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Practice Portfolio Submission



An artistic strategy for co-creating culture and policy with communities, artists and funders

By Carolyn Defrin

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This PhD thesis is a collaborative research study with London South Bank University and housing and community grants giving organisation, Hammersmith United Charities.

Addressing the limitations of qualitative and quantitative reporting that dominates the cultural policy landscape, this thesis makes the argument that artistic practice offers a capacity for new relationships between communities and policy makers. Rendering these relationships in artistic processes (be it through processes of making, the artworks themselves, or reflections provoked in response) illuminates how the PaR can not only inform but also enact policy. Whether this is through a carefully constructed audio-visual installation featuring beneficiary interviews expressively video-mapped to architectural models as a method for imagining affordable housing design, or a series of video portraits of beneficiaries and benefactors sharing their ideas for local art commissions, the PaR illustrates how the charity can iterate its policies not only in terms for what kind of art it decides to fund, but also for how it engages in such decision-making processes.


Elucidating different ways the charity comes into knowledge with its beneficiaries, each PaR project concretises where and with whom knowledge lies.


As video installation is the primary medium, the online portfolio is both the practice and the documentation of it.

This portfolio was initially intended as a live exhibition that would remount elements of the practice, but due to CoVid 19, has been moved online. As such, where the online portfolio functions as documentation, it delineates what may be missing and/or how the ephemerality of its original live contexts carries different meaning online. However, the online portfolio now facilitates the practice to be experienced beyond the research context and intends that its contributions online hold space to exemplify how practice and theory are intrinsic to policy.


In both the PaR and its theoretical analysis, the portfolio contributes new knowledge for the ways in which arts funding policy can expand its understandings of language to include artistic practice. Noting how processes for making art, the artworks themselves and reflections about the artworks articulates co-created knowledge between funder, community and artists, the thesis concludes with a recommendation for a national archive of such practices that have informed and continue to inform and enact policy.

The buttons on each page will take you to the next stage of the practice. Hyperlinks within the written thesis will lead to these pages as well.

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