Engaging Communities in Flux through Public Art + Design: Practice + Pedagogy

APA New Jersey Chapter


Friday, May 5, 2017
11:10 a.m. - 12:40 p.m. EDT

CM | 1.50

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Public Art and Public Interest Design and the theories, methods and tools they employ are contributing to, being fortified by and also being challenged by engaging in the community practice of creative placemaking in places where environmental and social flux, disturbance, and distress–displacement–necessitate a remaking and rebinding together of the built environment with the emotional connections, place attachments and place narratives that give it meaning. Mindy Fullilove’s “frayed knot” hypothesis (Fullilove, 2013) argues that place attachments endure and are rarely altogether severed in communities, even as displacement weakens social matrices, ruptures person-place relationships and undermines sense of place. Such “frayed” attachments, she suggests, are in need of reawakening, strengthening and rebuilding through “community practices” (p. 141). Creative placemaking is such a community practice revealing and amplifying a place’s distinctiveness–physically, socially and culturally– and regenerating and developing its affective bonds and place attachments. As activist practitioners, scholars and pedagogues in the fields of art and design, we will share and reflect on how we are interpreting and undertaking creative placemaking as a community practice in places where knots are frayed and voices are silenced, suppressed and marginalized. Among other things, we will reflect on what we are learning about and from our work: how our work is often recasting our practice towards the temporary and ephemeral and the reweaving together of frayed social and physical fabric; how university- community relationships and co-creation are being directed and evolving in our work; how our work is impacting those places and people with whom we work; and how our work is changing our roles individually and collectively, from expert-authors to activist-co-creators, thriving, not in isolation, but together.

Participants will also:

1.     Learn about relevant theories and practices related to place and place attachment and public interest design on
which to draw to inform and support creative placemaking

2.     Learn about the challenges and opportunities of a range of current interdisciplinary public art and design practices as
they engage in creative placemaking

3.     Learn about creative placemaking’s role and potential, as a community practice, to rebuild and build environmental
and social capital, particularly in places experiencing transition, disruption and displacement.

4.     Surface new approaches and ideas for integrating and working across disciplines to undertake impactful creative


Shalina Argawal


Paula Horrigan


Contact Info

Leonardo Vazquez, leo@artsbuildcommunities.com