I am in the process of co-organizing a research-creation project and curating an exhibition tentatively called "Art/Evidence/Advocacy."  Our first workshop is scheduled for August 2015, our second for 2016, and the exhibition for 2017. For more information on the project please contact me directly.

"Art/Evidence/Advocacy" was initiated by Steven Hoffman, the director of Global Strategy Lab at University of Ottawa, with Sean Caulfield and myself in the Department of Art and Design at the University of Alberta. In collaboration with international artists and researchers in contemporary art and health policy, we aim to have an evidence-based exhibition on vaccination, contributing to making a better global-decision making on vaccine, to be displayed at a global summit meeting such as the UN headquarter in New York or Geneva.

Objectives for Workshop

  • Identify and examine challenging issues surrounding global vaccination from scientific, artistic, and social perspectives

  • Foster mutual understanding and interdisciplinary dialogue from across the arts, academia, and activism

  • Consider opportunities for informing better global decisions about vaccines by combining the tools of art, research, and advocacy, especially vis-a-vis global summits of political leaders

  • Explore ideas about knowledge creation and impact evaluation from different perspectives, especially in the context of learning about how art-research-advocacy can improve global decisions about vaccines

  • Problematize and deconstruct existing perceptions of the role that art, research, and advocacy can and should play in informing and challenging global governance related to vaccines

Questions for presentation, statement, and discussion:

  • Ethical, Legal, Social, and Cultural Dimensions of Public Health Policy

    1. What are some of the major public policy issues that surround the use of vaccines?

    2. What are some broader ethical and philosophical questions that arise in relation to public policy and vaccines?

    3. Are there specific themes from vaccination or biomedical research that you are interested in exploring in the context of this project?

  • Art, Politics and Global Social Change

    1. What are key issues around vaccination that might be best articulated by art?

    2. Can you think of examples in which art has impacted public policy? If so, what creative strategies or methods were employed to enable this?

    3. Can you think of examples in which art has played an important role in stimulating public discourse around an issue, but simultaneously has not had an impact on public policy in the short or medium term?

  • Knowledge Creation, Impact and Evaluation

    1. How important is formative and impact evaluation in assessing the importance of artistic and creative practice?

    2. If uncomfortable with empirical methods, what evaluation methods do you consider effective in assessing artistic projects with social/political mandates?  

    3. What is the difference between public policy and “the public”? Does this distinction matter (specifically in the context of socially engaged/research-based contemporary forms such as “art as social practice” and “new genre public art”)?