Art and Social Practice
Social Practice investigates the role of human interaction and social discourse in art making, institutions and systems of power, by drawing attention to and engaging with complex issues aiming effect social change. Collaborating with artists, communities, and institutions, this stream of CAST’s practice-led research is driven by an ethos of creativity, inclusivity, consultation and public participation. A combination of aesthetics, ethics, pedagogy, activism, advocacy and/or antagonism strategies and processes underpin social art projects motivated to change conditions and shift conditions of power.
Research Theme Leaders
Dr Marnie BadhamWith a 20 year history of art and social justice practice in Canada and Australia, Dr Marnie Badham has research expertise in socially-engaged art, cultural value and the politics of measurement, as well as participatory-advocacy methodologies. Her current work includes a book project, The social life of artist residencies: connecting with people and place not your own, a series of immersive cultural mapping/ creative cartography collaborations; and new pedagogical and experimental forms of curation for the exhibition Bruised Food: a social laboratory. She is also involved in a long term research partnership on the working conditions of artists with NAVA, the National Association of Visual Arts. At the University of Melbourne, Marnie received an Early Career Researcher Award and Social Equity Institute Fellowship for her international practice based research on socially-engaged art. Marnie is Vice Chancellor’s Post Doctoral Research Fellow at the School of Art and teaches in the Masters of Art - Art in Public Space program.
Dr Kelly Hussey-Smith
Dr Kelly Hussey-Smith is an artist, writer, and educator. For over ten years she has worked on collaborative documentary and socially engaged projects with communities and advocacy groups in Australia. Her research interests focus on collaborative methods in contemporary art and photography, the politics of representation, and reparative approaches to photography and ethics. She practices at the intersection of art, investigative journalism, and documentary photography and is interested in how these practices can better contribute to public discourse. She regularly undertakes projects in collaboration with community groups, public institutions, and non-government organisations, in addition to ongoing collaborations with Alan Hill. She teaches into the photography discipline in the RMIT School of Art and currently leads the Photo Futures Lab in Collingwood—an off-site initiative supporting students, alumni and staff to develop projects with local partners engaged in community-led social change. Current work includes a book project with Alan Hill, Doing Visual Politics, inspired by the multidisciplinary, multi-institutional and intercultural collaborative workshop and symposium of the same name, a series of public events exploring photography and civics, and co-authored research into the Photo Futures Lab as a site for critical pedagogy. In addition to these projects, Kelly has recently partnered with the Centre for Multicultural Youth in Melbourne to contribute to a module around the politics of representation for Victorian High School students, and is co-designer of the Non-Fiction Education Festival and Network, Doing Visual Politics—developed with Alan Hill and run in collaboration with Pathshala South Asian Media Institute and photo.circle in 2016 and 2018.