Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2021


This course explores the role of art in a democratic society through a combination of individual and collaborative project development, community engagement, as well as research and reflection on a variety of related topics and concepts. Recently, an increasing number of artists, curators, critics, and arts administrators have begun to turn their energies toward a new type of participatory social practice art that seeks to bring about positive change within a contemporary society confronted by complex issues and challenges on many fronts. To thrive, democratic societies need citizens to participate in their community for the common good. This participation has many forms and manifestations. Examples of democratic participation include voting, serving in an elected office, performing community service, advocating for a cause, or protesting injustice. To understand our role as citizens in a democracy we will explore the work of artists who critically or creatively examine ideas and forms of democracy. Through a combination of readings, reflections, discussions of democratic theory, contemporary art, and art history, as well as a class community engagement component, and individual and class collaborative art projects, this course will familiarize students with the theory and practice of democracy through the emerging field of social practice art and its interdisciplinary, research-based, community-engaged methods.