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June 1, 2017

Uses of Art Lab

Initiated by John Byrne and Liverpool John Moores University

Art in culture, health, housing and commerce 

The Lab asks how we can use art more effectively in society

Uses of Art Lab aims to develop research that will:

  • build new forms of citizenship based on creativity and social responsibility
  • help us to re-imagine our current uses of art within and across the fields of culture, health, housing and commerce

This process would involve a drive to reshape art, art schools and museums based on current socially oriented art practices that call for social change – working with more comprehensive, expanded constituencies, reaching and building new audiences and developing a model of art that is valued more widely, beyond the current conventions of economic and personal impact.

Key themes

The long-term aim of the Uses of Art Lab will be to develop a local, national and international programme of activities and collaborations built around three key themes:

  • Education: the uses of art and creativity as educational and developmental tools for change
  • Constituencies: the uses of art in developing collaborative forms of social and ecological change
  • History: rethinking the story of how art can be used in society

Research projects

The Uses of Art Lab welcomes collaborators and contributors who wish to develop research that builds upon the work already undertaken by the School of Art and Design, via the European funded ‘The Uses of Art Project’, in collaboration with the L’Internationale consortium of Museums and Galleries (Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven, Reina Sofia Madrid, MACBA Barcelona, MvHKA Antwerp, SALT Istanbul, Moderna Galerija Ljubljana). This pan-European project aims to reintroduce the idea of use-value as a central function of art and to develop a new civic future for museums and galleries using the concept of the Mechanics Institute as key to developing this.

The consensus of opinion that has grown around the European funded L’Internationale ‘Uses of Art’ project, has formed from a new generation of work by artists and curators that aims to be effective outside the performative frame of art – art that is understood for how it works, not how it is consumed.

To this effect the Uses of Art Lab integrates with the wider work of The Association of Arte Útil and, in parallel to this, an ongoing partnership with Tania Bruguera’s Escuela de Arte Útil (or School of Arte Útil). The Uses of Art Lab is also developing a key partnership with Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima) around the civic re-thinking of art, use, education and constituency.

Follow the development of the Uses of Art Lab here.

Uses of Art Lab