Public Sphere

Contemporary Art Practice

Led by Professor Johnny Golding, Public Sphere is a studio-based pathway that supports artists wishing to expand their engagement with art and its publics, as well as to deepen their understanding of art’s social function and its role in the formation of contemporary culture and civic life.

Social art practices have featured as a key force in the development of contemporary art and have significantly informed the rise of the global Biennale. They have been informed by activism and 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 within 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.

The Public Sphere pathway invites applications from artists working with any medium. We are especially interested to foster collaborative and embedded approaches to artistic practice, and we have many opportunities to work with numerous collaborating institutions in the UK and Internationally, including museums and galleries, archives and other public and private bodies. 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.