Gdansk, October 2018

Art as my neighbour. Rising apartment prices or my creative development?

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On 17 October 2018 LAZNIA CCA together with Political Critique organisation hosted a discussion devoted to examining the ambivalent role of art, artists and cultural institutions in social change. The meeting was attended by Rafał Jakubowicz from the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, dr Marta Jaskulska from the University of Bydgoszcz and Joshua Schwebel, an artist on a long-term residency at CCA LAZNIA.
 
The meeting uncovered latent connections between artistic activities and processes of revitalization and gentrification. As several districts of Gdansk are facing drastic and rapid gentrification, little attention has been given to the role of art in these transformations. What is the function of art centres and art initiatives in revitalization? When artists are invited into districts that are being revitalized, what is the effect of their presence in the neighbourhood? Who is art intended to address, and who does art serve? How can art act in support of more marginalized inhabitants? Does art really carry the potential to solve social and economic conflicts? The meeting was an attempt to face current questions, and to encourage discussion and reflection.
 
The long-term artistic residence of Joshua Schwebel became the starting point for organizing the meeting. In the frames of his project the artist proposed an action that questions the function of art centres in revitalization programs, paying attention to the instrumentalization of art and its role in gentrification processes (further information about the project can be found HERE). 
Joshua Schwebel was conducting his project in frames of an artistic residency in LAZNIA CCA between 2016 – 2018.
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dr Marta Jaskulska – is a sociologist of the city, academic lecturer, and urban activist. She gained her professional experience working in both local government and non-governmental organizations and private companies. She deals with the issues of public participation, primarily in spatial planning and revitalization – she designs and conducts social consultation processes and their evaluation. She is the author of several publications in the field of city sociology and public participation.
 
PhD  RafaÅ‚ Jakubowicz, Associate Professor UAP – graduate of the Faculty of Art Education and the Faculty of Painting, Graphics and Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan, and the Faculty of Modern Languages at the University of Adam Mickiewicz. Employed as an associate professor at the University of Arts in Poznan, where he teaches Art in Social Space at the Department of Education. In 2016-2018, together with Katarzyna Czarnota and Zofia MaÅ‚kowicz from the Institute of Sociology, UAM, in cooperation with the UAM Workshop of Boundary Questions (Pracownia BadaÅ„ Granicznych), ran an interdisciplinary seminary / workshop, titled ‘Art as a tool for social criticism. The role of the artist in the process of gentrification.’ The project was implemented thanks to a grant from IS UAM (academic year 2016/2017) and financed as a research project from the funds of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education in 2017/2018. Jakubowicz is the author of the article titled “On the practice of artwashing, culture and art as a tool for penalizing poverty and gentrification (“New Criticism”, 2018 – polish philosophy periodical).
 
Joshua Schwebel – is a Canadian conceptual artist currently based in Berlin. Through artistic interventions that implicate the administrative, political, or financial conditions of art, his work decenters institutional authority and makes visible power structures and hierarchies residing in the art system.