Dr. Loraine Leeson is a visual artist who works through social engagement. This specialism underpins her role as programme leader for MA Art and Social Practice and module leader for the exit degree BA Fine Art Social Practice in the Department of Visual Arts - also her previous appointment as Fulbright Scholar in Residence at University of Washington Tacoma, where she introduced community engagement into its programmes. Loraine is director of the arts charity cSPACE, and chair of the strategy group Arts for Labour plus the film and video production and training centre Four Corners. Her research focuses on the role of art in social and environmental change through bringing community-based knowledge into the public domain. She is particularly known for her work in support of the campaigning communities of London’s Docklands in the 1980’s, and her later use of digital media and the Internet to explore collective creativity. A retrospective exhibition celebrating thirty years of her practice toured Berlin, London, Toronto and Dublin 2005-08. Her art practice with people has been recognised through a Media Trust Inspiring Voices award and Olympic Inspire Mark, while her public artwork The Catch involving 300 children became a London 2012 Landmark and Active Energy received the 2016 RegenSW Arts and Green Energy award. 2017 saw her 1970s photomontage work in support of health campaigns exhibited at ICA London as well as the Routledge publication of her book Art:Process:Change – inside a socially situated practice.
Teaching and Supervising
Programme leader MA Art and Social Practice
Module leader for exit degree BA Fine Art Social Practice
Specialist pathway in social practice with Alberto Duman Year 2 BA Fine Art
PhD supervision/ Director of Studies relating to research in social practice.
External examiner for MA Art and Social Practice and BA Fine Art, University of Highlands and Islands
External examiner for PhD in Art History and Cultural Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario (2015)
External examiner for PhD in Environmental Studies, York University Toronto (2014)
International PhD referee/assessor, University of Catalunya (2013)
Publishing on Social Practice Pedagogy
‘Active Energy – art practice into pedagogy’ in Provocations, Pedagogy, and Other Strategies for Teaching Ecological Art, International Ecoart Network. (forthcoming)
‘Experience as Art: Fine Art Social Practice Modules at Middlesex University’ in Principals and Practices of Teaching Social Practice, Allworth Press, New York. (2018). Collaboration with Alberto Duman.
‘Giving More Than You Take: a conversation about the ethics, responsibilities and practicalities of facilitating student participation in community-based projects’ in The Tetley Feast, Leeds College of Art. (2015).
My research focuses on the role of art in social and environmental change through bringing community-based knowledge into the public domain.
I welcome applications for PhD supervision relating to research in social practice, particularly where this is practice-led.
Recent and current projects include:
JAL! Celebrating Cultures of Water in Rural Rajasthan (current)
CoI/ Lead Artist in AHRC networking project to bring the arts to bear on urgent issues of water conservation in Rajasthan’s desert regions https://rajasthanwater.weebly.com.
Active Energy: Three Mills 2008 – ongoing
A ten-year project with The Geezers seniors group and an extended interdisciplinary team to harness tidal energy from the Thames. www.active-energy-london.org.
Hydrocitizenship 2014 -17
Artist consultant on AHRC funded project led by Bath Spa University. The project explored roles for the arts in investigating how citizens and communities live with each other and their environment in relation to water. https://www.hydrocitizenship.com
Lambeth Floating Marsh 2014 - 15
Art/science collaboration addressing issues of biodiversity through construction of a floating reed bed on the River Thames with moving images of river organisms projected along the Thames embankment. www.lambethfloatingmarsh.org.uk
A more comprehensive account of my reserach and practice can be found at www.cspace.org.uk and in my monograph Art:Process:Change – inside a socially situated practice (Routledge, 2017).
Leeson, Loraine (2019) Participation and collaboration in contemporary art practices. In: Construir complicitats: Pràctiques artístiques col·laboratives [BUILDING COMPLICITIES: Collaborative artistic practices], 30 May 2019, Arts Santa Mònica, Barcelona. (Accepted/In press)
Leeson, Loraine (2019) From photo-murals to water wheels: a role for art in strategies of change. In: For Walls with Tongues: an oral history of Street Murals 1966-1985, 14 May 2019, University of Greenwich, London, UK.
Dunn, Peter and Leeson, Loraine (2019) Docklands Community Poster Project. [Artefact]
Leeson, Loraine (2019) Our Land: creative approaches to the redevelopment of London’s Docklands. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 25 (4). pp. 365-379. ISSN 1352-7258
Leeson, Loraine (2018) An Art of Change - photomontage 1977-2017. In: Photomontage Then and Now, 20th Sept 2018, Four Corners, 121 Roman Road London E2 0QN.
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