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Arts in society innovation scheme

How can academics and artists work together to offer new perspectives on urgent contemporary issues?

King's has launched a new programme in collaboration with Somerset House Studios that seeks to inspire, facilitate and support new collaborations between King’s researchers from across the Arts & Sciences and the Studios’ hub of 100 resident artists and designers.

Arts-in-society lead imageLone lady in the the rifle range, photography: Dan Wilton

The programme provides King's academic staff with the opportunity to collaborate with a Studio artist on the research and development of a creative idea that offers new perspectives on urgent contemporary social issues.

Themes include (but are not limited to): climate change; nature and the environment; migration; immigration and borders; identity and gender politics; feminism; diversity and race; how digital is shaping communities, industry and manufacture; IRL vs URL; international politics and how they shape UK society; radicalism and activism.

The programme:

  • connects King’s researchers from across the Arts & Sciences with artists and designers working in shared intellectual spaces
  • supports the design and development of new collaborations between academics and artists
  • seed-funds innovative proof-of-concept projects which test creative new ways of understanding, exploring and discussing contemporary social issues.

The 2017/18 programme includes a series of evening networking events for King’s academics and Studio artists to get to know each other and explore their common interests. Each event is themed and will involve 3 Studio artists and 3 or more King’s academics giving a short presentation on their work in a PechaKucha style. Dates for the event series are as follows:

1. Tuesday 17 October 2017. 6-8.30pm: Climate Change, Nature and Environment

2. Tuesday 7 November 2017, 6-8.30pm: Identity and Gender Politics

3. Tuesday 28 November 2017, 6-8.30pm: Mental Health and Science in Society

4. Tuesday 16 January 2018, 6-8.30pm: Migration, Immigration and Borders 

5. Tuesday 6 February 2018, 6-8.30pm: Technology and Digital Shaping Society

The programme launched in Spring 2017 with a facilitated Open Space workshop which brought together over 70 academics from across King’s and artists from Somerset House Studios to develop new collaborations and received positive and constructive feedback.

This was followed by an Ideas Lab which supported collaborating artists and academics to develop their thinking around a project idea through a facilitated process.

Seed-funding was awarded to the best arts in society proof of concept ideas that subsequently emerged and six projects are now underway:

  • Boom! The politics of black sound, led by Dr madison moore, Department of English (Faculty of Arts and Humanities) with Evan Ifekoya.                       The project will curate a series of public events around club culture and the politics of black queer sound.
  • The filibuster, led by Professor Anna Snaith, Department of English (Faculty of Arts and Humanities) with Deborah Pearson.                                           The project is a durational piece that reflects on the comfort that Deborah Pearson has anecdotally observed when watching men think out loud in public settings, compared with the reticence she observes from women.
  • Food fictions and frictions, led by Dr Christine Barnes, Department of Geography (Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy) with Michael Burton and Michiko Nitta.                                                                                         The project will explore the stories told about food through the media, and critically examine the impacts they are having on food culture and identity making.
  • Migrant agency and the moving image, led by Dr Leonie Ansems de Vries, Department of War Studies (Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy) with Imran Perretta.                                                                                     Following on from the work of the King's Migration Research Group, the project will explore the ongoing “refugee crisis” through the eyes of refugees themselves.
  • Rest in public space, led by Dr Luke Dickens, Department of Geography (Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy) with Anne Frobeen.                       The project aims to highlight the value of restorative public spaces by examining cultural attitudes towards public rest alongside a diverse range of personal tactics that people use to elicit a sense of calm or rest at the emotional and sensory level.
  • Work out led by Dorothee Boulanger and Dr Alana Harris, Department of History (Faculty of Arts and Humanities) in collaboration with Phoebe Davies. The project seeks to explore issues of masculinity, consent and male action to end sexual violence in education institutions by bringing together academics, artists, students, athletes and activists.

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