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Worlding Public Cultures: The Arts and Social Innovation

Artwork with a map
Artwork with a map
Image courtesy of UAL

A critical art theory and practice based approach to social innovation.

Project duration: January 2020 - December 2022
Funded by: ESRC (Trans-Atlantic Platform Social Innovation Call)

Project summary

Worlding Public Cultures: The Arts and Social Innovation project aims to develop a critical art theory and practice based approach to social innovation, which takes worlding as its central methodology. It’s a collaborative research project and transnational platform conceived by the Transnational and Transcultural Arts and Culture Exchange (TrACE) network and funded by a Social Innovation Grant from the Trans-Atlantic Platform for the Social Sciences and Humanities. The project has been awarded £161,773 (Value to UAL) (Total Value for Collaborative Bid: £1,014,774.98) between January 2020 and December 2022.

Project team

Project aims

  • Change public narratives about our globally interconnected yet conflicted world through art, exhibitions, conferences and (academic) writing about art and its cultural, historical and socio-political realities.
  • Tell new stories from multiple regional perspectives about our transnationally and trans-culturally entangled presents, as well as our shared and sometimes difficult pasts, and intends to imagine new ways of living together in the future.

Ultimately, by conducting research on and for institutions of public culture, this project will be an agent of social innovation that impacts how the global is theorised. Making concrete recommendations for the education and museum sectors and contributing to the creation of a more resilient society with more elastic models of social cohesion through changes in public discourse.


Through a series of academies, assemblies, and gatherings, the project seeks to reimagine cultural and educational institutions beyond modern Western and colonial frameworks and reposition them as agents of social and political change that increase our understanding of our global world's complexities. These events are designed to enable transatlantic, multi-sectoral, and public knowledge sharing between those working in and on different geocultural contexts.


Worlding Public Cultures will conclude in:

  • A website of baseline data, including a mapping exercise which will result in the collection of key baseline datasets that will reveal how global, transnational and transcultural narratives are being represented in universities and museums worldwide. Also, a vetted list of resources for research, teaching and curating in a global context and notes compiled by doctoral and post-doctoral students about each academy, assembly, and gathering.
  • New open-access publication series with the Institute of Cultural Inquiry Berlin presenting the collaborative research outcomes and discourses generated through the Worlding Public Cultures project and including additional contributions from external authors, recruited among the distinguished speakers of WPC’s 4 international events.
  • 2 white papers - 1 on pedagogy, and the other on curating in a global context.

The project will also play an important role in developing the Transnational and Transcultural Arts and Culture Exchange (TrACE) network.


Higher Education Institutions:

  • TrACE Consortium (Transnational Arts and Culture Exchange): University of the Arts London (UK)
  • Carleton University (Canada)
  • Concordia University (Canada)
  • University of Montreal (Canada)
  • University of Quebec in Montreal (Canada)
  • Heidelberg University (Germany)
  • University of Amsterdam  (Netherlands)
  • Vrije Universitet Amsterdam (Netherlands)

Museums and Institutes:

  • Tate Modern (London)
  • National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa)
  • National Museum of World Cultures (Amsterdam)
  • Dresden Art Museum (Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Dresden)
  • Institute of Cultural Inquiry (Berlin)

Principle Investigators:

  • Dr. Ming Tiampo, Carleton University, Canada
  • Dr. Wayne Modest, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam
  • Dr. Monica Juneja, Heidelberg University, Germany
  • Dr. Alice Ming Wai Jim, Concordia University, Canada

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