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Research project aims to find out if art can help people get along

Date 2.03.2020

Researchers at the University of Northampton have won an EU grant to investigate how art, design and architecture can work to improve how people interact with each other in public spaces.

Along with 26 partners from nine European countries, UK researchers, artists, architects and designers will be aiming to see how artwork and cultural events in cities, towns and urban sites help us to empathise with other people.

SPACEX (Spatial Practices in Art and ArChitecture for Empathetic EXchange) enables academics and art organisations to work with each other through a European exchange programme. Academics will be able to work in a number of arts organisations, biennials, urban agencies, a film festival and a creative media agency.

SPACEX Project Manager, Dr Andrew Hewitt, who is a Fine Art Associate Professor at UON, said: “This is the first Europe-wide study to examine how art practices, cultural institutions and academic researchers are at the forefront of exploring ideas of how we can live more harmoniously together in urban settings.

“The four-year mobility scheme enables over 50 researchers to travel to partner institutions to develop new research, share ideas and practices and ultimately publish their work.

“As lead organisation, the University will be hosting many researchers here in Northampton and we hope students and colleagues will engage with our visitors and benefit from this research project.”

Researchers at UON who are involved in the project include Federico Farini, Hala Georges, Paul Jackson, Alexis Taylor and James Smith. Included in the network in this region are the arts organisations NN Contemporary, Threshold Studios and Coventry Biennial.

Pictured is the Freee-Carracci-Institute with the Brexit Research Group, Freee Kiosk #2 (open) with the Why?Map, Market Square, Northampton, in collaboration with NN Contemporary. Photographs taken in November 2016 by Joe Brown.