Smith (2015) developed a framework for understanding the place of art in organizational change and community development, foregrounding the voice of the artist and the role of art as a social practice. She positioned her practice-led research within histories of social practice in the US (from John Dewey through Allan Kaprow, Suzanne Lacy among others) as well as in the UK (through Artists’ Placement Group). She evolved innovative methodologies of participatory research that enabled multiple voices to be heard in relation to shared experiences. The resulting framework or guiding principles are applicable to organizational development both within her host organization, the Barn (Banchory Aberdeenshire) and beyond. Buwert (2016) developed a conceptualisation of ethical theory specifically in relation to design, with a focus on visual communication design. Building on earlier work by design theorist Clive Dilnot in the area of design ethics and on philosopher Giorgio Agamben’s formulation of the philosophical concept of potentiality, he developed a way of thinking about the relationship between design and ethics, which concludes that design is in fact always inherently ethical. Price (2016) investigated the evolution of cultural leadership as a discursive formation from 2002 to the present in relation to growing political interest in the social benefits of the arts and the economic potential of the creative industries. Drawing on the political philosophy of Hannah Arendt among others, Price proposes a framework for understanding leadership through the interplay of action and influence, within and beyond the cultural workforce, indicating that cultural leadership has a vital critical role to play in democratic society. Gausden (2016) examines the politics and poetics of the manifesto form within the context of feminist theoretical writing (Kristeva, Dimitrikaki Braidotti) and activism (Ukeles, Lacy, Ostojic). It offers feminist manifestos as a lens through which to reconsider the form and intentions of social art practice. To this end, the research draws together carefully selected manifesto forms in contemporary art with their surrounding discourse, as well as the researcher’s own experiences of socially engaged art. The thesis as an archive itself, articulates a missing history of feminism within current critical discourse around social art practice.

Recent Submissions

  • Ethical design: a foundation for visual communication. 

    Buwert, Peter (Robert Gordon University Faculty of Design and Technology. Gray's School of Art., 2016-05)
    BUWERT, P. 2016. Ethical design: a foundation for visual communication. Robert Gordon University, PhD thesis.
    The central original contribution to knowledge proposed by this thesis is the setting forth of a conceptualisation of ethical theory specifically in relation to design, with a focus on visual communication design. Building ...
  • The discourse of cultural leadership. 

    Price, Jonathan (Robert Gordon University Faculty of Design and Technology. Gray's School of Art., 2016-02)
    PRICE, J.F.R. 2016. The discourse of cultural leadership. Robert Gordon University, PhD thesis.
    Cultural leadership has been a key concept in cultural policy and training since 2002. Most closely associated with the UK’s Clore Leadership Programme, it has been developed through various courses and initiatives ...
  • Artist as navigator: understanding how the social qualities of art influence organizational change; a methodology for art as a social practice. 

    Smith, Helen (Robert Gordon University Gray's School of Art, 2015-07)
    SMITH, H. 2015. Artist as navigator: understanding how the social qualities of art influence organizational change; a methodology for art as a social practice. Robert Gordon University, PhD thesis.
    • What insights can art reveal in the context of organizational change? • How do artistic practices influence the way communities address change? • In what ways can an individual artistic practice concerned with the role ...

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