Context & Culture Homepage

Subject: CCE - Context & Culture - 2013

College of Arts, Victoria University

Teacher Name: Lisa Cianci - email:
Course Coordinator & Education Manager: Alan Morgans - email:
College of Arts Office: City Flinders - Tel: 9919 1517

Class Website -

Class 07 - Contemporary Art Practices & Creativity - Artists as agents for change

Class Activities

1. On Artists as Agents for Change


There are many ways that artists contribute to culture and society. There are a plethora of academic texts on the topic of artists as agents for change - social & political change, environmental change, educational change, health issues, innovation in science and technology, etc. Today's class notes provide some links within some broad categories where artists are currently involved in changes that are not purely for artistic purposes.

One could link some of these areas to movements like the Situationist International and Fluxus, though it seems that the current zeitgeist is for artists to be working from within the area they wish to affect, rather than operating as outsiders railing against the status quo.

If anyone was fortunate enough to attend the guest lecture by Lyndal Jones last semester, you might have heard her talk about working as an artist that is within the community, projects that take long periods of time - years in fact, to realise with community participation, rather than imposed, staged "interventions" in spaces and locations - which is something that was common in the art "events" of the 1960s and 1970s.

See Lyndal's website - The Avoca Project: Art, Place, Climate Change:


our global village

Uji Handoko Eko Saputro (aka Hahan), Indonesia b.1983 | The Journey 2011 | Synthetic polymer paint on canvas 


street art

street art
presentation slide by Martin Irvine found at this URL:


environmental art

Clemson clay nest by Nils-Udo (2005) via designboom


community-based art

trash installation by Vik Muniz


art activism

Image capture from computer game, Escape From Woomera


art/science collaboration & ethics

FEEL:CHAMELEON: An emotional algorithm video installation, Tina Gonsalves 2010


art therapy

art therapy
Image by unknown artist, taken from this website:

2. Class Activity

  • Complete Indigenous Art essay & submit as PDF uploaded to a blog post. You will be given instructions in class.

  • In small groups, research one of the categories listed above and find one or two artists or a group that interests you, present your findings to the class.

Homework / Readings

Follow up on some of the references provided today and the research done in class - if you find something that interests you, you might want to make a blog post about it.

Begin thinking about the next writing task & doing some introductory research on your selected area.