts and Culture Exchange (TrACE) network.

Ultimately, by conducting research on and for institutions of public culture, this project will be an agent of social innovation that impacts how the global is theorized, making concrete recommendations for the education and museum sectors and, ultimately, contributing to the creation of a more resilient society with more elastic models of social cohesion through changes in public discourse.

Planned Impact

The target audiences for the project's work products range across the university, museum and civil society sectors, and include: university-based academics and researchers, museum professionals (curators, educators and leaders), students, activists, artists and community members for public events. The project will employ a range of media and engagement strategies to facilitate public interaction with the project, particularly during the academies. These will include live blogging and social media updates during academies with the possibility of live event streaming at Tate Modern and ICI Berlin. The project will also draw on and collaborate with the world-class learning and outreach programmes of partner institutions such the National Gallery of Canada, Tate Modern and National Museum of World Cultures, as well as the extensive and longstanding public programmes of the research centres.

Additionally, a dedicated public website, hosted by UAL, accessible by all team partners will serve as the main public dissemination point for the project. The website will host a database of baseline data and curated digital artifacts, as well as project updates and summaries, and provide pathways for public engagement and feedback. It will serve as the public face of the TrACE network, and will be one of the repositories for the archiving project material and outputs (see http://www.blackartistsmodernism.co.uk for an example of a previous project website hosted by UAL). The project website will function as a crucial tool for compiling the project database and enabling the enhanced engagement of multiple project stakeholders. This website will be managed by the consortium and will be hosted by UAL as part of its standard IT provision of comprehensive support for research project websites.

In addition to more popular forms of public dissemination, the project will reach its academic audiences through the publication of two edited volumes. We have already received concrete expressions of interest and financial support from Heidelberg University Press and the book series at the Institute for Cultural Inquiry, Berlin (see corresponding letters of commitment), and also have contacts at Tate Papers, Third Text and Dark Matter, where Goodwin is currently an editorial associate.
Finally, the work of the four academies and data collection project will be distilled into two compact, practice-oriented documents designed to have an immediate impact on teaching and curating in a global context. These two white papers will synthesize the project's research on social innovation for the purposes of applying those insights to the higher education and museum and culture sectors, and will be disseminated on the TrACE website, through TrACE networks, and through the networks of our museum Cooperation Partners.


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