Expected impacts

1.  Promote innovative approaches to societal challenges that take into account artistic perspectives.

The expected impacts of ARTIS are both multifaceted and far-reaching. This begins with our work to uncover, understand, and eventually co-create and promote innovative approaches employing artistic perspectives to societal challenges affecting Europe. By our unique systematic program and collaboration across artistic, educational, institutional, policy, and scientific perspectives we can go far beyond the present state of discussion and application of art.

The essential argument underlying this project is that art should be able to act as a potent vehicle for addressing challenges, societal and otherwise, impacting individuals, countries, and wider Europe. This is constantly at the base of present popular discussion, top-down planning, funding, and policy making, regarding art. There is no lack of projects specifically employing the arts towards such ends. Similarly, the present H2020 call text claims: the arts “can also foster an exchange in which people encounter points of view radically different from their own” they “can inspire personal belonging and mutual understanding. They can also foster civic engagement and social change, mobilizing a variety of actors around a common agenda.” What we believe these arguments lack is that the actual impact and that ways that art affects us have not been systematically assessed. This is a major reason why artistic projects are met by incredulity in the popular media, by politicians, and by everyday individuals on the street.

ARTIS will specifically identify the general efficacy of art and provide a general model – based on psychological insights in responses to artworks of how art can be transformative. We do this by employing a systematic empirical strategy: (1) We identify potentially powerful works of art by collaborating with artists, art schools, and art stakeholders, (2) we quantify the types of experiences people are having with those artworks using psychological, physiological, and neurological methods, and (3) we assess which of these experiences actually result in measurable lasting impacts that are related to societal change. Among those states are impacts on individuals’ health, bodies, prosocial attitudes, empathy, perspective taking, stereotyping, and political outlooks. (4) We also work with artists to co-create art interventions that are directly aimed at sharing points of view, changing attitudes, and addressing societal challenges in their cities. It is our conviction that only with such a systematic empirical assessment that innovative approaches to societal challenges can be fostered and promoted.

This approach will provide stakeholders with specific quantifiable effects or changes that may be brought about by art engagement. It will help them to connect these to specific types of experience, artworks, and modulating factors. This will give art-interested individuals, planners, and policy makers actionable tools and knowledge to promote the importance of art for societal challenges. It will also provide a framework for actors to discuss art initiatives from a quantifiable, efficacy-based perspective, and for policy decisions in terms of specific effects that might be anticipated. We also include them from the beginning as co-equal partners, treating their perspectives as vital for shaping the direction of this project.

In order to arrive at such a model that achieves such a permeation of stakeholders we specifically take into account artist perspectives. We will treat artists as co-creators and co-experimenters, inviting them to reflect on societal issues and empowering them to integrate art’s efficacy into their designs. To this end we will work with artists to create arts-based initiatives in our host countries to specifically target social challenges (here focusing on immigration and integration or responses to marginalized groups). This will both provide an innovative approach in itself to the use of art, matching artist’s design with unique access for display within our target areas, and in conjunction with the empirical knowledge gained in this project. We will also pair these interventions with specific engagement with viewers, using innovative methods, again based on our empirical core, to maximize their reception and the impact of the art. The projects we will implement in Berlin, Belgrade, and Oxford will also provide specific examples to policy makers, funders, and the general public of art initiatives, and which might be followed or expanded on by future projects.

In turn, ARTIS will also have impacts for understanding the work of artists within wider society and political structures. By working with our partners in sociology, social psychology, philosophy and art history, we will specifically provide answer to how the social environment (attitudes, responses to deviant or transformative artists) may both empower or dissuade artists’ work, and thus leading to similar policy and planning suggestions for the governmental or social level. This project also will provide unique new answers to the general SC6 2018-2020 Transformations Work Programme aim of strengthening citizens trust in public institutions—such as publicly funded museums and arts-programs--as well as using novel new approaches to the issue of “societal polarization” from changing European and international geopolitical realities.

2.  It will formulate and test innovative art-based practices aimed at mutual understanding, dialogue and civic participation, thereby enhancing social inclusion.

This project, as noted above, also will produce its own innovative art-based practice with the focus on social inclusion. We do this by both working with professional artists and art students as co-creators and co- collaborators in order to create interventions addressing the issue of social inclusion and dialogue between marginalized (recent immigrant) and more mainstream groups.

We will work directly with marginalized artists as part of our program, building our interventions within a unique structure in Germany (*foundationClass, KHB) that has as its aim the assistance of marginalized artist groups in both integrating as professionals within their new societies and also in communicating their message and unique perspectives. This project will give a platform to such individuals for sharing their works -- both within self-organized gallery shows and the larger urban environments of their cities. On the other hand, we will also work with marginalized viewers to provide access to institutional art, consider the overlap or unique differences in engagement and perspectives and thus providing a unique basis for participation and inclusion. We will identify barriers of engagement for marginalized groups as well as positive examples of resonating art that might differ from mainstream viewers that already have access to art. We will also assess disengaged groups in a work package that does experience sampling beyond the museum and urban art settings and asks a broader population what their art and their transformative experiences are. Regional, social, and political causes of disengagement will become visible through the matching of our data to the European Values Survey (EVS), a longitudinal, cross-cultural survey carried out across all member states of the European Union. Our ambition is to identify specific modes of engagement and barriers by linking socio-political data with our more psychological assessment.

By planning interventions (inviting marginalized groups to co-create artworks, addressing disengaged groups via our APPs) we aim to foster a broader understanding and an inclusive strategy of art engagements that will overcome identified barriers and will promote understanding between groups as well as with respect to the role of art in our society. By formulating a general theory of art engagement that will be match to empirical data (including sociological factors) we will be able to run tests with respect to innovative art-based practices and their impact on pro-social behavior and political attitudes across a wide range of participants.

We aim to provide invaluable contributions to artistic practitioners that previously not have been available, or were not measurable in their impact.

Finally, we will directly address the topic of art-based practice by working directly with arts universities (KHB) in the shaping of their curriculum to better address challenges that artists face and to empower their work to meet the demands of society. By working work with two Professors (Aminde, Goutrié) responsible for the joint first year of the curriculum (“Foundation Year”) of the art school Berlin Weissensee, we will enhance our impact in this area by testing predictions of our models and having an exemplary test case of how empirically informed reflections can influence teaching and artistic production. This will provide invaluable data for white paper writing and policy initiatives and will exert an influence on stakeholders from the artistic community that will last beyond the end of the ARTIS project.

3.  The action will contribute to further integration of the arts in the policies and strategic goals of the EU.

ARTIS finally aims to directly contribute to the further integration of the arts in the policies and strategic goals of the EU by making advancements in policy discussions and strategic planning regarding arts funding and initiatives within the EU that previously have been impossible. By incorporating a unique collection of external partners representing leading policy and cultural societies across Europe (UNESCO, ENCATC) as well as academics at the forefront of crafting policy itself (FDU), and by uniting these resources with our empirical data on the varieties and efficacy of art, we can shape new policy directives that specifically take into account hard data on art-related impacts. To this end the policy and dissemination partners will be present from the start of the project and involved in the experimental set-up and the project development throughout the different stages.

Having the data, reports, and maps developed within the ARTIS project at their disposal will empower policy makers to actually discuss art from the perspective of what it can actually do for and to society or individual viewers, and thus allow for much more meaningful and data-directed decisions. This will also provide specific answers to challenges against the use or funding of art.

ARTIS, because of its unique grounding in scientific methods, as well as its collaborations between humanities, art historical, and social fields, will also provide unique advancement to the fields of empirical aesthetics, which has to date not considered the interaction with art from such a systematic perspective. It will provide a testing ground for cutting edge techniques in neuroscience as well as involving advanced mathematical modeling of complex experience and quantification of art interaction types. It will provide important data on the role of the body, the brain and the perceptions of perceivers in engaging art, with wider implications for discussions of emotion, social relations, empathy. It will also provide an important opportunity for the emerging field of empirical aesthetics to connect with humanistic discourse, providing an example for future researchers of the potential or pitfalls from collaborative work. Ultimately, it will also create a new, EU-spanning network of academics, universities, societal partners, and art institutions focused on assessing, debating, and empowering the transformative potential of art, and thus offering a unique opportunity to reshape art’s purpose for Europe.

Barriers/Obstacles: As noted above, ARTIS is specifically designed to address what we see as one of the major potential barriers limiting impact—either the acceptance by stakeholders of our empirical methods and tolls, or by the public/other levels in accepting the potential transformative potential and importance of art. Through our consortium and collaborating members (see also 2.2.1 below) we will directly target these claims and work to make the project maximally useful and relevant to all stakeholders’ aims.