Jade Spencer has written an article entitled The People’s Plan for the Royal Docks for ERA magazine to find “inspiration in the current moment’: ideas for what Mark Fisher called ‘an alternative modernity’, piercing the neoliberal logic of development which risks defining our recent history”.
FEMINIST ART ACTIVISMS AND ARTIVISMS edited by Katy Deepwell examines different art practices through discussions on identity, gender, power structures and politics and contributes to dialogues between feminist thought and activism in relation to visual arts
ACTIVE ENERGY: COMMUNITIES COUNTERING CLIMATE CHANGE by Loraine Leeson.
WEAD MAGAZINE ISSUE No. 11
WOMEN ART POLITICS
The article outlines the development of the Active Energy project and the organic way in which such projects can gain longevity if they are rooted in community and not subject to the overarching constraints of commissions or funding bodies. Through supporting concerns identified by senior citizens in East London, Active Energy has been able to address urgent ecological issues and discover new ways that crucial local knowledge can have an effect both locally and with a constituency far beyond its own borders.
Loraine and the Geezers contribute to a book edited by Richard Povall of art.earth that asks how can we cross disciplinary boundaries in relation to a question or idea. The book also explores transculturalism: professional disciplines have their own cultures and ways of thinking and working, but even in this globalised world, so do individual nations and ethnic groups. All of these cultural languages play into our work: this book examines how culture, practice and language can intermingle to create new projects that explore real-world questions.
Chapter by Loraine Leeson on The Things That Make You Sick.
When the closure of Bethnal Green Hospital was announced in the late 1970s, its medical staff occupied the site and continued to care for the patients. The chapter describes the making of a video, posters and exhibition for that campaign, followed by visual materials produced with health workers’ unions for the East London Health Project to inform the public on the potential effects of the impending cuts in health services.
In a chapter entitled Water Power: Creativity and the unlocking of community knowledge Loraine explores the role of art in this process, its role in making meaning and bringing together the ideas, people and concepts that enable innovation. She also looks at those processes of creative facilitation that draw out ideas and generate the inspiration whereby the hands-on experience of communities can be brought to bear on issues that affect all our lives.
25th June 2018 saw publication of Loraine’s article Our land: creative approaches to the redevelopment of London’s Docklands in a special editon of the International Journal of Heritage Studies edited by Katazyna Kosmala: Intangible heritage and post-industrial waterfront zones: Ways of seeing.
Large-scale re-development of post-industrial sites can easily railroad over the needs or wishes of its existing inhabitants, or at best involve them in peripheral consultation. However, when a community is highly organised and also collaborates with others to gather expertise and develop effective means of communication, it has the ability to re-envision a future that can meet the needs of all concerned. In the 1980s The Docklands Community Poster Project engaged with a cluster of waterfront communities, which embraced the arts in influencing the regeneration of the London Docklands. Close collaboration between local people, activists and artists led to a range of interventions implemented over a ten year period that included a series of large-scale photo-murals, travelling exhibitions, initiatives and events such as the People’s Armadas to Parliament and the People’s Plan for the Royal Docks. The article makes an argument for how and why art can be an effective tool in social transformation and highlights its role in documenting and making visible the intangible cultural heritage of the communities it serves.
In May 2018 Art as Social Action: An Introduction to the Principles and Practices of Teaching Social Practice Art was published by Allworth Press, New York. It contains a chapter by Loraine Leeson and Alberto Duman on Experience as Art: Fine Art Social Practice at Middlesex University, which draws on their experience of teaching the MA Art and Social Practice and BA Fine Art Practice at Middlesex University.
The book is edited by Greg Sholette and Chloe Bass who teach one of the few masters courses on this topic at Social Practice Queens, City University of New York with an aim of gathering together knowledge available to support teaching in this area.
With content arranged thematically around such topics as direct action, alternative organizing, urban imaginaries, anti-bias work, and collective learning, among others, Art as Social Action has created a comprehensive manual for teachers about how to teach art as social practice. Along with a series of introductions by leading social practice artists in the field, valuable lesson plans offer examples of pedagogical projects for instructors at both college and high school levels with contributions written by prominent socially engaged artists, teachers, and thinkers.