Archives for posts with tag: Exchange

From Mini-Symposium #2, Leeds 8.10.14 at Yorkshire Dance

Brief notes taken during Tim’s presentation:

  • Gift, generosity, exchange – common threads in solo practice
  • Microfestival ‘Giving into Gift’ – 2011/2012/2013
  • Reacting to personal interests – socially, politically
  • 2011 – About feeding into each other’s development process
  • Credits and debts – stories told / gathered
  • Symposium – electronic piracy, volunteering
  • ‘Horses Teeth’ – making work for other artist
  • Anonymous bone marrow donor, and Tim’s relationship with them
  • Sparking conversation
  • The ‘ends justify the means’
  • Craftsmanship – the joy of doing something well, not for £/prestige/reputation – challenging capitalism
  • Craftsmanship gets neglected.
  • An awareness of how our work (artists) affects societal change – thinking about how we work

Courage, C. (2014) Placemaking as Performative Art [online lecture] in Complicating the co-production of art: hidden humans and acting objects, ‘Royal Geographical Society Annual International Conference’. Held 29 August 2014 at Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) and Imperial College London. available from <>

  • Quote from Courage, ‘I also see a social practice placemaking as a new genre placemaking, away from the top-down proscribed regeneration or participatory placemaking of city authorities and developers with major public art commissions for example.’ p.4.

Hubbard, P., Kitchin, R., Valentine, G. (eds.) 2008. Key Thinkers on Space and Place. London: SAGE Publications.

  • Brilliant compilation of individuals who have been influential in this field – gives biographical info and chronological synopsis of key theories and interests.

Purves, T. (ed.) 2005. What We Want Is Free: Generosity and Exchange in Recent Art. Albany: State University of New York.

  • Transferring goods and services as art, ‘gift’ and ‘generosity’ as part of the artistic act, project histories (or case studies). Part Two covers the theoretical and historical background of exchange and giving.

Willats, S. 2012. Artwork as Social Model: A Manual of Questions and Propositions. Sheffield: RGAP (Research Group for Artists).

  • Case studies inc. transcripts, diagrams and time lines of projects that have the everyday, society and participants in common – all by artist Stephen Willats.

Social Model as Artwork

Bishop, C. 2012. Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship. London: Verso.

  • Discusses the beginnings and history of participatory art, and its relationship to the political in Western society. Concludes with the need to recognise art as an experimental activity, and participatory art communicating to both spectators and participants.  Useful as an overview.

Image credit: Stephen Willats

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Within the wide-ranging terrain or landscape that is socially-engaged performance practice, artists Tim, Gisele, Gillian, Sarah and Dani have five distinct practices. The Interactions programme brings them together to share their interests with each other, think through issues and discuss research arising in the field of socially-engaged performance practice.

They meet again next week, and go onto hold two Mini-Symposium’s in Sept and Oct on themes arising from these discussions (book now to secure your place).

Our next few posts will draw on the thinking and ideas being raised within these Peer to Peer sessions.


Written by Gillian Dyson

I ‘Google’ “socially engaged performance”. Several HE courses come up: an Amazon book link; research papers:

Helguera, Pablo (2011): ‘Education for Socially Engaged Art’ Accessed (2014)

Hull, Hannah. ‘The Scales of Socially-Engaged Practice: Towards a Shared Language.’ Accessed (2014)

Horwitz, Andy (2012) ‘On Social Practice and Performance’ Accessed (2014)

Reflecting on conversations I have had this week with other solo performance artists I wonder what I/ we mean/ intend by title-ing ourselves ‘socially engaged’?

I also consider that the prefixing of ‘socially engaged’ to ‘art/ performance’ etc. perhaps undervalues the intrinsic nature and rigor of the practice in the first instance. The term does not refer to the process of making the work/ performance. Instead it focuses on the relational concern.

What indeed would a live practitioner be if they were not engaged with the social dialogue – the interlocutory?

Looking back at my biography of works I can see trends in practice type: The works commissioned by arts agencies that require a level of engagement beyond the gallery or theatre, or the International Performance Festivals that ask for new work responding to site or social situation. I am aware of how these commissioning contexts pre-determine the reach and type of ‘social engagement’ that my practice might have. It leads me to consider the types of audiences/ respondents/ social communities that me and my work might have communicated with, to, for, within.

I do not think I make applied performance. Neither is my work concerned with any overt social activism. And (despite many, rejected commission applications) I am not a public artist.

We had talked about a reticence that surrounds the recognizing of artists as a community of engagement in them/ ourselves, and how Socially Engaged Practice requires something more than artistic value(s).

But I am also remembering that for me, and the solo artists I have talked to, there is a sense of loneliness, isolation or under-valued-ness to our work. Surely then, the ‘added value’ of Socially Engaged Practice is one of creating community; valuing creative impetus; sharing dialogue? Does this need to be stated?

What are the ‘communities’ to which these social engagements apply? Or is Socially Engaged Practice endeavoring to create a community?  I consider the impact for my, and others artists involved in ‘community creating’ programmes such as Asiatopia or National Review of Live Art.

Solo performance art challenges the expectations of institutionalized performance-theatre/ gallery, by presenting the artist/ body/ subject in a non-commodity, non-capital environment of physical and theoretical removal from the normative. But is this social positioning in fact (paradoxically) a result of barriers to institutional or establishment financial or philosophical support? Is it expedient to (re)define ones practice as ‘socially engaged’?

I produce my work through dialogue. I look and see, talk and listen. I explore place, things, activities.  I collect words, objects, images. I exchange actions. Involvement with other people is automatic. I cannot imagine working in a social vacuum. There is no practice without a social context.

Image credit: Leo Burtin

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Written by Sarah Spanton

Leo Burtin’s Homemade: le Bistroquet  briefly described in a previous post took the form of a market stall, yet was not about an exchange of cash for tasty bistro cooking, but an exchange of one of your recipes for this tasty bistro cooking.


For me, this project was about setting up an alternative mode of economic exchange – that subverts the foregrounding of the cash exchange as the only valuable exchange between people.

This work acknowledges that there other things that are of worth in life, in this case your cooking knowledge, and your desire to share your favourite recipe with others. People actively engaged in writing their favourite recipes down on cards in exchange for the food on offer. The recipes are to be collated into a cookery book in the near future.



However, I didn’t manage to successfully make an exchange on the day, and effectively owe Leo a recipe, as I did eat some very nice pizza. Once I realised I had to provide a recipe, I felt under pressure. I actually like cooking, but tend to make things up as a I go along a lot of the time, so writing a recipe down felt like a challenge. Yet, I’d partaken of the food offered, and felt guilty when I sloped off to take part in the rest of Hazard.

So to publicly make reparations for this, here’s my recipe for rhubarb and blackberry crumble.

150g Wholewheat flour

50g Oats

50g Margarine/butter

100g Sugar

400g Cooked rhubarb (sweat around 4 sticks, in a covered dish in the oven for 20 mins or so, with 25g of sugar)

250g Un-cooked blackberries (cooked on a low heat with a 50g sugar)

Heat the oven to 180c

Grease an oven proof dish (the one I use is 8cm tall, 18cm across)

Cook blackberries, rinse through and add 50g of the sugar, heat in a pan with a lid, for 5 mins.

Add cooked rhubarb and blackberries to greased dish, mix gently.

Rub the wholewheat flour together with the margarine in a bowl, until you have fine crumbs. Add in the oats, and 25g sugar and carefully pour over the fruit in the bowl.

Cook in the oven for 20 minutes, until the top is brown, and the fruit bubbling a little.

Image credits: 1 Hazard, 2, 3 Sarah Spanton

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