Hosted by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), the 2018 Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) Symposium, Artists/Designers/Citizens, takes place November 7–9, 2018, in Chicago, on the Art Institute of Chicago’s school/museum campus. Artists/Designers/Citizens positions the practice and study of art and design as central to the meaning, acts, and affinities known as citizenship.
Around the world, citizens have come together to correct historical and ongoing inequities through protesting, organizing, volunteering, standing for election, and standing up for one another with, as George Washington described it in his presidential farewell address, “jealous anxiety” for self-governance. In his own farewell address, Barack Obama built upon this notion, saying, “It falls on each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy…. Because for all our differences, we all share the same proud title: Citizen.” As the premier consortium of art and design educators in North America, AICAD’s member schools are well-positioned to reveal the diverse ways that creative practices can offer ways of seeing, intervening, and belonging as a citizen.
Artists/Designers/Citizens seeks to define values, share strategies, and set goals for being a citizen artist, a role that SAIC President Elissa Tenny says, “is not about possessing a particular nationality. Rather, being a citizen artist is about the interconnectedness of people and an acknowledgment that the work of the studio and classroom is not discrete from the world at large. Citizen artists recognize that their contributions to art, design, and scholarship can reflect society back to itself, withstand injustice and oppression, innovate new ways of being, and show humanity a path forward.”
The 2018 AICAD Symposium will see presentations from AICAD schools’ constituencies that reflect and develop the themes of Artists/Designers/Citizens. A special emphasis is placed on exploring how a range of practices—from the most solo, studio-based practices to the most community-based collaborations—contribute to notions of citizenship. Programming will include performances, field trips, interventions, and other experiences.
Artists/Designers/Citizens also serves as the North American component of Dimensions of Citizenship, an exhibition commissioned by SAIC and the University of Chicago for the US Pavilion at the Biennale Architettura 2018 in Venice.