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Claire Doherty: New Rules for Public Art


Due to unforeseen circumstances, Claire Doherty has cancelled her participation in the York University symposium Public Art: New Ways of Thinking and Working, and her keynote presentation, New Rules for Public Art, at the Art Gallery of Ontario on Thursday May 18. We apologise for the inconvenience.

‘It’s not forever,’ ‘Don’t waste time on definitions,’ and ‘It doesn’t have to look like public art’ – these are among the principles outlined in Claire Doherty’s provocative manifesto, New Rules for Public Art. The New Rules were published in 2013 by Situations – the groundbreaking arts organization of which Doherty has been founder director for 15 years – and it blew a gust of fresh thinking through the arts world. Claire Doherty is an original and rigorous thinker who is committed to new and unusual forms of public art, which grow out of place. She believes in the potential for artists to offer new perspectives and to catalyze change in people and place. This keynote will explore how to shake up the temporal limits of public art, the possibilities for building temporary communities around a project creating unexpected connections and encounters, and what this work might mean for the future of arts institutions who are seeking to connect with their context.

Claire Doherty is the founder Director of Situations, one of the UK’s foremost producers of arts projects which grow out of place. Situations invites artists and performers to respond to specific places or situations to produce temporary or long-term projects, with the audience at the centre of how the idea unfolds. In 2009, Claire was awarded a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Breakthrough Award and in 2012, she led Situations to become an independent charity. Situations has sparked transformative art experiences in unconventional spaces from Theaster Gates’ Sanctum, a 552-hour long non-stop programme of performance by 700 performers in the ruins of Temple Church, Bristol to Alex Hartley’s Nowhereisland, the journey of an arctic island as a visiting island nation for London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Claire has continued to champion the under-heard and overlooked; seeking out ways in which to engage those for whom the arts might have seemed irrelevant or inaccessible. A vital part of Situations’ work is to improve the conditions for public art commissioning. Claire has authored public art strategies for cities across the world. In 2016, Claire was appointed MBE for her Services to the Arts in the South West.

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