Art + Social Practice Conversations

These books collect conversations facilitated by graduating students in the Art + Social Practice MFA Program. All of the MFA students conduct interviews related to the topic of art and social practice each academic term during the three years of the program. The interviews are posted as part of an online journal, SoFA, and then compiled together as part of this book series. Interviews are a natural form of collaborative thinking and writing, and have been an important form used in many texts about or informing the field of socially engaged art. The books are published by KSMoCA (Dr Martin Luther King Jr School Museum of Contemporary Art) in collaboration with the Art and Social Practice MFA Program at Portland State University and designed by A+D Projects. They are available to buy on Amazon and will be available to download as free PDFs in summer 2023.

Conceptual Art in Prison

Conceptual Art in Prison documents three years of collaborations between incarcerated artists at Columbia River Correctional Institution, and students in the Portland State University Art and Social Practice Program. Contributors include Harrell Fletcher, Roshani Thakore, Anupam Singh, Richard Lundquist, Jetcet, Anke Schüttler, Ben Hall, Spencer Byrne-Seres, Jacob Diepenbrock, Tom Price, Mark Arnold, Artist Michael Bernard Stevenson Jr., Queaz Otti, Armon Poostpasand, Salty Xi Jie Ng, David “Homer” Edmunds, Robert “Flex” Gibson, Jason Melcado, Joshua “Lone Wolf” Tonkin, Michael “HM” Lovett, Carlos Cotto, Larry Loftin, Joseph Rosenberger, Richard Sanders, Sam McKever, Edgar Perez, Alec Gonzales, TJ Harris, Shawn Ashley Camp, and Phillip Jerov.

You can download a PDF of the book here.

It Can Change As We Go Along

It Can Change As We Go Along is a publication documenting the first ten years of the Art and Social Practice MFA Program at Portland State University, including a conversation with the first-year cohort and a second conversation with the tenth-year cohort. The book includes a survey of photos, including documentation of Open Engagement, Assembly, Shine a Light, visiting scholars, and student projects. Edited by Amanda Leigh Evans and Harrell Fletcher. Download a copy of the PDF here or purchase a print copy here.

Social Forms of Art Journal

The Social Forms of Art (SoFA) Journal is a publication dedicated to supporting, documenting and contextualising social forms of art and its related fields and disciplines. Each issue of the Journal takes an eclectic look at the ways in which artists are engaging with communities, institutions and the public. The Journal supports and discusses projects that offer critique, commentary and context for a field that is active and expanding. 

Created within the Portland State University Art & Social Practice Masters In Fine Arts. Program, SoFA Journal is now fully online.

Conversations on Everything is an expanding collection of interviews produced as part of SoFA Journal. Through the potent format of casual interviews as artistic research, insight is harvested from artists, curators, people of other fields and everyday humans. These conversations study social forms of art as a field that lives between and within both art and life.

Graduate Publications

Each student from the PSU Art and Social Practice MFA program completes a graduate publication about a socially engaged project. The following are examples of past and recent publications.

The Artists’ Emergency Response Cycle
Zeph Fishlyn, 2020

Zeph began to research disaster in spring 2019—one year before the beginning of a pandemic, economic chaos, a racial justice uprising, and ash falling from orange Western skies. This book details some of their research and projects through this eventful time, and appropriates a standard tool of emergency management to propose the necessity of play, ambiguity and open-ended questions in urgent times. Get a print copy or download a PDF here:

Rehearsing Power
Eric John Olson & Tamin Totzke, 2020

Rehearsing Power is a workshop is an ongoing participatory research project that examines how movement practices can shift one’s relationship with hopeless feeling futures by leveraging past experiences to imaginine and embody tomorrow’s possibilities. It combines visioning tools, design thinking, anti-oppression, and performance workshop techniques to provide a framework to explore how we can use our bodies to shift our relationship with hope. This guide covers the concept, inspiration, steps, and techniques for hosting a similar movement based workshop. The publication also includes a project discussion and example documentation from past workshop iterations. It’s for anyone interested in understanding the workshop and how to host their own iteration or adaptations.

Rehearsing Power Website
Download the PDF here

some light, shades of support in our current art ecosystems
Roshani Thakore, 2020

This publication examines the support systems created by artists and organizers BECAUSE of the systems that continually fail us. Made during the global pandemic of 2020, some light comes in the form of an inverted rainbow packet mailed to each recipient to pause, reflect, and examine the shades of support in our current art ecosystems.

some light was produced by nůn studios: an emerging print co-operative and affordable print resource in NE Portland. nůn creates artist books and community organizing curriculum for global solidarity movements, centering BIPOC womxn, femmes, GNC and non-binary folks.

You can receive a printed version with sliding scale funds that will go towards the cost of production as well as support nůn studios. Just complete this form.

The Grandma Reporter – Issue Two: Intimacy
Edited by Salty Xi Jie Ng, 2019

The Grandma Reporter is a collaborative publication project about senior women’s culture across the Earth. Issue two was a collaborative project by Betty, Crystal, Ellen, Erika, Jacqui, Maureen, Mildred, Pamela, Roshani, Salty Xi Jie, Sharon, Susan, Tammy & Valerie, made in partnership with the Hollywood Senior Center in Portland, OR.

What is the relationship between intimacy, aging, and being a woman? Intimacy is a human need, entangled with notions of desire and loneliness, as well as considerations of mental, social, and physical health. And yet it is a taboo subject, especially from an aging perspective. In this issue a team of women aged 22 to 84 explored intimacy over a few months through conversations and multidisciplinary projects. This publication presents perspectives that are playful, humorous, celebratory and poignant. Purchase or download it here.

The Greensboro Contemporary Jewish Museum
A project by Shoshana Gugenheim Kedem with the University of North Carolina Greensboro Jewish Studies Program and Greensboro Project Space, 2020

The Greensboro Contemporary Jewish Museum, the only Jewish museum of its kind in North Carolina, is a Jewish museum created in collaboration with faculty and students in the Jewish Studies program and College of Visual and Performing Arts at the University of North Carolina Greensboro and the greater Greensboro Jewish public. Focusing on object as agent of faith or identity, the inaugural exhibition of the GCJM shines a light on everyday objects that facilitate contemporary Jewish identity in its varied forms.  Contributors, Jewish residents of Greensboro, North Carolina, were prompted: “Please share a personal object imbued with significance to you as a Jew.” These household objects, their stories and the stories of their keepers are the content for a living archive that makes up the museum’s inaugural exhibition: 36+2. Purchase the museum publication here.

Can art inspire me to think critically about…? Art and Social Practice in Public Education
Edited by Roz Crews, 2017

Can art inspire me to think critically about…? is a collection of assignments and essays reflecting on the ways that art intersects with higher education, museums, and social life in the United States. It features assignments co-written between artist Roz Crews and five liberal arts professors who teach in Portland State University’s First Year Experience program as well as ten short essays written by distinguished artists, educators, and curators working in or around the field of socially-engaged art. Essays by: Roya Amirsoleymani, Ariana Jacob, Sheetal Prajapati, Coco Fusco, Hannah Jickling and Helen Reed, Ralph Pugay, Yaelle Amir, Kristan Kennedy, Libby Werbel, and Stephanie Parrish. All the students, professors, and art-workers who participated in making the book received a free copy. It was designed by James Casey. Purchase it here.

Reference Points

The Reference Points book series is produced by students from the PSU Art and Social Practice MFA program to focus on important people and issues in the discipline of art and social practice. The first ten books of the ongoing series have featured Wendy Ewald, Pablo Helguera, Luis Camnitzer, Ben Kinmont, John Malpede, and Temporary Services, among significant others. The series is overseen by Julie Ault and Harrell Fletcher, designed by Molly Sherman, and published by Publication Studio in Portland, Oregon.