Reports and Writing by the Aor Team

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Hidden Forces: some participant observations of an artist residency in Llandudno by Frances Williams.


In this text Frances Williams offers observations from a socially-engaged art project, led by artist Ailie Rutherford. This aimed to explore the hidden ‘undercurrents’ of social economies through a site-specific intervention inviting readers to consider the terms through which social art practice is evaluated and contrasting criteria of success. Click here for a copy


This research was commissioned by Peabody Housing Association to inform their arts and culture development and programming. The survey employed an inclusive and broad definition of ‘arts and cultural activities’ encompassing ‘everyday culture.’ Available here.

Collaborative Sociological Practice: the Case of Nine
Urban Biotopes

by Alison Rooke

This paper examines the socially engaged art project Nine Urban Biotopes (9UB), an international exchange between European and South African cultural organisations. Two artist residencies offer case studies of collaborative arts and research practice. The ways that
these case studies are read as ‘failures’ and ‘successes’ illustrate the complexities of North-South collaborations. This project, the partnership that sustained it and the residencies that
were central to it, exemplify, in modest ways, how public sociology can be realised in modest ways in a global context. This paper shows, with examples, that whilst partnership and
collaboration are emphasised in institutional and policy discourse, in practice these arrangements are filled with tension and unequal power relations between partners. An evaluative methodology premised on sociological practice allows the tensions that are inherent in partnership and collaboration to be recognised and productively interrogated. It also allows us to reimagine what ‘success’ and ‘failure’ looks like in research partnerships by working
with the antagonisms that are integral to collaboration.



making it together

An evaluative study of Creative Families
an arts and mental health partnership
between the South London Gallery
and the Parental Mental Health Team.

Click here to view


Modalities of exchange

Skills exchange was a collaborative art and social exchange research project that took place between January 2007 and April 2012. Through 5 embedded multi-year residencies, Skills exchange tested the idea that isolation and discrimination are best addressed if artists, older people, care workers and others exchange their skills on equal ground, altering roles, representations and and well rehearsed relations through processes of creative exchange.

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The Creative Collisions and Critical Conversations Workshop provided an opportunity for a much needed vibrant exchange between professionals working at the interface between the arts and mental health in a ‘creative collision’ to identify ways delivering of arts/mental health interventions with energy and creativity. It was designed to develop a shared sense of purpose and the recognition that arts practice not only improves ‘patient management’ but also make a valuable contribution to the education and training of health practitioners.

Click here to read the report



Future Stages is an arts intervention programme developed and delivered byOvalhouse, funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation (from2012 – 2015), KPMG Foundation and the Equitable Charitable in order to support young people deemed‘at risk’. Drawing on arts participation practice, underpinned by the theory of leading practitioners such as Augusto Boal and Dorothy Heathcote, the programme offers young people opportunities to develop the resilience and skills needed to break the cycle of deprivation and exclusion many of them face in their lives. 

Click here to read the report


Curating Community? The relational and Agonistic Value of Participatory Arts in Superdiversive Localities

The Curating Community Workshop developed out of an interest in urban regeneration, cultural policy and participatory art. It drew on the extensive experience in developing, delivering and evaluating community interventions that span participatory arts. The Workshop brought together artists, commissioners, researchers, educationalists and practitioners from community development and from a range of arts practices including community art, socially engaged art practice, participatory theatre and participatory arts. The participants critiqued the ideological presuppositions which often assist participatory art.

Click here to read the report

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