Research

My current research is going in a few directions.

  • I continue to work in Bristol, England, and spent two months there in March and April 2014, as a Colston Fellow with the University of Bristol.My main focus there is a collaborative piece with Suzanne Lacy, the Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC), the Arnolfini Art Gallery, and other institutions. It’s called “The University of Local Knowledge,” (ULK) and it launched in late June 2010. The image shows the KnoKWMCwle West Media Centre. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Carolyn Hassan and Penny Evans of the KWMC; Penny is the creative director of ULK and she and I co-authored an article in The International Journal of Progressive Education in 2013. During 2010 and 2011, there was an ongoing collection of video vignettes and website development to organize these contributions to local knowledge. This spring I conducted interviews with ten women activists in Knowle West so that we could add those audio files to the archive of ULK.
  • A related project about Socially Engaged Art Practices has a website called Demanding Conversations. I contributed a commentary via Skype here.
  • I first met artist Stephen Willats in 2003. I continue to work on a book project related to his place-based projects. In September of 2012 I also conducted research in London and presented my work in Darmstadt, Germany. I have also presented papers on his MetaFilter project of 1973-75 at the Special Interest Group Computers Information and Society (SIGCIS) of the Society for the History of Technology and on the Edinburgh Social Model Construction Project in Liverpool in September of 2011.
  • I wrote an essay for an encyclopedia of American urbanism on contemporary art in cities since the 1960s, which used critical spatial practices as a lens. Joseph Heathcott edited that volume, which Routledge published in 2016. I coordinated a roundtable discussion at the Society of Architectural Historians meeting in 2010 in Chicago, called “In Between: Histories Informed by Contemporary Art and Architecture.” Joseph Heathcott and Aaron Levy and about 15 of us had a lively conversation.
  • I have benefited enormously from collaborating with the artist Angela Rivers. In the Fall of 2012 we co-taught a class at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, based on an interview that we did for AREA Magazine that came out in August of 2012. We have celebrated the connections and exchanges in the arts between Champaign and Chicago in the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • Josue Pellot, a Chicago-based artist who has done some interventions in public spaces that are both powerful and funny commentaries on identity, was kind enough to talk with me in July of 2008. Reading about the Puerto Rican community in Chicago, and Paseo Boricua in particular, informed my article on Pellot’s work. The Journal of Arts and Communities published it.