Hi there,

In the last few months, we’ve been moving forward with various exciting research projects. We want to give you a glimpse of what’s happening and what will come in the next few months.

For the Center, research is essential to understanding how to make artistic activism more effective and affective. This idea is at the heart of our work and allows us to collaborate and work with many artists, activists, and organizations worldwide.

What follows are some updates from our most recent research initiatives. Click each link for related information on our research partners, collaborators, and co-creators. We look forward to the months ahead as we will share new tools and resources for practitioners, researchers, and supporters of artistic activism.

Stay tuned!

Mauricio Delfín
Research Manager
Center for Artistic Activism

How should an Artist-Led Organization promote Socially Engaged Art today?

Listening Session in New Orleans, at Catapult (April 2023)

Back in November, we started a research project to support A Blade of Grass (ABOG) in a substantial restructuring process that involves passing on the governance and leadership of the organization to artists with a significant stake in socially engaged art.

Our ongoing strategic research addresses current challenges faced by arts-led organizations. Together with ABOG’s board members, we are asking how to include ABOG’s constituency in its governance, how to recognize and rethink its resources, how to reimagine fundraising and financing, and how to govern effectively and inclusively.

Listening Session in New Orleans, at Catapult (April 2023)

Our methodology includes a Literature Review on Artist-Led collectives and a set of Case Studies of practices advanced by organizations in Latin America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Our strategy also includes online and on-site Listening Sessions with ABOG’s artist and activist community, which have taken place in San Francisco and New Orleans, so far.

The information we produce will be shared broadly and help ABOG inform a new organizational strategy, including decisions on programming and a new business model.

Could your organization use help examining how you use culture, creativity and art strategically? We help advocacy organizations, arts organizations and funders through assessment, strategic consulting and research.

Mapping a World of Artistic Activism

A group of children standing around a wall with drawings on it
One of the organizations on our map is ruangrupa, a non-profit organization in Jakarta that advances artistic ideas in both an urban context and within culture at large.

Our work developing an Artistic Activism Research Co-Lab (AARC) continues in collaboration with researchers from eight different countries. We have concluded an exploratory stage as a collective and have started designing protocols to include more practitioners and researchers of artistic activism in this platform. You will hear about this opportunity in the months to come.

We have also created our Working Group to develop the Mapping Artistic Activism Project (MAAP), a digital archive of individuals, collectives, and organizations engaged in the emerging field of artistic activism in different regions worldwide. This archive will identify connections between actors across territories and detail the challenges practitioners face as described by themselves. MAAP will allow us to understand the ecosystem of artistic activism and the main tendencies defining its growth.

We look forward to sharing the first version of this digital archive and having people join several research-centered activities we are planning for the second half of the year!

Research Spotlight: Julia Ramírez Blanco (Spain)

In the paper Reclaim The Streets! From Local to Global Party Protest (2013), Julia Ramírez Blanco (Spain) employs the terms spatial disobedience or disobedient places, where a series of desires that have normally been repressed are set in motion. According to Julia, these notions have particular relevance to the practice of the British group Reclaim the Streets, which, starting in the second half of the nineties, organized illegal raves of a political character.

Julia Ramírez Blanco

Its playful forms drew on the idea of generating a TAZ (Temporary Autonomous Zone), of creating practical, utopian, paradoxical moments situated between social dreams and conflict. The group was to play a fundamental role in the reformulation of the aesthetics of protest that took place in the 1990s.

Julia’s text first appeared in THIRD TEXT: Critical Perspectives on Contemporary Art and Culture on July 2013.

Images: Photos 1, 2, and 3 by Mauricio Delfin (2023). Photo 4 by ruangrupa and Photo 5 by Nick Cobbing: Reclaim The Streets, Camden High St, May 1995.