Table discussion Notes: Interactions, Leeds. 8th October 2014 (collated discussion and thinking from all the participants in dialogue with and written up by Gisele Bone).

Participants were asked to write a question when they entered the symposium. Something they were bringing to the session. These were the questions people wrote:

– Define ‘Interactions’

– What are the tensions that arise between social engagement and artistic practice – or are there any?

– How socially-engaged am I?

– What have I learnt? At what point is the audience not participating? – Work that happens in the public realm

– How can performance and public and objects interact?

– How to keep artist’s integrity (if that matters) in socially collaborative work?

connected to…

– How can we make socially-engaged, socially responsible and responsive work without losing the meaning? – Who’s meaning? Who is making meaning?

– What does socially-engaged dance look like? What is the difference / friction between ‘socially-engaged’ practice and (community) dance? WHAT ARE THE OPPORTUNITIES?

– What new things am I going to hear tonight? And what can I contribute to the discussion?

– Why do I need to consider social engagement in my practice?


What is ‘engagement’?

Solo practice? How about ‘socially-considered’? Am I engaging with the concerns of society – is that socially-engaged practice?

Not in panic mode – comfort zone – stretch zone – curiousity
Bored unless in stretch zone?


Moment or duration

Does it mean I have to work with somebody?

Social-engagement favours the individual
Whoever stumbles upon the work at that particular time
Forces less assumptions and has a different intention
Rather than the notion of ‘community’ that the person is seen as belonging to
The individual has a presence – the experience of the individual

Corporate – learning & engagement – measured and about reporting back – so different to social-engagement – about the individual

Socially engaged practice – comes from Fine Art practice? (asked by performance practitioner)
60s – performance – desire to leave the gallery space (response by visual artist who also performs)

Does it have to mean there’s a social issue?

Convergence of disciplines

Terms picked up by policy makers and will soon be dropped by practitioners

How can we make work that changes culture?
Do we want to change culture?
Who decides what to change?

connected to…

What’s ‘power’ all about? (‘Empowerment’ is a condescending term) ‘Engagement’ – who for / why / how?


Image credits: Sarah Spanton