Fall 2016

Make it Public: Art and Social Practice

Listed in: Art and the History of Art, as ARHA-308


Amanda A. Herman (Section 01)


This studio course will introduce the field of Social Practice and provide an opportunity for students to develop artistic projects in the public sphere that engage with people or place. Interdisciplinary in nature, Social Practice encompasses work as diverse as interventions, utopian proposals, guerrilla architecture, project-based community practice, art and activism, collaborations, social sculpture, interactive media and street performance. Students will be assisted with and encouraged to envision their chosen discipline as a public practice, or to experiment with a new discipline and will be encouraged to collaborate with each other and with outside community groups.

To provide context and inspiration, the course will introduce key historical movements that set the stage for contemporary definitions of Social Practice. Presentations and guest artists will provide a survey of compelling projects, collectives, and artists working in the field today. Assigned readings will ask students to examine the field (and their projects) critically. In-class discussions will examine Social Practice's shifting definitions and methods, along with its distinct challenges in regards to ethics, aesthetics, institutionalization, instrumentalization and meaning.

Students will each conceive, plan and implement a Social Practice project (or in-depth proposal) with a broad focus on unknown stories about the place where the student now lives (its history, current issues, diverse communities).

Requisite: Nomination by the art departments of each of the Five Colleges. Limited to 15 students, with spaces reserved for 3 students from each of the Five Colleges. Fall semester. Visiting Lecturer Herman.

If Overenrolled: See above.


Artistic Practice


2020-21: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016