Since 2018 we have been working with archivists, students, community members, artists, researchers and web developers and PDXScholar to establish the Art and Social Practice Archive at the Portland State University Library Special Collections. The digital component of this archive is now launched for public access and access to researchers globally! The Art and Social Practice Archive was founded and organized by Shoshana Gugenheim Kedem, Roshani Thakore, Lo Moran and Harrell Fletcher, with the help of Cristine Paschild, the Head of Special Collections & University Archives, and Marti Clemmons, Archives Technician, in honor of the PSU Art and Social Practice MFA program’s 10 year anniversary. The Archive is now organized by Lo Moran, who worked with Karen Bjork, Nancy Kerr and Marti Clemmons closely over this last remote year to build the digital archive with the assistance from Eniko Banyasz, Bri Graw, Rebecca Copper, Emily Pappas, BB Anderson, Jake Barber and more. This archive process has been a collaborative effort of relationship building between the library, the Art and Social Practice program and students in the PSU School of Art and Design; everyone who has submitted materials or worked on the Archive has contributed to how it is being shaped.
This is the first public archive of ephemera related to art and social practice, “an artistic approach that emphasizes collaboration, shared authorship, public participation, site-specificity, and interdisciplinarity, is often presented in non-art locations, and has no media or formal boundaries” (Harrell Fletcher). PSU’s Art and Social Practice MFA is a 3-year, flexible residency program that combines individual research, group work, and experiential learning with critical and professional practice, progressive pedagogy, collaborative social engagement, and transdisciplinary exploration.
The material that the Art and Social Practice Archive holds includes ephemera and documentation from past and ongoing projects. We accept physical and digital material including posters, publications, flyers, zines and other project ephemera. The digital archive houses materials scanned from the physical archive, digital versions of publications and ephemera, digital images, videos, audio, and projects that exist online. The original accession of the archive focused on work related to artists who have graduated or who are a part of the PSU Art and Social Practice MFA and is slowly expanding. We hope to grow an archive that tells stories of socially engaged artwork from all over the world, while also organizing programming, projects or even an artist residency connected to the archive. We are excited to support public, artistic and academic research that will now be able to be accessed from anywhere online.