Art dialogues with a place: The empathetic learning of estates re-made
Jenny’s research explores spatial dialogical art practice as a method of learning lived experience of a place. Lived experience is a missing knowledge in housing regeneration practice, often resulting in misrepresentation and stigmatisation of the experience of residents. The research aim was explored through Re:connections, a project located in Lee Bank, Birmingham UK. Delivered in two parts, Re:connections examined artists approaches to facilitating dialogue with residents. Through the project, Jenny developed a curatorial practice framework, informed by concepts drawn from human geography, philosophy and socially engaged art practice. It emerged that the embodied art dialogue, facilitated through artist led walks and interactive installations, creates a philosophical space to learn lived experience.
The aim of this research is to develop spatial dialogical art practice as a method to learn lived experience of a place. My research questions are: How can the lived experience of a place can be learned by insiders and outsiders through spatial dialogical art practice? How is spatial dialogical art practice defined? And, what is its value to housing regeneration practice? These questions are explored through Re:connections, a project in Birmingham UK. It was in two parts: Part one explored four micro projects where artists applied different dialogical approaches with residents. Part two included artist-led walks with residents, followed by interactive installations presented to residents and regeneration professionals. The research is informed by spatial and philosophical concepts of space, place and everyday experience that include works from Henri Lefebvre, Doreen Massey and Edward Soja, John Dewey and Edward Relph. The curatorial framework is rooted in socially engaged ideas, drawn from concepts of writers such as Grant Kester, Suzanne Lacy and Jane Rendell.
This practice based research thesis demonstrates spatial dialogical arts practice can provide a philosophical and physical space for dialogic exchange with everyday place rhythms. This space creates an opportunity to embody and learn lived experience making an ambition to rebalance knowledge hierarchies in regeneration practice possible.
- Jieling Xiao
- Joshua Jiang
- Maria José Martinez Sanchez