I am taking a module with the University of the Highlands and Islands called Art and Social Practice. The course is based in Shetland as part of a BA in Contemporary Textiles and I am taking part with another local artist, Fiona Dix. Today is the third week. We connect with other people based in Shetland and Moray via video conference at Tiree's business centre. No worries about living on an Island if you want to do stuff!
The course provides an opportunity "to turn any situation or issue into a potential context for your work". The first meet up left me buzzing with thoughts. What makes a great socially engaged art project? There are so many variables:
- the complexity of the social issue
- the degreee of involvement
- time available for involvement
- the importance of the 'product' or art piece vs the participants experience.
- how is success defined?
If these things can be agreed and understood at the outset, whilst building in a degree of uncertainty, the chances of a successful project will increase.
Our first session was inspiring, raising all these thoughts with fascinating websites and video clips to wet our appetites along with meeting the other participants. Five in Morayshire, 8 in Shetland and us 2 on Tiree made for an action packed 90 mins.