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ART 365 A: Social Practice

Meeting Time: 
MW 2:30pm - 5:20pm
ART 110
Timea Tihanyi
Timea Tihanyi

Syllabus Description:


ART365: Art and Social Practice

 WINTER 2019



 ART 110

Instructor: Timea Tihanyi


Office: Art 328J     

Office hours: Please email for appointment

Welcome to Art and Social Practice,

the Practice of Art

that is Mindful of and Engaged with the Issues of the World Today

 Course Schedule / Links to Student Blogs 

 Artist Research / Readings

ART bldg. Installation Policy and Form

Course Description

The main focus of the course is to explore artistic processes that originate or take effect in a public space. We focus on experiential learning through making projects and discussions. We address the practice of collaboration and expand the dialogue about interaction and engagement in the art practice. We will also look at examples of artist working in the public space, and the role of artists in the social process.

What is Social Practice?

Social Practice (Relational Aesthetics) blurs the distinction between life and art, using making, observation, participation, dialogue, archiving and direct action.

The main focus of the course is creating mindful work for and in the public space, expressive of current social and cultural issues that are relevant to the students in the class. There will be plenty of room to bring your personal experience into your artwork and expression. As artist Barbara Kruger remarked: "The personal is political, and the political is personal." Our discussions are conducted in a thoughtful and respectful manner. Around these real life issues, we will research and explore various strategies for artistic representation, community interaction and critique. 

What topics and assignments should I expect?

The class will focus on the following topics:

  • Explore and engage the public space: strategies for researching oral history, for mapping and activating public spaces;
  • What is interaction?: strategies for working with non-art audiences. 
  • Alternative economies / create a community.

Further topics:

Issues related to environmental challenges, housing and homelessness, gentrification, urban growth and transformation, the corporatization of the public space, technology mediated social experiences, issues of migration, the role of under-represented groups in the social fabric, the role of art and artists in social and community activism may also be tackled.

This is a studio course, consisting of a series of studio assignments, some of which will be done at outside locations on campus, or in the various labs of the SOA+AH+D.

The course if highly participatory! Expect field trips, individual and collaborative group projects that are built sequentially, a few short readings, one individual research assignment with presentation, and a project blog.

What is the project blog?

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.
 Each assignment will be documented on the student's Art and Social Practice blog. We will set up the blog in the beginning of the quarter and will review it periodically. Project documentation is often required to be presented 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 art portfolio.

What skills will I acquire

  • Design, develop and implement projects of (socially conscious) creative expression within public sphere.
  • Practice strategies of research and documentation (audio, video, image, alternative practices).
  • Learn about alternative methods of presenting/archiving temporary and interactive artwork.
  • Identify important artists whose practice includes art under the genre referred to collectively as 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.

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. List of Artists for research

Final Critique:

Tuesday, March 19th 2:30-4:20pm Final presentations reviews and sit-down potluck meal. All online documentation due today. 


Final grade will be determined by the following: 

• Major Assignments together: 35% 

• Project Archive Blog: 15% 

• Artist Research: 10% 

• Participation 40%: 

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

 and 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): 20% 

Required tools, equipment and materials

  • Earbuds/headphones. Smartphone with Voice recorder app or other sound recording device. DSLR camera and video camera (available for check-out in SOACC and several other locations on campus)
  • Scissors, X-acto knife with a pack of 5 spare blades.
  • Drawing tools, sketch/notebook
  • USB thumb drive.


About your Participation / What to do in case of absence?

Your active participation is a significant part of your final grade. Participation means that your contributions to class promote and aid not only your own learning and progress but those of your classmates as well. If you have to miss a class meeting (for whatever reason) here is what you need to do:

  • - email instructor ahead of time (or at least on the day of your absence) to notify them and to make arrangements;
  • - check canvas for information on what was missed and what preparation is needed for the next lass;
  • - follow up with a classmate about notes from class, including particulars on activities and work. Handouts and assignment descriptions are always available on Canvas but make sure that you are clear on the fine points of each project and exercise. 
  • - if you have any questions after this, contact the instructor with your specific questions. The instructor will not schedule office hours, neither will answer long emails to catch you up on what you'd missed due to your absence.  
  • - Finally: make up lost work, exercises, etc. Document the process and outcome and post it on your project blog. If you missed a significant discussion, write about your thoughts on the topic/reading on your blog. 
  • Also see class_policies_2018.pdf



A note about the BA Honors in Art

A new honors degree is being offered by the Division of Art. A BA with Departmental Honors will offer students increased rigor and challenge within each concentration, as well as the opportunity to be a part of a larger Honors peer group from the four Art Division concentrations (Painting and Drawing, 3D4M, Photo/Media and IVA). The completion of the Honors degree entitles majors to graduate "with distinction” and be eligible to apply for several scholarships across the University available specifically to honors students. In addition, students have access to honors studio space. More information can be found in Art Advising and from the faculty in your concentration. 

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: 
Arts and Humanities (A&H)
Last updated: 
August 2, 2019 - 9:01pm