Table Discussion Notes: Interactions, Leeds. 8th October 2014

How does socially engaged practice affect / enact change in the working technique of the artist? (collated discussion and thinking from all the participants in dialogue with and written up by Gillian Dyson)

It challenges assumptions

‘Disturbance’ can make it challenging for people to react to – the rules have changed

Learning to ‘go with’ action/ reaction of audience/ participants

Enquiring into what a process is – process becomes a priority – ethics of process in therapeutic context

Social responsibility for effect / affect

> voice / power > activist?



Whose language? Does artist’s language adapt/ become sensitive to participants’ and vice versa?










The intention of the ‘unintentional’

Safe space


Challenging or disturbing


Dialogical practice

Finding things out and giving out – trading

> Generosity

> But you create a safe place and / or a repository for …

People can deal with difficult concepts

> Learning about yourself …

> The experience constantly feeds back

… How you choose to learn from the first situation


> Surprising


Sense of privilege – to facilitate others

… It’s exhausting

> Duty of care

> Lots of effort


People can give themselves freely

> Can reveal a lot – deep impact on individual / group

‘Craft’ > value the process, social interaction not ‘technique’

> But – not diluting the ‘art’ skill

< Dialogue with ‘non expert’ participants

Responsibility – they enjoy / and or take away


> Where does the ‘need’ come from?

> Love people or ordinary human curiosity …

..What is your heart’s desire?


Going with it …

Staying open

> Dialogue can be with yourself, – or the objects / work …

> But – dialogue with others would inform my solo practice

We can also be immersed in our own self practice – NOT be socially engaged.


Affects policy makers?

“ACE – “great art for everyone”

A democratisation in public spending


(Jeremy Deller, Grayson Perry, Bon & Roberts Smith.. et al)

Rosemary Lee working with inter-generational participants


Allows / insists that you consider other generations in your process or making …


Art therapy – therapeutic process

> Facilitation

> Revealing

> Expression – forms of voicing- as lightening rod…


> Responsibility – ethic / weight of engagement


Narrative/ other voices …

‘ Where does it go?’


Image credit: Sarah Spanton