What is Social Practice?
Social Practice is an Art and Design practice that involves engagement with communities of interest.
Social Practice is embedded in broad social goals, networks and cultural practices. It may require the democratization of the relationship between creative practitioner and community and a sharing of ‘expert’ and ‘lay’ knowledge.
Social Practice involves the valuing of difference as well as the need for shared understanding and agreement; it focuses on the skills, knowledge and understanding that people own in their private, family, community and working lives.
Social Practice is a term that has allegiances with a number of movements in experimental art and performance studies. Those allegiances bring to mind other terms that share some kinship with social practice: activist art, social work, protest performance, performance, ethnography, community art, relational aesthetics, conversation pieces, action research, and other terms that signal a social turn in art practice as well as the representational dimension of social and political formations. (Jackson,S.The Cambridge Companion to Performance Studies)
Space and Place in Social Practice
“Understanding how people use space—and invest space with meaning—has become a topic of great importance in the fields of cultural studies, geography, ethnography, anthropology, history and literature, not to mention fields such as economics and political science. Exploring how people negotiate their identities and interests in and through space/ place is also an issue of increasing import.”
(Tangherlini,T.R. et al. Constructed Places / Contested Spaces: Critical Geographies in Korea)
When Artists begin an engagement with Space and Place, there are two possible forms of engagement that occur according to Claire Bishop. First, many Artists find it critically valuable to de-stabilise sense of place.
A second approach taken by artists is a desire to bring about transformation through solidarity, working together collaboratively to confirm a sense of place, to create a sense of shared common place. (Claire Doherty. From Site to Situation)