Live in Public - The Art of Engagement

Live in Public - The Art of Engagement
October 10th - 13th, 2007


Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design
Intersections Digital Studios [IDS] ( 2nd floor entrance)
1399 Johnston Street, Granville Island
Click here for map (.pdf format)

Download press release (.PDF)

This three day conference looks at artists working in the public realm and engaging communities within their art practices. Community Public Art, Interventions, Relational Art and Art Engaged Activism are among the practices we will be exploring. We will look at the history of these practices from across Canada over the past 30 years, how they have evolved and new developments and strategies.

The emphasis is on an artists' definition of these practices, where the different practices intersect and how they diverge in intention and focus.

Central to this conference are four panel discussions and an Open Space discussion occurring over three days on the following topics:

1 Roles

What are the different roles artists employ working in community practices and engaging non art audiences? These roles have historically encompassed areas such as community development, public interventions, activism, relational art and the artistic process as social evolution.

What is the history of the practice and how have artists roles evolved and how is it changing at this time? What have we learned from this history? How are current practices informed by these histories?

2 Expectations

This panel will look at the expectations that are brought to and develop from participatory engagement in creative processes between artists and communities. What are the expectations... of the artist? the organizers? the funders? and the community? What are the limits of responsibility and who defines those limits? What about the aftermath, the after project comedown and how does this impact a continuing relationship between artists and the community? How is a community process able to remain fluid and inclusive when working within the parameters of specifically defined beneficial outcomes? How are these processes evaluated, who is evaluating?

3 Risks

This panel explores the risks inherent in practices which engage communities. What are the barriers that often prevent these practices from being considered seriously within the cultural sector. Panelists will explore how these risks are congruent yet different from the risks artists take within solitary practice. For these practices require the artistic process, the theoretical ground on which it is built and the cultural assumptions of the artists to be questioned during the actual creation of the works. Within publicly engaged practices the work itself is shaped by these exchanges. What are the artist's risks and the risks to the communities they enter into? How are they similar and different than the risks other artistic practices incorporate? And what of risks in comfort levels these practices often engender.

4 Breakthroughs

This panel looks at the breakthroughs that have developed over the last few years and the new directions artists are taking the practice. How are the definitions being stretched and rewritten anew? How are new technologies affecting the work? How have these practices broken down barriers within communities and between art forms? As artists start to do residencies in other communities and industries how does this change the way culture is perceived? What is the impact within social development?

Open Space

We will be having a day of Open Space discussion. There will be posted updates as we develop the focus for the day.

Open Space is a process that gets right to the heart of what matters. It invites people to create the agenda together and inspire creative collaboration on the most important questions of the moment. This is an action based experience, it is "talk-as-action" in the service of the transformation needed to create and support the shifts in awareness and commitment demanded by our times.

Click here to download an invite to the Open Space process (.PDF)

Click here to download an overview of the Open Space process in .PDF format.

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Online conference

Register now for a free, 24-hour online conference on engaged art.
Click here to download the invitation (.PDF)

Click here to register for the online conference


Click here to download the program in .PDF format.

Wednesday October 10
7 - 10:30: Evening reception at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. Granville Island, public invited

Honouring of Coast Salish territory - Cease Wyss

Keynote presentation, Laurie McGauley
Followed by a mix and mingle


Thursday October 11

9 am: Registration begins

10 am: Presentation - Commonweal

10:45 am - 1:00 pm: Panel 1 - Roles
Moderator- jil p. weaving

Simon Levin
Cheryl L'Hirondelle
Melanie Fernandez
Ingrid Mayrhover

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm: Lunch Break - Tea / Social room open

2:30 - 3:00: Presentation - Hans Winkler

3:10 - 5:15: Panel 2 - Expectations

Moderator - Paula Jardine

Devora Neumark
Geoff McMurchy
Cathy Stubington
Guinevere Pencarrick


An exhibition presented by LIVE (performance art biennial),
Curated by Todd A. Davis
Helen Pitt Gallery, 148 Alexander Street


Friday October 12

9 am: Registration

10:00am - 5:00 pm: Open Space, facilitated by Chris Corrigan
10:00 - 11:00: Introduction and Agenda Setting
11:00 - 12:30: First Breakout Session

12:30 - 1:30: Lunch Break Tea/social room open
Pirate radio call-in show

2:00 - 3:15: Second Breakout Session
3:15 - 4:30: Third Breakout Session
4:30 - 5 :00: Harvest / Sharing

Friday Evening:

7pm: Edgar Heap of Birds opening
grunt gallery 116- 350 East 2nd Ave.


Saturday October 13

9 am: Registration

10:00: Presentation by ATSA

Panel 3 - Risks
Moderator - Vanessa Richards


Pam Hall
Ruth Howard
Robin Brass
Sara Kendall

1:00 - 2:00: Lunch Break - Tea/ Social room open
This will be an informal gathering and conversation space at the conference.

2:30 - 3:05: Presentation by Bitter Mellon - Jeremy Liu

3:10 - 5:15: Panel 4 - Breakthroughs

Moderator Glenn Alteen

Darren O'Donnell
Valerie Salez
Kamala Todd
Iwan Wijono

5:15 - 5:35: Closing Remarks

Saturday Evening    LIVE (performance biennale)
Gala Cabaret Party

Pat's Pub 403 East Hastings Street

Follow up conference events: Sunday October 14

Breakfast In the Cemetery - Paula Jardine, Artist in Residence and Marina Szijarto
Mountain View Cemetery, details TBA

2:00 to 8:00 pm: Art and Political Engagement Symposium
Free, Gallery Gachet 88 Cordova St.
Kalayaan Centre, 451 Powell St.

Sunday evening ATSA - presentation in Downtown Eastside
Etat d'Urgence/State of Emergency
Location TBA.

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