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Research Digest: The Role of the Artist in Society

Centre for Cultural Value’s research digests are based on a rapid assessment of published literature to present a “snapshot” of cultural value research across a number of core themes.

“This research digest summarises current evidence relating to artists working in socially engaged practices, the social value of this work, how they are funded and the different settings they work in. These settings range from artists working in residencies with town-planning departments to educational activities in schools, and wellbeing and mental health workshops within healthcare systems.

It is highlighted in multiple definitions of what socially engaged art practice looks like. In broad terms, it is where an artist develops creative interventions in public. Examples can include guerrilla gardening, protest marches or even creating photosensitive murals to capture solar energy. Socially engaged artists differ from those making art objects like paintings, sculptures and video installations for galleries, theatres or traditional cultural venues. Artists working in these socially engaged ways may have come from a more traditional background such as painting or sculpture but decided to change the direction of their creative practice. Equally, some artists come to socially engaged practices at the start of their careers. Others may receive specific funding to produce social outcomes for a given community or place. In short, socially engaged practices are another methodology running parallel to more traditional forms of art.”

Find the whole research attached.