Models of Validation

Published: 05 February 2018

The first Advisory Group meeting raised a lot of challenges and opportunities  facing the Models of Validation project. A detailed report outlining questions and issues raised during the meeting, membership of the group and actions for the project, is included below this post.

During the meeting the group began to dissect the term 'validation', and discuss what it means within the context of socially engaged artistic practice. Given the various issues with the term detailed in the report, I thought that it is useful to consider the OED dictionary definitions of ‘validation’, which are as follows:

the action of checking or proving the validity or accuracy of something’

‘recognition or affirmation that a person or their feelings or opinions are valid or worthwhile’

The disparity between the two is significant. The first speaks to accuracy and empirical measurement, while the second is about feelings and nice, unquantifiable stuff like being made to feel ‘worthwhile’. The project seeks to explore the second definition - personal affirmation and support in the field of socially engaged practice.

The group came up with many different ideas of what signifies validation in the context of socially engaged artistic practice - support, funding, access, recognition, appreciation by peers, participants and other artists were all mentioned. Patrick Fox from Heart of Glass also said that validation can often just be as simple as someone listening.

Someone listening can mean lots of of things, but at its very core it is the creation of a relationship between people that would not have otherwise existed without one side being brave enough to communicate, and the other side willing to listen. Fostering both sides of this relationship will be a key aspect of this project: focusing on platforming socially engaged artists so they are given an equal and louder voice, and lobbying their cause with those whom they want to be heard and recognised by.

How we can develop this support will be a key focus for the weeks to come, when I will be asking conducting interviews with all the stakeholders involved in socially engaged practice in order to get a clearer idea of how this idea of validation plays out in ‘real-life’ - who is speaking and who is listening? Who has a louder voice than others? Who needs to be given a voice? Who needs to find their voice? Who needs to relinquish theirs?

Any comments please add below, or email [email protected] :)



Rebecca Senior Rebecca Senior

Research and Development Coordinator

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