Intra-vulnerabilities: An Artistic Strategy for Co-creating Culture and Policy with Communities, Funders and Artists

PhD Thesis

Defrin, C. (2021). Intra-vulnerabilities: An Artistic Strategy for Co-creating Culture and Policy with Communities, Funders and Artists. PhD Thesis London South Bank University School of Arts and Creative Industries
AuthorsDefrin, C.
TypePhD Thesis

Funding arts and cultural activity for socially and economically vulnerable communities in
the UK carries a deeply embedded practice of culture as compensation. With a tendency to
measure the success of these activities through models of impact constructed by funders, such
cultural programmes can omit community knowledge and subsequently further their
This thesis investigates whether and how funders, artists, and communities can disrupt these
one-sided instrumental approaches, by working together towards co-creating culture and
policy. It does so specifically through artistic practice as research (PaR)- interrogating a
participatory, transdisciplinary installation practice as a productive site for embodying new
relationships between those giving and those receiving. As funders, artists and communities
performatively shift between expertise and learning, the thesis proposes that the
interdependence of their respective sets of knowledge enacts a more equitable policy process
for cultural programming in service of a spectrum of socio-economic, creative and aesthetic
Underpinned by Karen Barad’s ‘intra-active agential realism,’ the thesis develops a concept
of ‘intra-vulnerabilities’, whereby vulnerability is a positive term, extending beyond its usual
placement within marginalised communities to include a range of differentiated,
circumstantial vulnerabilities amongst funders and artists. As all three parties participate in
five iterative PaR projects, vulnerabilities manifest in personal reflection, listening, dialogue,
acts of art-making and recognition of a ‘mutual entailment’ in social inequities. Integrating
Rosalyn Diprose’s reframing of generosity as a multi-directional landscape of giving, the
concept of intra-vulnerabilities (as generated specifically within artistic practice) manifests a
valuable interdependence between nuanced and changing vulnerabilities across the provision
spectrum that can not only inform but enact policy.
Developed in collaboration with Hammersmith United Charities, a 400 year-old housing and
community grants giving organisation, the PaR projects ultimately inform and produce an
artistic strategy for co-creating culture and policy.
An online portfolio of the practice manifests in tandem with the writing, supporting the
thesis’ contribution to new knowledge in asserting artistic practice as a key component for
artistic policy: . This online portfolio is
additionally submitted on a DVD to accompany the written thesis.

PublisherLondon South Bank University
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
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Publication dates
Print10 Mar 2021
Publication process dates
Deposited13 Oct 2021
Funder/ClientHammersmith United Charities
Additional information

This research programme was carried out in collaboration with Hammersmith United Charities

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Carolyn Defrin Final Thesis June 3 2021.pdf
License: CC BY 4.0
File access level: Open

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