Art : Process : Change: Inside a Socially Situated Practice, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Art : Process : Change

Inside a Socially Situated Practice, 1st Edition

By Loraine Leeson


154 pages | 40 B/W Illus.

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This book brings a practitioner’s insight to bear on socially situated art practice through a first-hand glimpse into the development, organisation and delivery of art projects with social agendas. Issues examined include the artist’s role in building creative frameworks, the relationship of collaboration to participation, management of collective input, and wider repercussions of the ways that projects are instigated, negotiated and funded. The book contributes to ongoing debates on ethics/aesthetics for art initiatives where process, product and social relations are integral to the mix, and addresses issues of practical functionality in relation to social outcome.


"Given the increasing interest in socially engaged art, this is a timely and inspiring book. It offers many insights into the process of making community art from the 1970’s to the present through the work of a significant contributor to the field, and clearly explores the challenges facing artists who wish to collaborate with communities." -- Beverly Naidus, University of Washington Tacoma, USA

"This clear, comprehensive study, combining history, theory and practice reveals a critically astute insider hard at work in the field she helped pioneer." -Gregory Sholette, Queens College CUNY, USA

Table of Contents


Part 1: Contexts and Case Studies

1. Seventies

1.1 London/Berlin Series

1.2 The Present Day Creates History

2.2 Bethnal Green Hospital Campaign

2.3 East London Health Project

2. Eighties

2.1 Docklands Community Poster Project

2.2 The Photo-murals

2.3 Campaigns

2.4 The People's Armadas to Parliament

2.5 The People's Plan for the Royal Docks

2.6 Docklands Roadshow

3. Nineties

3.1 The Art of Change

3.2 West Meets East

3.3 Celebrating the Difference

3.4 Between Family Lines

3.5 Awakenings

3.6. The Infinity Story

4. The New Millennium

4.1 cSPACE

4.2 The Catch


4.4 Cascade

4.5 The Young Person's Guide to the Royal Docks

4.6 The Young Person's Guide to East London

4.7 Lambeth Floating Marsh

4.8 Active Energy

5. In Hindsight

Part 2: Reflections

6. Process and Product

6.1 An Invitation

6.2 The Art of Negotiation

6.3 Managing Collective Input

6.4 From Communication to Community

6.5 Objects, Fragments and Narratives

6.6 When It Goes Wrong

6.7 Outcomes and Products

6.8 Feedback and Evaluation

7. Themes and Issues

7.1 Collaboration or Participation?

7.2 Interdisciplinarity

7.3 The Dynamics of Difference and Issues of Multiculturalism

7.4 Activism into Identity

7.5 Where Education Meets Production

7.6 Technology as Facilitator and Transformer of Social Engagement

7.7 From Co-op to Charity: Working from an Organisational Base

7.8 Funding

7.9 Regeneration

7.10 Social Change

8. Situating the Practice

8.1 Locating the Aesthetic

8.2 A Question of Function

8.3 Rebuilding the Cultural Frame

Appendix: Summary of Projects 1975–2016

About the Author

Loraine Leeson is Senior Lecturer at Middlesex University, UK, and was Senior Research Fellow at the University of Westminster, UK.

About the Series

Routledge Advances in Art and Visual Studies

This series is our home for innovative research in the fields of art and visual studies. It includes monographs and targeted edited collections that provide new insights into visual culture and art practice, theory, and research.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / History / Contemporary (1945-)
ART / Art & Politics
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies