Public Sphere

Contemporary Art Practice

Led by Dr Mel Jordan (artist in the Partisan Social Club and member of the Freee art collective from 2004 to 2018), Public Sphere is a studio-based Pathway that supports artists wishing to expand their engagement with art and its publics, as well as to further their understanding of art’s social function and its role in the formation of contemporary culture and civic life. The Public Sphere Pathway invites applications from artists working with any medium.

Social and political art practices are now considered a significant aspect of contemporary art. They have been informed by anti-art, and have utilised techniques from activism as well as other forms of political expression, and have equally in turn been co-opted back into the mainstream of political discourse. Therefore, questions about public space, participation, collaboration and collective action are becoming more central to contemporary art practice and theory.

The notion of the Public Sphere is situated within the historical trajectory of critical theory; this provides the basis for our engagement with what it means to be Public. Key to this is an interrogation of the history and theories of the public, the Commons, non-relational regimes of urban regeneration and the politics of living together. It also includes the question of exhibition and display as frameworks for interdisciplinary research and as sites for democratic and participatory engagement.

We are developing opportunities to work with collaborating institutions in the UK.

The full technical and academic resources of the School of Arts & Humanities will be available to Public Sphere students. 

To apply for the Public Sphere pathway please select 'Contemporary Art Practice' as your programme and tick the 'Public Sphere Pathway' box within that.