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    From community arts to the socially engaged art commission

    Hope, Sophie (2017) From community arts to the socially engaged art commission. In: Jeffers, A. and Moriarty, G. (eds.) Culture, Democracy and the Right to Make Art. London, UK: Bloomsbury, pp. 203-222. ISBN 9781474258357.

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    Some of the tangled roots of contemporary socially engaged art can be found embedded in the complex histories of community arts in the UK. It is therefore worth recalling the criticisms made by community artists about the implications of their professionalization back in the 1970s and 1980s. In this chapter, I consider contemporary commissioning practices of socially engaged art alongside observations that Su Braden (1978) and Owen Kelly (1984) made about the depoliticization of community arts through ‘grant addiction’ and the dangers of professional artists ‘taking the arts to the people’. I begin by recapping on why community arts by the 1980s was criticized as becoming increasingly professionalized. I then introduce five recent commissions to illustrate the ongoing fluidity and complexities of artists working with others by focusing on the role the ‘aesthetic third’, intersubjectivity and uncertainty play in structured, funded projects. I conclude by reflecting on the implications of professionalization on the form and content of contemporary socially engaged art practices in relation to what went before.


    Item Type: Book Section
    School: School of Arts > Film, Media and Cultural Studies
    Depositing User: Sophie Hope
    Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2017 13:11
    Last Modified: 13 Jun 2021 16:56


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