The Future of Art is Urban

Artistic Research Practices and Methods in Social Sciences /// 30 May – 14 June 2014
Enclave Gallery · Deptford · South East London ///
work by Visual Sociology PhD students of Goldsmiths /// curated by Katalin Halász

The Future of Art is Urban blends the borders between art and social science. The exhibition presents a wide range of different social research practices in which knowledge is produced through artistic approaches. Participants use the city as a site of confrontation and interaction and invite our immediate reflections. 


See the website here and the catalogue here.

Screen shot 2014-08-18 at 15.54.41


The exhibition is held in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Goldsmiths Sociology, and is organised in celebration of the 20 years of the Centre for Urban and Community Research.

2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,900 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 32 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

engaging tactics BSA13 documentation

Some pictures of the interventions and screenings of the engaging tactics stream at the BSA Annual Conference 2013:

sound performance by Tansy Spinks, Middlesex University and Camberwell College of Art. photo: (c) Alexandra Baixinho

Tansy Spinks, sound artist, PhD candidate and lecturer at Middlesex University and Camberwell College of Art.
Norfolk Room, 4th floor. 11.30-12, 1.30-2.30, 4-4.30 hours. The sound performance Sonic Ritual (equivalent) will play with ideas about secret rituals, using objects and the sounds they make, through microphones, live loops and loudspeakers.

video by Madli Maruste, Centre for Urban and Community Research, Goldsmiths.

Madli Maruste, PhD candidate, Centre for Urban and Community Research, Goldsmiths.
Coronet Room, 2nd floor, all day. The video J. is reflecting on the personal story, a story about the loss of identity, belonging and the city, of a former Jewish Rabbi I met in the Old Jewish quarter in Vilnius, Lithuania in 2012.

video loop by Kata Halasz, Visual Sociology, Goldsmiths

video loop by Kata Halasz, Visual Sociology, Goldsmiths

Kata Halasz, visual artist, PhD candidate in Visual Sociology, Goldsmiths.
Cornwall Room, 2nd floor, all day. Not being able to attend, the author reimagines a ceremony of the Freemasons as a question rather than a statement: in endless circulation the figure is unable – or unwilling – to reach the pulpit to carry out ritual actions. The video asks its viewers too think about exclusion and inaccessibility – about who is invited to the table.

Revealing Secrets

Performance and screenings  //  Wednesday April 3rd, all day  //  BSA Annual Conference 2013

The venue for the 2013 BSA conference is the grandly mysterious Connaught Rooms, owned by the Freemasons, complete with masonic stars on door handles and secret entrances into the Masonic Lodge next door. Off the record, in adjacent rooms and (almost) concealed interventions to the conference, Engaging Tactics therefore showcases a sound performance and video screenings that search for ways to talk about and engage with those bodies and lives that keep or are kept away from public.

Interventions and screenings by

Tansy Spinks: sound artist, PhD candidate and lecturer at Middlesex University and Camberwell College of Art.

The sound performance Sonic Ritual (equivalent) will play with ideas about secret rituals, using objects and the sounds they make, through microphones, live loops and loudspeakers.

Madli Maruste: PhD candidate, Centre for Urban and Community Research, Goldsmiths.

The video J. is reflecting on the personal story, a story about the loss of identity, belonging and the city, of a former Jewish Rabbi I met in the Old Jewish quarter in Vilnius, Lithuania in 2012.

Kata Halasz: visual artist, PhD candidate in Visual Sociology, Goldsmiths.

Visual wallpaper, composed of an animated gif projected in loop, intertwining the space, time and histories of the Grand Connaught Rooms.


Live Sociology

Roundtable discussion  //  Wednesday 3 April 2013 at 16:30 – 18:00  //  BSA Annual Conference 2013

With: Noortje Marres, Nirmal Puwar, Alison Rooke and Michael Guggenheim (all of Goldsmiths, University of London). Chaired by Anna Bull and Christian v. Wissel.

This roundtable is sounding out the speaking and acting powers of multi-media techniques to collect, analyse, archive, and share ethnographic social research as well as other kinds of social data and materials. Drawing on the interventions and screenings presented within Goldsmith’s open stream ‘Engaging Tactics: Revealing Secrets’ during the first day of this year’s BSA Annual Conference, the discussion will envision possible futures for social research by mapping out Live Sociology from participatory art to digital methods, from curating to eating.

Live Methods, 2013, edited by Les Back and Nirmal Puwar, Sociological Review Monographs Series, will be at display during the Publishers’ Drinks reception on Wednesday at 7 pm.


Pressing [against] Methods

Humanities PhD Graduate Student Conference /// Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture /// Concordia University, Montréal, Canada /// April 26-27, 2013

Call for Presentations

The Humanities PhD Student Association at Concordia University is pleased to announce that we are now accepting abstract submissions for our annual conference. With Pressing [against] Methods, we invite graduate and post-doctoral students from all disciplines in the social sciences, fine arts and liberal arts to present on the issue of research methods. The conference, to be held on April 26-27, 2013, will be an opportunity to critically reflect on how we link the production of new knowledge with our methodological practices.

For further information about submissions please go to Pressing [against] Methods CFP. Deadline for submission is March 1, 2013.

BSA inside out / cfp

Engaging Tactics is reconvening a stream inside and outside the BSA Annual Conference Engaging Sociology, 3-5 April 2013, London, convened by Goldsmiths’ Postgraduate Research Community and Sociology Methods Lab

///// Call for Papers and Interventions

Engaging Tactics seeks to explore the boundaries between sociology and real life, through multi-sensory, multi-site engagement with publics and participants inside and outside of sociology and academia. Following the success of the Engaging Tactics interdisciplinary conference and BSA postgraduate event at Goldsmiths College in April-May 2012, we are reconvening for a one day stream inside the BSA conference 2013 plus a series of outside fringe acts.

We are inviting abstracts and other forms of contributions on:

Revealing Secrets [social life off-stage]

The venue for the 2013 BSA conference is the grandly mysterious Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden, owned by the Freemasons, complete with masonic stars on door handles and secret entrances into the Masonic Lodge next door.  The conveners of Engaging Tactics therefore propose a theme of ‘revealing secrets’: finding ways to talk about and engage with those bodies and lives that are kept away from the public.  We encourage participants to take their own research areas and adapt them to the space and the theme, raising questions around engagement, inclusion and exclusion.

We invite conventional or unconventional papers, installations, or other tactics of engagement for this one-day stream within the BSA conference.  We especially welcome site-specific submissions which use the venue and/or the local area to raise or explore questions on engagement, as well as visual artists and participants from other disciplines to submit material for a session on ‘curating sociology’.


please send your submissions, ideas and enquiries to
deadline for submissions is Monday, December 10th, 2012


The venue:

The Grand Connaught Rooms, venue of this year’s BSA Annual Conference, is home to a century-old history of Freemasonry in England. Connected to the United Grand Lodge’s temple through secret passageways and ornate, locked doors, the architecture and life of the building make constant references to the hiding and seeking of occult meanings and well-guarded paths to (parallel?) truths. Whether “secret society” or “society with secrets”, the league enjoys playing with the thrill of keeping some of its information in the dark, claiming that it is precisely such secrecy that guarantees the free expression of ideas among members while fostering the proliferation of the values of the Enlightenment. Inhabiting secrets, for the Freemasons, seems to be a comfortable thing to do. But what about those that are forced to live in secret? Those, that do not gain a position of power – be it illusory or not – from inhabiting the parallel and off-stage spaces of society? Goldsmith’s Engaging Tactics stream ‘Revealing Secrets’ seeks to explore the social life of secrets by engaging with its keepers and seekers during the BSA conference: in the kitchen of the Grand Connaught Rooms, on the fly gallery of the neighbouring Royal Opera House or in Sir John Soane’s secret cabinet down the road.


For more information and inspirations please see:

Grand Connaught Rooms (BSA conference location) 
Local venues we might approach for outside fringe acts: Hunterian MuseumSir John Soane’s house and Covent Garden area.


the call is available as pdf here.


BSA Annual Conference 2013

The theme for the 2013 Annual Conference is: Engaging Sociology.  It highlights Sociology’s contribution as it engages with topical issues affecting contemporary society – whether this is the recent riots, the financial crisis, climate change, social mobility, the Big Society, or the London Olympics.

The conference will take place at the Grand Connaught Rooms, London from 3-5 April 2013.

more information at the BSA website here.

engaging tactics, yet more visual notes, traces, etc.

… whilst trying not to overlap too much with the previous contributions.

engaging tactics, visual notes

My participation in this conference was made possible by the up and coming lab that I am affiliated it with: CEREV, which means Center for Ethnographic Research and Exhibition in the Aftermath of Violence (make sure to check us out!), the Humanities PhD Program, where I’m doing my degree, and the Faculty of Arts and Science at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada.

Also, these images are shared under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. That means you can use any of them for your own non-commercial purposes as long as notification and attribution are given to the photographer.

Visual Media in Communication

Exploring the Use of Visual Media in the Communication of Research Findings,

Seminar: 12/07/12, Cardiff University


“This exploratory seminar will bring together a range of social science
researchers and visual media experts, working within and across a variety
of fields, to explore the challenges and opportunities of using visual
media in the representation of research findings.”


Key issues that will be addressed and debated at the seminar include:

  • contested notions of voice, agency, ethics, reflexivity and interpretations;
  • the role (or not) of participants in relation to representation and dissemination of research findings;
  • remit, control and collaboration for researchers and disseminators in mediated research findings;
  • the implications for researchers, research and findings in using visual media for dissemination;
  • responsibilities, challenges and opportunities in representing data to a diverse and distinct audiences; and
  • funding, feedback and impact in using visual media to communicate research findings.



  • ‘Reithian principles for communicating research findings in the twenty-first century: inform, educate and engage’ – Joanna Mack and Pete Mitton (Open University).
  • ‘VJM visual intelligence and the London School of Economics: bringing your research project to the attention of a global audience’ (TBC).
  • ‘Facilitating relationship support for ‘mixed’ couples and families: academic and voluntary sector collaboration on visualisation of findings’ – Elaine Bauer (London South Bank University).
  • ‘Visualising bodies in place: reflections on a participatory film-making project with
    young people’ – Emma Renold and Gabrielle Ivinson (Cardiff University).
  • ‘Visualising numbers: when is it good to map statistical analyses?’ – Scott Orford (Cardiff University).


Cost:                                 £15 (or £10 for registered postgraduate students)
Contact to register:
Venue:                             Cardiff University School of Social Sciences Glamorgan Building,
King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff

Date/time:                      12 July 2012, 10.00-16.15

eat your sidewalk

a new SPURSE project… eating as a tactic to claim and put into action our “right to change ourselves by changing the city” (Harvey, 2008: 23).

read the introduction to the project:

“Eat Your Sidewalk is an urban festival that challenges you and a community of like-minded participants to eat and live on what you find right under your feet for 7 days straight.  The goal of this immersive event is to change our sense of food, the local and all that surrounds us (plants, food, materials, waste, kindness, communities, and our fellow critters). Imagine a mash up of the 100 mile diet, plus foraging skills, and commons thinking, all combined with a closeness to the occupy ethos, and the slow food movement, — plus a healthy dose of experimentation and the simple pleasure of eating and sharing!

and find out more about it here, as well as on the spurse website.


‘crowd funding’, that is – as we framed it during the making of citámbulos – building up a circle of friends and godparents that get involved with a project already during the process that leads up to it is also a tactic of public engagement.

multiple spaces

walkabout, foot tunnel, corridor, picnic area, food stalls, round table, police station, prison cell, library, lecture room, meeting space, council room, café, restaurant, workshop space, more corridor (exhibition), heating plant room… here are some images that go along



Engaging tactics: visual traces

performance lecture (on research)

On research was a 2-day symposium at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, on possible modes of ‘artistic research’. In its presentation format, the symposium has also been the showcase of a very effective ‘engaging tactic’, namely of the performance lecture.

From the symposium website:

“The debates about new models in academia, art and education have drawn additional attention to the topic of “artistic research”. What academic methods do artists use and what artistic methods do academics use?

Complementing the discussion, Rabih Mroué and Hito Steyerl focus on the (im)probability of events in the research field of mathematics; Ina Wutdke and Dieter Lesage devote themselves to gentrification debates in the context of academic studies; Xavier Le Roy explains how the academic that he once was became an artist.”



Probable title: zero probability // Lecture Performance by Hito Steyerl and Rabih Mroué // Fri 04.05.2012 20:30h

Kuhle Wampe Remix, oder Wem gehört die Stadt? // Lecture Performance von Ina Wudtke und Dieter Lesage // Sat 05.05.2012 20:30h

Product of Circumstances // Lecture Performance by Xavier Le Roy // Sat 05.05.2012 22:00h


performance pieces

Ciudades Paralelas is an exploration of urban social relationships through the medium of performance and theatre. The engaging tactics at work in these pieces might be framed as the creation of ‘personal (more or less) guided encounters with the other/the unexpected’.

please have a look yourself: at  CIUDADES PARALELAS / PARALLEL CITIES

excerpt from the project concept:

“For “Ciudades Paralelas”, Lola Arias and Stefan Kaegi have invited several artists to devise interventions for hotel rooms, shopping centres, factories… functional city places, not usually thought of as interesting to the outside eye. Eight artists have each chosen a location in the city as observation stations for urban phenomena. Some of them chose to work with radio receivers or headphones, others with a choir or with people in their workspaces. The pieces vary in form: You can listen to some of them, others you can read or touch. Some are for 1, others for 100 spectators. Some of the performers are singers, others writers, passers-by or even the audience themselves.”

The project includes a piece by Ant Hampton & Tim Etchells in a Public Library: The Quite Volume!

Ciudades Paralelas – The Quite Volume