The Social Practice minor is offered through Parsons School of Design.
This minor provides a pathway for undergraduate students to pursue socially engaged projects that initiate exchange, envision new social relations, and provoke individual/collective actions. This is an invitation to blur the lines between object making,
performance, political activism, community organizing, guerrilla architecture, environmentalism, and investigative journalism. This approach to art making fosters collaboration between artists and broader publics. Drawing on the strengths of The New
School's history of engagement with social justice, the Social Practice minor taps into our faculty's diverse fieldwork, exposing students to multidisciplinary methodologies for their own research. A progression of lab and studio seminars provides
models for developing media strategies and forms of social cooperation. This minor will prepare students to conceptualize participatory projects, articulate narratives, position themselves ethically, and cultivate networks that support poetic and
Examples of social practice include Theaster Gates' Dorchester Projects (winner of the New School's inaugural Vera List Center Prize), Mel Chin's Fundred Dollar Project,
Estudio Teddy Cruz's Casa Familiar: Living Rooms at the Border, and Jeanne van Heeswijk's Freehouse.
Course availability may vary from semester to semester. Some courses may be in development and offered at a later time. Students seeking to pursue alternative coursework to fulfill the minor should consult with their advisors.
*Students who have already completed one of these courses, or will do so for their major, should instead select another course in the subject area Social Justice Issues and Community-Based Practice.
A student who has completed this minor should be able to demonstrate
- An understanding of basic fine arts knowledge, research principles, concepts, media, and formats of a social practice project
- A competent working knowledge of the history, theory, and practice of socially engaged works of art in a global arena
- A strong sense of how to carry out a project, including a range of research methodologies and fieldwork experience, moving a project from research through development and testing to completion and assessment
- Competency in and direct experience with collaborating with a variety of publics through exchange-based practices
- Strength in his or her ability to articulate possible intersections between contemporary art and design discourses, social justice movements and radical pedagogical practices, and community-based practice
Minors are available to all undergraduate students at The New School. For questions regarding this minor's curriculum, including requests for course substitutions, please contact Lydia Matthews, professor of visual culture, at MatthewL@newschool.edu.
How to Declare or Change a Minor
General guidelines for declaring a minor are available here. Current students can declare or change a minor by logging in to my.newschool.edu, clicking on the Academics tab,
and then clicking on the link to Major/Minor Declarations.