Six: What is the role of artists in interdisciplinary collaborative projects with universities and communities?

In this project the legacies that artists left when they worked with universities on collaborative interdisciplinary projects are explored. This chapter discusses how artists influenced such projects and what kinds of contributions they made. An introduction to the histories of artists working in community projects is provided. Then the approaches to understanding what artists did on these projects is outlined. In order to find out about their practices, the authors drew on a number of methodologies, using experiential as well as empirical methods. It is concluded that artists deployed a number of different ways of knowing to create spaces for co-produced ideas to emerge in collaborative projects. Through a process of analysis it is found that while in some cases artists were devising activities based on ideas that had been constructed in the main by academics, in others, ideas and project directions were jointly constructed, sometimes leading to a new outcome or object. The conclusion to the study was that the effect of artists working in collaborative interdisciplinary projects can be profound and far-reaching for research and the knowledge it produces.

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