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Title: URBAN INTERVENTIONS Reshaping The Public Space In Palestine
Authors: Sayrafi, May
Keywords: Public spaces;Architectural design;Public architecture;Architecture and society
Issue Date: 22-Nov-2016
Publisher: Royal College of Art Kensington Gore, London
Abstract: The Royal College of Art is proud to host the TRADERS project’s closing conference ‘MEDIATIONS - Art & Design Agency and Participation in Public Space’. The notion of citizen participation has (re)gained momentum over the last decade, both in the realm of national and local politics – partly driven by advances in digital technologies such as civic platforms – as well as outside the institutional domain. Several art and design practitioners have embraced this participatory turn, aiming to empower citizens to reclaim agency in the public realm. At the same time, various (conceptual) models of participatory democracy have been explored through numerous political theories1 . There are, however, still very few theories that mediate between such conceptual models and actual participatory art and/ or design practices in a meaningful and rigorous way [i]. The TRADERS2 project, and the MEDIATIONS conference as an extension of it, aims to operate within this ambiguous territory. TRADERS focuses on enabling an exchange of experiences and knowledge in the field of participation in art and design. Working collectively and individually through workshops, performances, exhibitions and publications, six early-career researchers have explored different approaches including intervention, mapping, data mining, play, dialogue and curating. While these six research projects vary in their thematic approach and deploy different art and design-based research methods, they all contribute to a collective deconstruction and problematisation of the notion of citizen participation in art and design, particularly within the context of public space. Conversely, public space serves as a valuable context and pedagogic tool to develop critical awareness in art and design. As such this conference (re)connects with historic reflections on art and design education held in July 1968 by the ‘Movement for Re-Thinking Art and Design Education’ (MORADE) in London’s Roundhouse, where contributors - drawn almost equally from staff and students of art colleges - tackled the recurrent theme of the relationship of ‘Art’ to ‘Society’. Calls for abolition of decrepit authority in the microcosm of those schools lead to a turning point in design education in 1968, when staff joined students in occupying art schools at Hornsey (north London) and Guildford (south London).
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