Socially engaged art

“Socially engaged art is a field of practice which argues that there is a critical difference between an art that engages in the politics of representation and the art institutions, and an art that engages in wider political practices. The development of socially engaged art has tended to follow particular patterns: (a) it has focused on communities defined by place; (b) artists have usually been in a strong position relative to the human community or environnment that forms the subject; and (c) it has been assumed that there is a clear distinction between the work of artists, who are able to give voice to disadvantaged communities, and the actions of business which has tended to ignore these voices.”

Barry, A. 2006. Socially Engaged Art and Social Research (University of Oxford, School of Geography and the Environment), viewed on 13 April 2009, <>.


edited 5 October, 2015 by Admin

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Associated Terms

Relational Aesthetics

in Socially engaged art

Artwork as social interstice – an art taking as its theoretical horizon the realm of human interactions and its social context, rather than the assertion of an independent and private symbolic space

The artwork creates a social environment in which people come together to participate in a shared activity.

In Relational Art, the audience is envisaged as a community. Rather than the artwork being an encounter between a viewer and an object, relational art produces intersubjective encounters. Through these encounters, meaning is elaborated collectively, rather than in the space of individual consumption.
Bourriaud. N (1998) Relational Aesthetics

Uploaded by Corinne Rockall January 2011

edited 5 October, 2015 by Admin