[-empyre-] week 4: social practice and institutions

kyle mckinley bicirider at gmail.com
Tue May 24 17:08:13 AEST 2016

hello everyone,

Welcome to the fourth and final week of our May discussion of social
practice. This week’s guests on EMPYRE have been selected to help us think
about the particularly challenging intersections that emerge between
artists, communities, and institutions as Social Practice is increasingly
crystalized as a genre and as a funding model. Those guests are Michaela
Leslie-Rule and Corrina Mehiel.

I've generally thought that this might serve as an opportunity to reflect
on the challenges that (funding) institutions and socially practiced
artworks present to one another, and, I suppose, the opportunities...?...
Basically I'm thinking about how Dont Rhine’s comments in week 1 present a
critique of the ways in which institutions expropriate value from the
participants of socially practiced art ("participation in its value form").
To the extent that such institutions are themselves implicated in processes
of displacement and gentrification, and to the extent to which such
institutions are de facto put to service as an extension of the State, such
critiques should serious pause all of us who imagine art as a force for
social transformation. As artists and curators, what do we do with that
going forward? Where you encounter meaningful strategies for working
against these tendencies? Are there other pressing issues that come up in
the interchanges between artists of social practice and institutions of
various sorts?

Corrina Mehiel (US) is an artist / art professor, with a background in
community arts education.  An adjunct professor at the Art Academy of
Cincinnati, Mehiel teaches social practice and studio inquiry in the BFA
and MAAE programs.  She holds a BA from The Pennsylvania State University
and an MFA from the University of Cincinnati.   With roots in Seattle,
Washington and Central Pennsylvania, Mehiel identifies as an American more
than from a particular city or state.  She spent the greater part of the
last decade abroad, living in India, Australia and Dubai.  Currently a
studio assistant for the social practice pioneer Mel Chin, Mehiel is a
collaborator for his Fundred Dollar Bill Project which aims to educate
children and families to make a lead safe environment for all.  In addition
to teaching, maintaining a studio practice and collaborating on socially
engaged projects, Mehiel is a graduate student in the Public Policy program
at Portland State University, with research on policy shaping through
artistic and civic engagement.

Michaela Leslie-Rule (US), MPA, MPH is an artist and social scientist. As
the owner of Fact Memory Testimony <http://factmemorytestimony.com>, she
has been fortunate to collaborate with ITVS’ Women & Girls Lead Global,
Memphis is Music Initiative, Community Foundation for Monterey County, Nike
and Firelight Foundations’ Grassroots Girls Initiative. Embedded in
Leslie-Rule’s approach to advocacy, communication and strategy, is a
commitment to elevating community voices through the use of storytelling.
She is particularly interested in participatory methods for measuring and
documenting social and organizational change, and has designed and
implemented participatory evaluation, strategic planning and documentation
projects on four continents. Leslie-Rule also uses a storytelling approach
to design and produce multimedia advocacy campaigns. As the producer of
Global Fund for Women’s IGNITE: Women Fueling Science and Technology global
campaign and online storytelling project, she curated and oversaw the
creation of five online galleries, designed and implemented a five-city
international girls’ hackathon and oversaw a coordinated advocacy effort
between the Fund and UN Women demanding equal access to and control of
technology for women and girls worldwide.

Leslie-Rule holds Masters of Public Health and Public Administration from
the University of Washington with a focus on advocacy and multimedia
storytelling in global health. She also earned a BFA from New York
University’s Tisch School of the Arts. You can learn more about
Leslie-Rule’s approach and see samples of her work at

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