Spring 2012

Collaborative Art: Practice and Theory of Working with a Community

Listed in: Art and the History of Art, as ARHA-310

Formerly listed as: FIAR-91


Wendy T. Ewald (Section 01)


This course will examine the approaches of various contemporary artists to creating collaborative work.  Over the last two decades a growing number of artists have adopted a mode of working that is radically different from the usual modernist model.  These artists are working as collaborators with people or groups outside the world of art--with children, senior citizens, sanitation workers, or residents of a particular neighborhood.  The artists often create work with, not for a community, and share decision making with people not ordinarily given a place in the world of museums or other art world sites.  The results are artworks that express a variety of social and aesthetic positions. In general, the work is intertwined with progressive educational philosophies and radical democratic theory. 

Some of the issues examined will be: What is the special attraction for artists of working collaboratively?  What are the roles of the artist, community, and audience?  How does one attribute quality or success to collaborative projects?  What is the relationship between process and product? This course will examine the work of artists working in various media, including Ewald’s methods for working with children in photography and with communities. In addition photographer Fazal Sheikh and other collaborative artists will discuss their practise. Students will work on an art project with communities in the Amherst area. Weekly class discussions will provide students the opportunity to reflect upon their own experiences and observations as artists.  They will also read about and discuss collaboration, social issues, and pedagogy as it relates to the people they will be working with. 

Requisite:  One course in the practice of art. Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Visiting Artist Ewald.

If Overenrolled: Priority to seniors, juniors, and ARHA majors


Artistic Practice, Community Based Learning


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Spring 2012, Fall 2012