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ART 365 A: Social Practice

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Meeting Time: 
TTh 11:30am - 2:20pm
ART 207
Timea Tihanyi
Timea Tihanyi

Syllabus Description:


ART365: Art and Social Practice

 SPRING 2016

TTh 11:30am-2:20pm


ART 207

Instructor: Timea Tihanyi


Office: Art 328J     

Office hours: Please email for appointment

Welcome to Art and Social Practice, the practice of Socially Engaged Art


Quick links to

Up-to-date course schedule // Links to Students Blogs

Digital Files On Canvas // Audio tutorials 

Martha Rosler // Suggested Readings // First day handouts 

 Artist Research // Blog Archives


Course Description

The main focus of the course is on experiential learning, collaboration and expanding a dialogue about interaction and engagement in the public space, and the role of artists in the social process. Social Practice blurs the distinction between life and art, utilizing observation, participation, dialogue, archiving and direct action. The class will focus on the following topics: community, place and urban development, economies, interaction and engagement with non-art audiences. As a special opportunity this quarter, we will be drawing on events in conjunction of artist, Martha Rosler's year-long residency in Seattle. Your professional participation is required. 

The main focus of the course is on making work about current social issues that are relevant to the students in the class. Around these, we will research, and explore various strategies for interaction, representation and critique.

Issues of immigration, the role of minorities in the social fabric, urban growth and transformation, the nature of the public space, technology mediated social experiences, the role of social and community activism, and art as being a medium for creative transformation in our contemporary life, will also be tackled. As a preparation for assignments, we are going to look at artist examples and discuss a few short readings, in order to better understand the historical background that nourishes social practice and the aesthetic issues it raises. 

This is a studio course, consisting of a series of studio assignments, some of which will be done at locations outside of the campus. Expect field trips, readings, individual research, group collaborations, and one artist research presentation. 


Course learning outcomes

  • Identify important artists whose practice includes art under the genre referred to collectively as social practice;
  • Demonstrate ability to thoughtfully engage and reflect on these art practices via your own projects and making process;
  • Demonstrate ability to thoughtfully discuss aesthetic and ethical debates related to topics in social practice;
  • Compare and contrast social practices with the making of art objects that are presented in galleries and museums, and explore how social practice becomes accepted as art;
  • Design, develop and document art and creative expression in the social/public sphere.


Blog Archives

This course is open to be working with any media of your choice. However, since a large extent of social practice projects are ephemeral and therefore they depend on proper documentation, it is required that you keep an online blog to keep track of your process and projects throughout the quarter.
 Project documentation is the bulk of what you might present during a critique. Record and collect your inspirations, discoveries, and evidences of the project development process consistently. You are expected to include writing (reflections, research, interviews, etc.) as well as visuals (sketches, photographic, and maybe audio/video documentation) for each project you are working on. This documentation is a significant part of the final grade and also part of your UW undergraduate art portfolio.

Artist Research

As part of the course, you are expected to find and research a contemporary artist whose work in social practice you find inspiring. Artist research presentations are scheduled throughout the quarter.


Final grade will be determined by the following: 

• Major Assignments #1-4: 40% 

• Contribution and Participation (in class activities, including planning, making, brainstorming, 
discussions, critiques and reviews): 

• Professionalism, Preparedness and Development (preparedness for class sessions, submitting small 
assignments on time, meeting work-in-progress check-points; taking initiative, and showing high level of 
professionalism during collaboration): 15% 

• Project Archive Blog: 15% 

• Artist Research: 10% 

Grading Guidelines for the Division of Art
3.9-4.0 A The highest possible performance in all aspects of the course with work exemplifying exceptional quality. Exhibits outstanding creative potential.

3.5-3.8 A- Exhibits creative potential with superior performance in most aspects of the course; high quality in the remainder. Well prepared for subsequent courses in the field.

3.2-3.4 B+ High performance in most aspects of the course. Very good chance of success in subsequent courses in the field. Exhibits some creative potential.

2.9-3.1 B Good performance in some of the course; satisfactory performance in the remainder. Exhibits some creative potential. Good chance of success in subsequent courses in the field.

2.5-2.8 B-

2.2-2.4 C+
 / 1.9-2.1 C
 Demonstrates the minimum amount of research needed to complete the course. Evidence of some learning, but generally substandard performance. 

Code of Conduct
This is an interdisciplinary visual arts studio course; we will be thinking and talking about, as well as making art in this manner. Please note that class time is for group work, presentations, discussions, critiques, as well as for workshops and practice time for special techniques. Many of the projects will need to be done outside of class time.

Expect to spend at least 6 hours/week on your studio practice outside of class and set up a schedule that will work for you through the quarter accordingly.

A large part (20%) of your course grade is Professionalism, Preparedness and Development, which entails preparedness for meetings and meeting the required level of project development at the assignment check- points. Consultation and demos on unfamiliar materials and techniques are always available upon your request.

This class is conducted in a collaborative spirit, requiring you to engage with the group process and to contribute to building an environment of learning and experimentation where:
a. taking risks is preferred;

b. safe to ask questions and debate issues;

c. feedback is offered in a supportive spirit;

d. all participants are attentive and respectful of each other.

To achieve this please observe the following rules and expectations:

1. Make sure your project moves along steadily even if you are being momentarily distracted by various other obligations. Come to class prepared to demonstrate progress and to participate in a shared positive learning experience.

2. Class begins and ends at the appointed time unless otherwise scheduled. Check Canvas schedule for preparation.

3. Be responsible for your own successful completion of the course. This means to:

a. Keep an open attitude. Use your best judgment to define project parameters. Rely on your strengths and well-honed skills but leave it open for experimentation. Challenge yourself, and strive for new ideas and ways of expression.

b. Attend all sessions and be prepared to present new results of your work in progress each week. Always have tangible things to show: work in progress, material tests, sketches, models, etc... Meet the required level of project development at the assignment check-points.

c. Contribution and Participation are required and important part of your course experience (it is 20% of the final grade).

d. If sudden illness, emergency or random act of nature should prevent you from attending class, contact me ( IN ADVANCE of your absence.
 If you do take an absence, you are responsible for following up with a classmate making sure that you are not missing any important information and staying up-to-speed with the rest of the class.

e. All projects must be completed and presented on time. Projects must be presented in person during the critique. Late projects will not be accepted. Work unfinished by the time of the final critique will receive feedback but also a penalty deduction of 10% for each late day (up to 3 days).

4. This course prepares you for real-life practice that engages others (others = communities, audiences, sites, etc.). You are expected to take your own work seriously and to be organized and conscientious in planning and managing project work time.

5. Most projects are just not practical to do at home. Rm.207 is your shared studio space for the duration of the quarter. You have access to the room outside of the scheduled class times. Check the calendar posted by the door to see when the room is occupied. Wherever you work, always leave your work area clean.
 Observe safety, traffic flow, and maintenance rules when working in public spaces outside of the classroom. Attain permission from Annie Pearson ( in the main office (rm. 102) before installing your project in the SOA. See Art Installation and Display Policy.pdf for details. 

Outside of the SOA, you are responsible for securing permission from Campus Grounds Management LEAVE NO TRACE policy applies!

6. Move out all materials, tools and projects from the classroom by last class meeting on finals week.

7. Absolutely NO cell phone calls or text messages are to be taken or made during class. Turn off and put away all phones and digital equipment (including laptop, tablets, smart phones, and personal equipment for music) for the entire duration of class.

8. If you have any questions, concerns regarding the class or need extra help, talk to me ASAP.

Catalog Description: 
Introduces overlapping territories of art and social practice, the practice of Socially Engaged Art. Focuses on environmentalism, consumerism, economies, society and culture, activism, and the place for creative practice in our contemporary life.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
October 5, 2016 - 9:01pm