Art & the Public Sphere

Freee Art Collective, 'Protest Drives History' (2008)

Freee Art Collective, 'Protest Drives History' (2008)

James discusses his research into the ‘Interface Areas’ that separate Nationalist and Protestant communities in Belfast along with Dr. Mel Jordan and two other PhD students as part of the TECHNE/Royal Holloway Practice-based PhD Programme Seminar.

Date/Time: Wednesday, 20th January, 5pm-7pm
Venue: Senate House, 1 Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU (Room 261)

Dr. Mel Jordan
Royal College of Art

To what extent can public sphere theory contribute to the understanding of art, its function and its publics in the practice of the Freee art collective 2004- 2012?

Freee’s art practice (2004 – 2012) has been concerned with the notion of the public sphere. My research proposes that the use of public sphere theory -the philosophy of participatory and deliberative democracy in general – could aid a more complex analysis of art and it’s onlookers.  Public sphere theory theorized by Williams (Williams: 1958), Habermas (Habermas: [1962] 1989), Mouffe (Mouffe: 1999), Fraser (Fraser: 1990) – suggests ways in which dialogic understanding and the resolution of differences may aid engagement by a range of publics, including those normally marginalized or excluded from the public sphere. This presentation will introduce the theory of art and the public sphere and discuss how my art practice was used as a methodology for addressing the problems outlined in the research.

> Dr Melanie Jordan is an artist and academic; she works collaboratively with Dave Beech and Andy Hewiit as the Freee art collective. Jordan’s research is engaged with problematising the historical understanding of public art by utilising public sphere theory to enable a new understanding of art and its publics. Jordan is principal editor for the journal, Art and the Public Sphere.

Student Presenters:

Dawn Woolley (Royal College of Art, Photography)
James O’Leary (University of Brighton, Architecture)
Hattie Coppard (Royal Holloway, Geography)