Art as an instrument of social change: art practices in public spaces

  • "Documentary Embroidery", project by Vahida Ramujkic and Aviv Kruglanski for the exhibition "Time Resistance", Israeli ceter for Digital Art, Holon, 2013
    1/1 | "Documentary Embroidery", project by Vahida Ramujkic and Aviv Kruglanski for the exhibition "Time Resistance", Israeli ceter for Digital Art, Holon, 2013
European University at St Petersburg, Gagarinskaya str, 3
26.10.2013 - 13:00


October 26, 2013

European University at Saint-Petersburg




Bik Van der Pol / The Netherlands

Eyal Danon / Israel

Susan Katz / Russia / USA

Gareth Kennedy / Ireland

Yana Klichuk/ Russia


Anna Bitkina and Maria Veits / TOK Creative Association of Curators / Russia

Contemporary art projects in public spaces are increasingly turning to social practices and are aimed to work with specific communities. Many artists and curators see their projects as a way to implement changes or attempt to draw attention to important social, cultural, political and economic issues. At the same time the concept of "public space" is no longer limited to the physical territory, it may be the virtual space, or the network of interactions between different social groups and individuals. This results in the fact that art projects in public spaces may take many forms: from the creation of an interactive web portal that aims to strengthen ties between the neighbors, to the platform for dialogue between local residents and municipal authorities.

Therefore, such projects are impossible without the involvement of representatives of the different communities and stakeholders - citizens, municipalities, local activists, government agencies and educational platforms. Their effective and continuous dialogue is the target of the work of artists and curators. This raises the question about art education and the knowledge a contemporary artist should pursue. In case of government organizations, their awareness about contemporary art practices also plays an important role in the dialogue and potential collaboration with artists and curators. 

During the seminar international specialists will discuss the problems of contemporary art in public spaces, will speak of how  they use social practices in their work and how they interact with the different urban communities using their projects and organizations as examples. Israeli artist and curator Eyal Danon will talk about how an art center can be a link between the municipalities, schools, disadvantaged areas and their inhabitants. The Dutch artist duo Bik Van der Pol will share information about their new educational project for artists 'School of Missing Studies', Anna Bitkina and Maria Veits will sum up the second exhibition "Critical mass" in Kupchino district oа St Petersburg.  Irish artist Gareth Kennedy will show the film made in collaboration with the inhabitants of the area about the history of one family from the neighborhood. Susan Katz will talk about the concept and the results of the festival "Art Prospect" at the Liteiny prospect and Yana Klichukwill speak about the most important and significant annual event – the festival "Contemporary Art in Traditional Museum" in St Petersburg run by Pro Arte Foundation.Together with professors, students and guests of the European University we will discuss the role of art in society , the possibility of dialogue between artist and government and how an art community may bring changes using artistic praxic\s.


Seminar program:

13.00 – 13.10

Opening and introduction of the speakers


13.10 - 13.30

Bik Van der Pol

Education of contemporary artists as an art projects: School of Missing Studies


13.40 – 14.10

Eyal Danon

Center of contemporary art as an agent of social change


14.10 – 14.40

Yana Klichuk 

Contemporary art in a traditional museum and beyonds its borders


14.40 - 15.10

Susan Katz

Art Prospect Festival: balancing the needs, interests, and demands of artists, the community, and local government


15.10 – 15.40

coffee break 



Anna Bitkina and Maria Veits

'Critical Mass' exhibition in St Petersburg: public art in the dormant city districts 


16.10 – 16. 50

Gareth Kennedy

'The Last Wooden House of Kupchno', 8-mm film based on the artist's project for the exhibition 'Critical Mass 2013'


16.50 – 17.30

Discussion and questions