Embodied anxiety scatters my attention and makes my heart race; it takes a lot of concentration and determination to breathe into the anxiety and lessen my level of panic. Despite …
I am an art and architectural historian interested in ways to activate history and the arts in the present day, for a variety of people. I took the image above when I was a Fellow at the University of Bristol, where the mirrored 2009 work “Follow Me” by Jeppe Hein was installed on the campus.
Left alone, I research art, architectural and urban issues. But, of course, I am not alone in the world, so I try to find ways to connect my interests with what is important to other people: in books, articles, book reviews, blogs, emails (LOTS of email!), movement and conversation.
In September 2018 I retired from my position as a project coordinator at the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Recent research has focused on the London-based artist Stephen Willats. That book, Stephen Willats and the Social Function of Art, will be published by Bloomsbury in 2019.
This dialogue between Sally K. Carter and Sharon Irish traces a decade-long relationship and considers some issues about local university-community engagement. The “local” in this case refers to the communities of Champaign-Urbana, which host the University of Illinois.
Sally founded Tap In Leadership Academy, a youth enrichment program, in Champaign, Illinois. Sharon was a project coordinator at the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Public engagement should be as varied and powerful as the people we engage with, and those people need to be at the table to define the terms, shape the action, and figure out what success looks like. The sheer imbalance of university-community partnerships–huge university, small organizations–demands that we mitigate the power differences.”
Stephen Willats and the Social Function of Art
My book on Stephen Willats, due out from Bloomsbury Academic in 2019, pulls together key strands of his practice and threads them through histories of British cybernetics, experimental art, and urban design. For Willats, a cluster of concepts about control and feedback within living and machine systems (cybernetics) offered a new means to make art relevant. For decades, Willats has built relationships through art with people in tower blocks, underground punk clubs, middle-class enclaves like Harrow, and warehouses on the Isle of Dogs, to investigate their current conditions and future possibilities. This book demonstrates the power of Willats’ multi-media art to catalyze communication among participants and to upend ideas about ‘audience’ and ‘art.’
Suzanne Lacy: Spaces Between
The central themes of my 2010 book are: using a scheme of networks to analyze Lacy’s multifaceted art; considering gendered, racialized bodies in terms of positionality and performance; and recognizing participation’s intertwining with reception.
Lacy has shown an enduring commitment to using art in public to inform people about issues of common concern to affect policy. I suggest that the “spaces between” in her art provide openings that might be transformative for selves that are permeable and multiple. Her international career has demonstrated the power, problems and possibilities of art between the spaces of our diverse lives, as she has attempted to create structures that might give shape to a non-sexist, multi-racial democracy.
Freedom March, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Summer 1963. Photo by Don Irish. My parents, my two older sisters and I lived in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, between 1960-1963. I …
We are actively starting dumpster fires with our extractive technologies. I emailed the following message to two CEOs of Bank of America today. Their emails were not on the …