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65 5th Ave, Room 411
New York, NY, 10003
United States

Funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Graduate Institute for Design, Ethnography & Social Thought at the New School incubates advanced transdisciplinary research and practice at the intersection of social theory and design and fosters dialogue on related themes across the university.

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Barbara Adams

Barbara Adams is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at The New School for Social Research developing a project on social engagement and artistic research with a particular focus on the potential for these practices to produce knowledge and initiate action.


BARBARA ADAMS is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at The New School for Social Research. Before coming to the New School, she received her M.A. in Social Sciences from the University of Amsterdam. Her current project explores social engagement and artistic research in the visual arts and is concerned with the potential for these practices to produce knowledge and initiate action. 

How do artists catalyze and articulate the sociological imagination in their work to address the precarious conditions in which we live? What is the capacity of the artist to nurture participation and public discourse through the creation of a world of things and places? Socially Engaged: Art and Research in the Expanded Field considers the performative qualities of practice and research that comingle methods derived from art, design, and social science. Because artists are not confined by particular fields of activity, the research asks if artists might offer insight into the ways in which methods and practices that span fields might coalesce, bringing different perspectives to bear on pressing problems. Attentive to the ways in which contemporary artists design contexts for human encounters, Barbara's project looks at the ways in which art can redirect designerly and social scientific ways of thinking and doing along unexpected trajectories that yield productive results.