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In Conversation event with Grant Kester
Learning Lab, Cork City: Create and Counterpoints Arts. Photo: Marcia Chandra

In Conversation event with Grant Kester

Event · Talk

23rd March 2021

6 - 7.15 pm


No longer available

price & booking
This event is offered free of charge, but booking is essential to secure your place. Details of the online platform will be emailed in advance of the event. 

Create, in partnership with Fire Station Artists’ Studios, Age & Opportunity, University of Limerick, Fingal Arts Office, and the Engagement and Learning Dept of IMMA, is delighted to announce an In Conversation event with renowned US-based art historian and educator Grant Kester, and Gráinne Coughlan, Independent Researcher and PhD candidate TU Dublin. The event will be chaired by Professor Kerstin Mey, President, University of Limerick.

As Professor of Art History at UCSD and the founding editor of Field: A Journal of Socially Engaged Art Criticism, Grant is one of the leading figures in the critical dialogue around socially engaged art practice today. Taking place in the context of ongoing work Create and the above partners are undertaking to devise a new evaluative register and framework for collaborative / socially engaged arts practice, this conversation delves into the question of the critical coordinates for collaborative and socially engaged arts practice, exploring alternative ways to analyse and understand the complex processes and relationships inherent to socially engaged art and which lay the foundations for change.


Grant Kester is Professor of Art History and the founding editor of FIELD: A Journal of Socially Engaged Art Criticism. Kester is one of the leading figures in the critical dialogue around socially engaged art practice. His publications include Art, Activism and Oppositionality: Essays from Afterimage (Duke University Press, 1998), Conversation Pieces: Community and Communication in Modern Art (University of California Press, 2004, second edition 2013), The One and the Many: Contemporary Collaborative Art in a Global Context (Duke University Press, 2011) and Collective Situations: Readings in Contemporary Latin American Art 1995-2010, co-edited with Bill Kelley (Duke University Press, 2017).
Kester’s essays have been published in Art in Theory: The West in the World-An Anthology of Changing Ideas (Wiley/Blackwell, 2020), A Companion to Public Art (Oxford, 2016), The Blackwell Companion to Contemporary Art Since 1945 (Blackwell, 2006), Theory in Contemporary Art Since 1945 (Blackwell, 2004), Poverty and Social Welfare in America: An Encyclopedia (ABC-Clio, 2004), Politics and Poetics: Radical Aesthetics for the Classroom (St. Martins Press, 1999), and the Encyclopedia of Aesthetics (Oxford University Press, 1998). He is currently completing a two-volume book on the politics of aesthetic autonomy, under review with Duke University Press.

Gráinne Coughlan is an independent researcher and PhD candidate at Technological University Dublin. Her research interests include ecological responses to participation, intersections between systems theory and cybernetics with participatory art, and alternative methods of evaluation and analysis. Gráinne’s current research project responds to the social turn in contemporary art and proposes an expanded analysis of socially engaged art projects as complex systems of social and aesthetic organisation. She has presented this research internationally at the Venice Biennale Research Pavilion (2017), College Art Association Annual Conference, (2018, 2019) South Eastern College Art Association (2018). Her ‘organisational analysis’ of Grizedale Arts project A Fair Land,(2016) will be published as part of the inaugural IMMA Texts publication next year.
As an independent researcher, since 2018, Gráinne has worked with Create to research and design a new evaluative framework for socially engaged art that responds to the particular processes and multiple relationships that define the practice, and has contributed to updating of documentation regarding Create’s Artist in the Community scheme. She is currently conference coordinator for Public Art Now conversations to take place in June 2021.

Kerstin Mey currently serves as President of University of Limerick and is a Professor of Visual Culture. She previously held positions in universities in Germany, the UK and Ireland. Her own research is concerned with practices of meaning making in contemporary and 20th Century art and culture. Her inquiries are concerned with art as research, with the relationship between cultural practices and identity formation, with the relationship between art making, documentation and archives, and with the exploration of cross-disciplinary connectivities. She is particularly interested in participatory and socially engaged modes of creative engagement and public pedagogies more generally.
Publications include the authored book Art and Obscenity (2007); and edited volumes: with Smite and Smites, Artistic Research (2011); with Kroenke and Spielmann, Kulturelle Umbrüche: Identitäten, Räume, Repräentationen, (2007); On-Site/In-Sight, special issue Journal of Visual Art Practice, Vols. 4.1/2 (2005); Art in the Making. Aesthetics Historicity and Practice (2004) and Sculpsit (2001. She acts as reviewer for international funding bodies, academic institutions and publishers.




related programme
Evaluative Framework

Fingal Arts
Age & Opportunity
University of Limerick
Fire Station Artists' Studios
IMMA Engagement and Learning
Read Create News 14: Grant Kester on Collaborative Practice and the Limits of Criticism