Transformative Community Art: Re-visioning the Field of Practice
University of Toronto, T-Space | ON | 2011
Catherine Anne McLeod
“Community art is a multidisciplinary practice that was engendered by two main perspectives on art; a functionalist approach and an ‘art as essential to humanity’ approach. These differing ideological positions led to the construction of polarizing dichotomies that divided the field of practice and stagnated the community art discourse. This thesis re-visions community art as transformative community art (T.C.A.) to integrate a diverse range of practice into a distinct, recognizable field, transcend the binaries inherited from its founding fields, and identify the field as an innovative artistic movement and radical practice for social change. In this thesis T.C.A. is employed as a framework for theorizing practice. Threats to T.C.A. from funding structures, cooptation, and institutionalisation are explored and strategies of resistance identified. The concept of T.C.A. is mobilized to identify areas for future work; raising questions and ideas that can contribute to advancing a more complex, nuanced, and productive discourse.”
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