Art & Social Justice Working Group
Vera List Center for Art and Politics

Art Commission

Norene Leddy and Liz Slagus

The Social Social


SocialSocial is an ongoing project by SexEd (Norene Leddy and Liz Slagus). It is a model for artists to work with people who actively engage with the public, but not in an art context, to bring a fresh perspective to socially engaged art. The concept: dinner, drinks, a brief presentation on the history and current examples of socially engaged art projects, and conversations about how to make this work more accessible through the language and strategies of people who do not work in the art world directly. Inspired by a conversation with the Art and Social Justice Working Group, SocialSocial's goal is to address some of socially engaged art's recurring questions and concerns around public(s) and audience, the ethics of credit and inclusion, and the desire to hear from voices outside of the art world. The first SocialSocial was held on November 12, 2014 and included nine participants from the fields of community activism, social work, public education, security, health care, AIDS activism, and science. Documentation from the first SocialSocial will be posted online in spring 2015, so that others can hold SocialSocials and we can continue this dialogue that is critical to the field.

The Social Social was commissioned by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics and A Blade of Grass in response to the first Art and Social Justice Working Group conflict - Accountability: Artist, Curator, Institution, Funder.

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Liz Slagus consults in the areas of art and technology education, public programming and community engagement. In 2009, the State Library of Queensland awarded her the Creative Fellowship for Art & Technology to develop the programming and outreach strategy for Brisbane's new digital culture center, The Edge. During 2008, she produced the youth component for the 01SJ Biennial (San Jose, CA), and co-curated "1800 Frames" for City Without Walls (Newark, NJ)—beginning a curatorial partnership with Norene Leddy. Between 1998-2008, Liz developed and managed Eyebeam's education programs, exploring new teaching and learning techniques and models for engagement. As Director of Education and Public Programming, she co-curated and oversaw large-scale exhibitions, and Eyebeam's public presentations. Liz continues to lecture about arts education, production and collaboration. She holds a BA in Art History and Anthropology from Bucknell University and an MA in Visual Arts Administration from NYU.

Norene Leddy's artwork examines how technology is used in relationship to marginalized populations. Projects include working with sex workers, inner-city girls, LGBTQ youth, and others to explore ways that high and low technology can be used for protection and self expression, from the latest in GPS and mobile software to simple DIY kits. In addition to drawing, video, sculpture and installation; related performances and workshops are frequently part of her artistic practice. Her work has been shown internationally at venues including Eyebeam (New York), Henie Onstad Kunstsenter (Norway), and Sarai Media Lab (India). She has been the recipient of numerous grants, awards and residencies including a Fulbright Fellowship, two Eyebeam residencies, and funding from NYSCA, Bronx Council for the Arts, and the Experimental Television Center. In September Norene was nominated for a 2011 World Technology award. Norene earned her B.F.A. from Boston University in 1994 and a M.F.A. from Parsons The New School for Design in 2000, where she is now a Part-time Assistant Professor. In 2008, she started an ongoing curatorial collaboration with Liz Slagus. Together they have curated exhibitions for City Without Walls, Kean University, and Gallery Aferro. She is online at

The Social Social, Norene Leddy and Liz Slagus, 2015

Welcome to the Art & Social Justice Working Group.


The purpose of the Art + Social Justice Working Group is to examine core conflicts that propel, enrich, and complicate artistic efforts that assume agency to enact social change. In this examination the group expects to foster clarity around both terminology and effective artistic and curatorial practice.

This site is home to the developing dialogue of glossary terms for describing this work and strategies for enacting it.

Core Conflicts

The ASJWG is organized around conflicts central to current conversations and practice in socially and politically engaged art. The six initial conflicts include: Accountability: Artist, Curator, Institution, Funder; Authorship, Collective and Other; Audience, Participation, Spectatorship, Modes of Address; Aesthetics and Usefulness; Local and Global, Specific and General; and Now and Forever: Do Gooding, Criticality, Oppositional.

Case Study

Each conflict is grounded in a case study to provide context about a specific project and artist's practice. For example, the first conflict Accountability: Artist, Curator, Institution, Funder begins with Thomas Hirshhorn's Gramsci Monument as a case study to launch a larger dialogue.


Writing from artists, scholars, community members, curators, and others augment conversation about each conflict. You are encouraged to add your own favorites to further the conversation.

Glossary Terms

These key terms and concepts evolve out of the conflict and case study. There is no single official definition, rather many perspectives are aggregated here about each glossary term to develop a complex understanding.


Following a similar format to the glossary, effective strategies for enacting this work in artistic and curatorial practice are aggregated from many individuals. Together they create a series of suggestions, guidelines, and warnings for all participants in this work.

Your comments, fresh perspectives, and contributions of new strategies and glossary terms are welcome and needed to advance this field and support our work.

Commissioned Artwork

Artists were commissioned to attend the initial six conflict meetings and develop new artwork in response to the ideas and perspective shared. Artists include: Liz Slagus and Norene Leddy, Laura Chipley, Fran Illich, and Nobu Aozaki.

Core Group Members

Thomas Anesta
Sascia Bailer
Beka Economopoulos
Deborah Fisher
Elizabeth Grady
Gordon Hall
Larissa Harris
Kemi Ilesanmi
Jason Jones
Kim Katatani
Grant Kester
Pam Korza
Carin Kuoni
Cynthia Lawson
Laura Raicovich
Paul Ramírez Jonas
Yasmil Raymond
Prerana Reddy
Christopher Robbins
Barbara Schaffer Bacon
Robert Sember
Greg Sholette
Radhika Subramaniam
Johanna Taylor
Niels Van Tomme
Christian Viveros-Fauné
Jennifer Wilson

Plus additional guest participants.

The Art + Social Justice Working Group is launched by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School and A Blade of Grass, with support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The Vera List Center and A Blade of Grass are both dedicated to supporting individuals in pursuit of the intersection of art and social justice, and to developing related programs and scholarship.

Questions? Comments? Contact
1. What would you like to contribute?
2. To which conflict does this pertain?
3. What is the definition?
3. What is the link to the reading?
4. Who are you? (We promise we won't share your information.)