Art as a Means to Produce Social Benefits and Social Innovations

  • Katarzyna Niziołek
Part of the Sociology of the Arts book series (SOA)


This chapter is focused on the notion of social art introduced as a theoretical model and further developed on the basis of a qualitative research conveyed in Poland between 2010 and 2012 (with the main focus on in-depth interviews with animators, participants, and observers of socioartistic practices). Social art—previously explored both by artists, like Joseph Beuys, and by sociologists, like Pierre Bourdieu—here is defined as a combination of five interrelated elements: the public aim or result of an activity; the broad addressees of the activity; the inclusive way the addressees are engaged in the activity—as creators or recipients of art; the social location of the activity—outside both the art world and public cultural institutions; and the civic qualities of the activity.


Artistic field Social art Civic activity Social benefits Social innovations 


Interviews Cited in the Chapter

  1. IA11: Male, 31 years old, higher education, street artist, active also as a cultural animator, curator, and editor, conveys street art workshops, cofounder of a nongovernmental organization (NGO) that operates in this field (interviewed in 2011).Google Scholar
  2. IA17: Male, 35 years old, secondary education, graphic designer, cofounder of an NGO that operates in the field of street art, initiator of community actions, urban activist (interviewed in 2011).Google Scholar
  3. IA18: Male, 33 years old, higher education (sociologist), freelancer, author of collaborative murals, stencils, and billboards, as well as net-art and film projects, occasionally engaged in community and participatory actions (interviewed in 2011).Google Scholar
  4. IA33: Female, 40 years old, higher education in arts, painter, initiator of socioartistic activities in the fields of street art and community art, educator, founder, and leader of an artists’ collective (interviewed in 2011).Google Scholar
  5. KK1: Male, 30 years old, higher education, dancer, choreographer, cofounder of a dance school and of an NGO that promotes street culture (interviewed in 2010).Google Scholar
  6. KKl3: Male, 44 years old, secondary education, cultural organizer, documents and promotes art in the public space, leader of an NGO that operates in this field (interviewed in 2010).Google Scholar
  7. KN10: Male, 32 years old, higher education (philosophy), street worker, works in a poor neighborhood of a big city (interviewed in 2010).Google Scholar
  8. KN13: Male, 43 years old, higher education in arts, sculptor, initiator of community projects in a big city, instructor of an art therapy group (interviewed in 2010).Google Scholar
  9. KN5: Male, 26 years old, higher education (sociologist), cultural organizer, independent musician (interviewed in 2011).Google Scholar
  10. KN8: Male, 28 years old, higher education in arts, photographer, implements photographic projects in various minority contexts (interviewed in 2011).Google Scholar
  11. PS2: Female, 32 years old, higher education in arts, visual artist, also creates performative actions in the public space and participatory Internet projects (interviewed in 2011).Google Scholar
  12. PS20: Female, 15 years old, pupil, lives in the countryside, participator in a community photographic project (interviewed in 2011).Google Scholar
  13. PS21: Female, 34 years old, higher education in arts, cultural animator, leader of a cultural NGO in a big city, implements projects oriented toward the aesthetics of public spaces in the countryside (interviewed in 2012).Google Scholar
  14. PS22: Male, 40 years old, technical secondary education, graffiti writer, ecologist, social activist (interviewed in 2011).Google Scholar
  15. PS27: Twin sisters, 16 years old, pupils, live in the countryside, participants in creativity workshops and aesthetic interventions in a village space (interviewed in 2012).Google Scholar
  16. PS39: Married couple, sołtys (43 years old, vocational education) and his wife (36 years old, secondary education), observers of a socioartistic project implemented in their village (interviewed in 2012).Google Scholar
  17. PS7: Male, 33 years old, higher education in arts, artist, curator, lecturer in an arts school, creator of net-art projects and interventions in the public space (interviewed in 2011).Google Scholar

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katarzyna Niziołek
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BiałystokBiałystokPoland

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