Part of the research cluster on Arts Production and Cultural Policy in Transformation is the research project “FEINART – The Future of European Independent Art Spaces in a Period of Socially Engaged Art”. FEINART is an extensive collaborative project between degree-awarding research centres in political philosophy, art theory and practice, curatorial studies, and cultural management on the one hand, and arts institutions—mainly from the European independent arts sector—on the other. This collaboration marks the first interdisciplinary and holistic investigation of the democratic role and function of socially engaged art in Europe. As part of this aim, FEINART will train 11 early-stage researchers (ESRs) in the relevant academic and non-academic skills required to engage with the challenges of this changing artistic and cultural landscape. The 11 ESRs will be spread across four academic beneficiaries (University of Wolverhampton, England; University of Iceland; University of Edinburgh, Scotland; Zeppelin University, Germany) and seven partner organisations (Tensta Konsthall, Sweden; BAK—basis voor actuele kunst, Netherlands; State of Concept Athens, Greece; W-Est, Italy; tranzit.ro, Romania; Teatr Scena Prezentacje (Biennale Warsawa), Poland; and Icelandic University of the Arts). The selected partner organisations represent an exemplary cross-section of small-scale and larger independent spaces—project spaces, cultural centres, art labs, and research hubs—working under different demands and expectations and all providing invaluable support and resources to artists working in the area of socially engaged practice. As such, the FEINART training programme will provide invaluable data about the distribution, impact, and role of socially engaged art in Europe that will contribute to future funding policy recommendations, in particular in relation to state support of art beyond the traditional museum and various debates on art and public culture.
Prof John Roberts, University of Wolverhampton, Coordinator | Prof Dr Karen van den Berg, ZU, chairwoman of the supervisory board & training coordinator | Björn Þorsteinsson, Háskóli Íslands | Dr Angela Dimitrakaki, University of Edinburgh