Beyond Good and Bad practice: Collaboration, Creativity and the Value of Failure

Seminar by : Nirmal Puwar and Alison Rooke 

Date : 16th November

Time : 11am -4pm

Location : RHB 304, Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, SE14 6NW


The terms participation, collaboration and co-production are becoming ubiquitous in academic institutions. A range of actors in the higher educational sector are taking an increased interest in working with others. The notion of ‘working with others’ often entails entering into research or ‘advisory’ relationships with external organisations, working in partnership and collaboration with colleagues and departments form other institutions on scales that span the local to the global. Research partnerships between higher educational institutions and non-academic partners are increasingly favoured by funders. They are seen as fostering relationships between institutions, across disciplines, offering good value for money, knowledge exchange and public engagement.

Simultaneously there has been a growing interest in social art practice, and ‘practice-based’ or ‘practice -led’ research. This reflects an interest in the potential of art practice to extend the possibilities of knowledge production, and articulating this in meaningful ways to diverse publics.

Although these relationships arise out of a desire to do things better by doing things together, in their realisation these arrangements, which require that we work closely with others, are filled with internal and external tensions, misunderstandings, differing expectations and unequal power relations. In the exchange between practice and education historical, institutional and social assumptions and traditions are exchanged and reproduced. The ‘success’ of collaborations relies on multiple factors, not least a commitment to conduct careful, ethical collaboration and dialogue.

Taking as its starting point Nine Urban Biotopes, an international artist residency exchange, this seminar examines the challenges of collaborative practice at an individual and institutional level and the local and global politics of collaboration.

This seminar invites practitioners, /artists/researchers working collaboratively beyond the university to come together to share their reflections on ‘good practice’, failure and learning in regard to collaboration.

It asks:

  • What are the bad practices developing in collaboration, impact and public engagement initiatives?
  • What are the challenges of working with a foot inside and outside the university?
  • What are the benefits of collaboration and how are they distributed? Who benefits from collaboration and how?
  • How can the power relations of practice be interrogated?
  • How are the ‘rules’, ‘norms’, ‘habits’, ‘traditions’, and ‘terminology’ reproduced and exchanged?

For more information and to book a place please follow the link :

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