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USSEA/InSEA Regional Conference Summer 2018
Wichita State University
Wichita, KS
July 27 – 29, 2018

Conference Theme: Building a Civil Society through the Arts
Request for proposals to be announced in January 2018
For more information, contact Lori Santos, PhD at lori.santos@uvu.edu

Wichita State University, Kansas
Friday July 27- Sunday July 29 2018

Conference Theme: Building a Civil Society Through Art

It might even be argued that the most crucial of all human rights includes the right to make your mark, model your most valued experiences, and map out your affinities, aspirations, beliefs, and counter-stories. Without the liberty to tag oneself as a person that matters, to transmit one’s personal and social experience to others without censorship, and to make special one’s place in the world without assault, prohibition or diminishment, human agency is curtailed. (Rolling, 2016)

In “uncertain times,” contemporary art practices are transformed to meet, address, and possibly solve urgent problems and challenge social and political conventions. Collaborative, dialogic, social, cooperative, participatory, and process-based art is on the radar in a way that has not been seen since the 1980s culture wars (Kester, 2011). Curator Okwui Enwezor argued that social and political crisis forces a reappraisal “of conditions of production, reevaluation of the nature of artistic work, and a reconfiguration of the position of the artist in relation to economic, social and political institutions” (as cited in Kester, 2011, pp. 4-5). A sense of lingering threat not only affects our democratic and social public life, but most importantly to educators, our classrooms, teachers, and institutions for teacher education. The destabilization of democracy in favor of corporate privatization—ultimately the privatization of meaning—has animated contemporary art into new forms of collective action and civic engagement (Kester, 2011) in which activism and art have become inseparable.

These threats to our teaching and learning freedoms, social agency and critical thinking have also invited art educators to review the purpose of art as a collective process that can reclaim an effective connection to social and public life. With the courage to examine the most difficult and controversial issues, as well as investigate new art forms in the classroom that might not end in material production, we can forefront enduring, open dialogue that changes students’ perspectives. Nato Thompson (2015) describes this new form of cultural production as increasingly focused on new experiences in which the activation of social discourse is the artwork.

Thompson (2015) argues that educators have a responsibility as part of a primary site in the circulation of meaning he calls an “infrastructure of resonance,” which gives us the possibility of making change by infiltrating the infrastructure with new languages of art practice. For example, art forms of protest based on social aesthetics (dialogic art) and tactical media (interventionist art) are reaching expanded audiences. How do we create these spaces for personal change in the classroom and the public square so that each becomes an “experiment without end” (p. 134)? How can art teachers safely open new physical spaces where new ideas can happen?

Relevant topics for submission under the theme “Building a Civil Society Through Art might include, but not limited to:

What is the personal, social, and political responsibility of art educators to build a civil society within the art classroom?

What might the future of art education hold if it embraced political action for social justice

What concepts/ideas in contemporary art are most effective in establishing social justice?

What presumptions need to be challenged in order to create social justice in art education?

What has been successful in establishing social justice in art education so far, where do we need to go?

Please see the submission form below
Complete and send the submission form to Lori Santos, lorisantosarted@gmail.com

Deadline for submissions: February 28, 2018

Wichita State University, Kansas
Friday July 27- Sunday July 29 2018
Deadline for submissions: February 28, 2018 to Lori Santos, lorisantosarted@gmail.com

Conference Theme: Building a Civil Society Through Art

1. Title of Proposal

2. Name and Title of Presenter:

a. Affiliation
b. Email:

3. Co-Presenter/s___________________________email.__________________

4. Please check below (session or workshop)

A. Session: 50 minutes (list A/V equipment needs/ please provide your own laptop)

B. Workshop: 90 minutes (list A/V equipment needs/ please provide your own laptop)

C. Other (please describe)

5. 45 word (maximum) Catalogue Description:

8. 150-250- word description of your proposed Session/Workshop:


Wexler, A. & Sabbaghi, V (In press). Bridging communities through socially engaged art. New York, NY: Routledge.

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