Our Fieldwork, Research and Projects

The Field Report and Artist Interview Series

 The Field Report will reach out to other socially engaged artists by conducting a ‘Listening Tour” across the USA to produce a Field Report that reflects on interviews with artists using models of conflict resolution as an aspect of their creative work. We will be posting a new podcast series of interviews shortly. We are currently reconfiguring some of our broadcasting tools.


The (SPAN) Together Survey

The (SPAN) Together Survey invites responses on the realities and aspirations of our field in generating sustained collective action through creative work. Concurrently, the survey endeavors to map our expanded social practice network; bridging the reflections of practitioners utilizing creative action, advocacy and technology to connect people to experience the urgency and impact of sustained collective action.


We have a deep respect for the work Open Engagement (OE) and its institutional partners have accomplished, and would be thrilled to partner to release the (SPAN) Together Survey. OE has undoubtedly provided an important forum for reflection on the state of the field, with each year's thematic bringing into focus key conversations and debates. Also critical is OE's role in providing a time and place for practitioners from around the world and at varying stages of their career to come together - offering a unique opportunity to build awareness and community that spans geographical distances.


We are interested in launching the online survey at the beginning of the conference and would keep the survey open for two weeks. Prior to the launch we will beta test the survey, and would be thrilled to work with and receive feedback from members of the OE organizing team on this draft. Once the survey is closed, the results will be compiled into a report that would be made available jointly through OE and (SPAN). We view this as an opportunity for conference attendees to identify questions that were perhaps raised through conversations at the conference, or which they feel warrant further reflection. The partnership offers an opportunity for OE and (SPAN) to make collective their individual work of mapping the field - a prospect that we find extremely exciting.


The Radical Archives

This spring we will be participating in the Radical Archives Conference. This conference will be held at NYU, Friday, April 11-Saturday, April 12, 2014. Radical Archives is a two-day conference organized around the notion of archiving as a radical practice. An international contingent of archivists, artists, artist-archivists, activist archivists, theorists and scholars working within a range of archives and archival practices will be invited to present and discuss archives of radical politics and practices; archives that are radical / experimental in form or function; how archiving in itself might be a radical act in certain moments or contexts; and how archives can be active in the present, as well as documents of the past or scripts for the future.


The conference will be organized around four major themes, include a number of presentation formats, and be supplemented by / documented through an online catalogue. We are calling for contributions relevant to these themes. Proposed formats could include panels, roundtables, individual papers or artist talks, performances or performance-lectures, screenings, interactive screen-based projects or live participatory projects.


(SPAN) will produce a set of interviews at this conference that reflect on how Radical artists, archivists and scholars often assume multiple roles. Each position comes with its opportunities and challenges. We propose to offer a Listening Session workshop that invites conference participants to collect a series of interviews that capture a range of methodologies in the field of radical archives. To ensure a range of responses the recording sessions will be organized around the four major themes of the conference. We will facilitate a process for a group (8 - 24 people for 1-3 pairs/theme) in which each participant gets to interview and be interviewed (30 minutes each). Ideally, we would involve both presenters and other attendees.


This 90-minute session is designed as a peer-to-peer investigation to listen and learn more to what some of the key passions are in the community and how this shapes the work specifically and the field at-large.


The resulting interviews will be edited/transcribed by (SPAN). The materials will be contributed to the conference archive and also shared via (SPAN)’s website. The material will have a creative commons license (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND).


(SPAN) listening sessions have no predetermined outcome. We don’t have a thesis that we are looking for practitioners to reinforce. Instead, these conversations are meant to explore the specific experience of a given project and are used as a lens to interrogate the systemic realities that cultural producers face. As fellow travelers, we want to motivate andinspire people to learn about how cultural producers from a spectrum of practices are working with community stakeholders and civic leaders. How does this happen? How does it get expressed? How is it documented and shared?


This session is part of a year-long (SPAN) Listening Tour, which will generate an archive dedicated to giving people access to an enriched cultural landscape as seen through groups of individuals that we talk to -- how they think and work. In some ways there is already an unprecedented level of information and access to projects all over the world.