The role of the artist in environmental change : an investigation into collaborative, interactive and participative art practice in organisational contexts
These research programme set out to investigate participatory, interactive, and collaborative models of art practice within organisational contexts that actively promote cultural and physical change within their environment. Procedures for art practice and research were defined and located within a postmodern paradigm that reflects shifts in thinking in a variety of interrelated disciplines including organisational theory, art theory, art practice and research methodologies. Contemporary practices, relevant to the thesis, were observed by selecting specific cases for study and by undertaking participatory action research projects. These studies and projects centred on issues to do with the concept of the cultural city and the role of the artist within the city centre, urban regeneration on the periphery of the city and rural site specific ecological issues. Utilisation of both observation and participation as methods for research meant that the documentation of working processes occurring at the time of the investigation could be undertaken within specific organisational contexts. Similarities and differences emerging from these contexts were analysed in both a text and visual based format. The findings from this analysis revealed that artists are now primarily working within two distinct models of employment (either as managers or art-workers/artists) in micro-organisational contexts and as such are networking across a diverse range of organisational contexts that operate within a macro-context. Examples of organisational contexts referred to in this thesis include: health and community care, education, leisure and recreation, the built environment, travel interchanges, scientific and engineering firms, new media industries and commercial outlets. Within these contexts artists are embracing social/community, collaborative-multi-disciplinary, political/activist and new professional/multi-media as predominant model types in varying combinations to suit the specifics of each project and context.