The Social Practice Lab (SPL) brings together scholars, artists, and activists through signature projects and public interventi ons. Directed by Pedro Lasch (Associate Research Professor of Art, Art History & Visual Studies), the Social Practice Lab is funded by the Provost and housed at the Franklin Humanities Institute.
SPL’s operations are centered on the creation of multi-year signature projects and public interventions, as well as smaller, student-led productions happening on a single year or single semester basis. SPL projects bring together guest collaborators, faculty, and students through research and production teams, curricular tracks, and ongoing opportunities that extend beyond the social and geographic boundaries of the university (age, income, neighborhood, region, country). For the same reason, most of our projects strategically and playfully link internal university units with regional, national, and international organizations. SPL programming—guest visits, talks, and discussions—tend to be directed toward specific projects, focused on the workshop and production model. The lab thus complements the abundant discursive and theoretical offerings that already exist on campus with material processes that highlight the importance of practice, doing, and making.
SPL projects are chosen and developed for their ability to ask challenging questions, create interdisciplinary collaborations with a concrete outcome or aesthetic experience, and foster exchanges across units and academic levels that may begin, develop, or end outside the classroom. As deskilling sets rooted in post-industrial modes of arts instruction and publishing stands questioned as the only legitimate output in the humanities, SPL wishes to promote a radical reskilling for scholars, artists, makers, and public intellectuals that find their home in the university. Rather than think of the humanities as being in crisis, SPL sees this time as a critical period for their reinvention, a process that may be inseparable from the activist impulse behind creating a more intelligent, creative, and just society.