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Worlding Public Cultures: The Arts and Social Innovation

This project focuses on the global dimensions of contemporary public culture and applies its findings on social innovation in the higher education, museum, and cultural sectors.

Worlding Public Cultures: The Arts and Social Innovation is a collaborative research project and transnational platform designed to foster more resilient public cultures and institutions to address the challenges of populist nationalisms and global migrations in pluralist democracies.

This project focuses on the global dimensions of contemporary public culture and applies its findings on social innovation in the higher education, museum, and cultural sectors. It proposes worlding (Heidegger 2002 [1950]; Spivak 1985; Hunt 2014; Cheah 2016) or the situated-ness of world-making, as an activating concept and analytical tool. Going beyond current top-down models of “inclusion,” “diversity” and other representations of the “global,” the concept of worlding grounds the global within local worlds and allows entangled histories to emerge, opening pathways to decolonize “universal” Western narratives and epistemologies.

Through a series of academies in collaboration with public institutions (National Gallery of Canada; Tate Modern; National Museum of World Cultures, the Netherlands; Tate Modern; Institute for Cultural Inquiry, Berlin) this project is designed to enable transatlantic, multisectoral and public knowledge sharing between those working in and on different geocultural contexts. Worlding Public Cultures will culminate in a website of baseline data, two peer-reviewed volumes and two collaboratively written white papers on pedagogy and curating in a global context. Furthermore, it will play an important role in developing the Transnational and Transcultural Arts and Culture Exchange (TrACE) network.

Ultimately, by conducting research on and for institutions of public culture, this project will be an agent of social innovation that impacts how the global is theorized, making concrete recommendations for the education and museum sectors and, ultimately, contributing to the creation of a more resilient society with more elastic models of social cohesion through changes in public discourse.