Art as an Agent for Change

The UQAM Research Chair for the Development of Innovative Practices in Art, Culture, and Well-being, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the research group ArtEspaceSocial, invite you to the international and virtuel conference Art as an Agent for Change: How do Art, Museum, and Education Practices Inspire Action?, from May 31 to June 3, 2021.

Art, museum, and education practices that combine art with the social participation of marginalized groups; art and inclusive education; and art that supports mental and physical well-being have been part of Quebec’s cultural landscape for more than a decade. These practices have been implemented in a range of contexts with various populations, and interest is growing among researchers, practitioners, health organizations, and community groups. Presenters will be asked to explore the conference theme by considering the question which is explicit in the very title of the event: How and under what conditions do art, education, and museum practices inspire individual and collective action?

From an individual standpoint: How do art, museum education, and formal and informal education practices promote mental, physical, or intellectual (re)mobilization? How do they enable greater self-awareness? How do they affect an individual’s capacity to re-energize, self-motivate, exercise greater resilience, and activate creativity? How do they break through isolation and enable individuals to see themselves as stakeholders within a community? How can art contribute to self-education and a commitment to the pursuit of an objective? How should the ethical issues related to these practices be addressed?

From a collective standpoint: How do art, museum education, and formal and informal education practices promote inclusion and community participation? How do they affect the ability to forge relationships, despite differences? How do they allow a community to identify itself as such, to be seen and heard, and to take public action? How can contact with art and creating and experiencing art contribute to harmonious community life in pluralist societies? How do these practices encourage social and political action?

From a societal standpoint: Under what conditions could these practices be recognized as complementary to health, communication, and education initiatives, which must increasingly respond to complex problems that require additional forms of collaboration, perspectives, and approaches? What are the consequences when culture and art are not accessible to citizens? Are the impact assessments required by funding agencies beneficial or even possible? To what extent are social sciences and health methodologies applicable to these assessments?