Social Art Library: OPEN

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About Social Art Library (SOAL)

Library cards at the ready! Social Art Library is opening its (virtual) doors…

Social Art Library, an Axis project, logo laid on top of interior of the Johnson Library at Stony Island Arts Bank, Chicago.
[Photo credit: Interior of the Johnson Library at Stony Island Arts Bank, Chicago, by Theaster Gates and Rebuild Foundation]

Axis—in conjunction with artist, R.M Sánchez-Camus and the Social Art Network—are delighted to formally announce the launch of Social Art Library, in Beta format! Check it out here! (link: https://www.socialartlibrary.org). 

For those who’ve not heard about it yet, Social Art Library is a collectively-built archive and resource for and about social art practice. It’s absolutely free to use and represents one of the outcomes of the Social Works? / ‘Models of Validation’ project that we recently undertook with Manchester Metropolitan University, in recognition that increasing numbers of our members are making work in social settings. 

Projects, videos, images, articles, reports and more – we’re using the term library in its broadest sense – and we want to make social practice and its learnings accessible to as many people as possible! We know that socially engaged work often suffers from a lack of visibility so our goal is to create a centralised hub for all things social practice, placing control of its histories and narratives in the hands of those who know it best – artists and the people they work with!

Hastened by the Covid-19 lockdown and support from the Art Fund, we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to complete the first phase of building the archive—including adding the first 100 items to our collection! However, we are still on the look-out for more projects, articles, films, podcasts etc, so if you are a social art practitioner,  please do get in touch and share your work via our online form (link: https://www.socialartlibrary.org/submit).

To find out more about Social Art Library, check out our FAQs (link: https://www.socialartlibrary.org/faqs).

Lucy Wright (Social Producer and Head Librarian!)

Examples of recent work submitted to the library:

We invited members of the Social Works? steering group to share their work in the Social Art Library Beta. Here are a few examples of our recent additions!

Ailie Rutherford

Artist, Ailie Rutherford shared ‘The People’s Bank of Govanhill‘, a long-term collaborative project that envisages how feminist economic theory might be put into practice in our communities. See project in the Social Art Library here >

Image of young child wearing a t-shirt with the writing 'currency is not capital' on it.
The People’s Bank of Govanhill, 2015 by Ailie Rutherford

The Open Eye Gallery

The Open Eye Gallery shared Culture Shifts, a report on an 18 month socially engaged photography residency programme that took place across Liverpool beginning in 2018. You can read the full report on Social Art Library here >

Photograph of cover image, ‘Life Beyond Diagnosis’, Tadgh Devlin, SURF Dementia Group.
Photograph of cover image, ‘Life Beyond Diagnosis’, Tadgh Devlin, SURF Dementia Group

William Titley

Artist and videomaker, William Titley, shared [birdsong], a film that records the artist’s long term and intimate engagement with people, place and the environment. Watch it in the Social Art Library here >

Still from the film [birdsong] showing screen divided into sixteen individual rectangles, each depicting a participant in the project.
Still from the film [birdsong] showing screen divided into sixteen individual rectangles, each depicting a participant in the project.

Submit your own work to the Social Art Library

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