Social Art Summit – call out

Calling artists working in social art, socially-engaged art, community arts, collaborative arts and social practice at all stages of your careers to come together and share work at the:

SOCIAL ART SUMMIT: An Artist-Led Review of Socially Engaged Arts Practice in the UK

1st & 2nd November 2018 Sheffield

Convened by Social Art Network

Over two-days artists from around the country will come together to share practice, showcase work and explore what it means to be making art through social engagement right now. The Summit will showcase the work of artists from around the UK and beyond testing the ground for a Social Art Biennale in 2020. Artists, activists, community groups, curators, students, academics, funders and sectors working in the arts and social realm are invited to join the conversation through a series of events at Site Gallery and other venues around the city.

Founded in 2016 by artists Eelyn Lee and R.M. Sánchez-Camus, Social Art Network [SAN] aims to build an international artist-led network; expand dialogue and develop agency in the field of art and social practice. Major partners include Site Gallery, Peckham Platform, a-n, University of Highlands & Islands and Middlesex University. Sheffield based artist Ian Nesbitt is guest co-convener.

Calls for expressions of interest in participation: We encourage interested parties to consider and respond to the question what does it means to be making art through social engagement right now?

Proposals can take the form of exhibitions, presentations, seminars, performances, participatory workshops, walks, new media or any other form we haven’t yet imagined! We are actively seeking new ways of sharing practice and process while encouraging discussion so please feel free to suggest new ways of doing this. We are interested in forms that reflect practice and are keen to represent diverse modes of engagement. Ten years of severe austerity measures together with the wider divisive political climate has triggered a sense of urgency for conversations around the impact on communities and the art being made with and within them. We are interested in questioning, what kind of society do we want to live in and what roles can artists play?

By issuing this open call we are seeking to reveal the practices and ideas that are out there at this moment in time. The artist-curators will select a range of contributors to reflect vital perspectives on race, class, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age and national status, including areas where each of these might intersect.

Proposals should include the following information:

  • Title, Description (250-350 words), Visuals (max. 4 references),
  • Biog (max. 50 words per presenter), contact info email / mobile / website
  • Type of participation (talk, visuals. dialogue, film, workshop, one to one, meals, etc)
  • Proposals should be sent via email to

Submissions deadline: Friday 31st August 2018

Social Art Network

In 2016 artist and filmmaker Eelyn Lee was selected by Artquest to convene a group of artists with socially engaged practices to form a Peer Forum at Peckham Platform. These sessions with twelve artists, triggered urgent conversations around the need to de-marginalise the practice, leading to the idea for the Social Art Summit.

In 2017 Eelyn and fellow peer forum artist R.M. Sánchez-Camus co-founded Social Art Network (SAN), a base from which to realize these ideas. Eelyn and Marcelo are working collaboratively to co-convene the Social Art Summit; build a network of artists with social art practices and develop the first ever Social Art Biennale. SAN aims to build agency for artists and communities making art through social engagement whilst developing new audiences for the work both nationally and internationally.


To date we have secured funding for logistical aspects of the Summit including venue hires and staffing. Further fundraising is currently ongoing. Social Art Network has been developed through the volunteer labour of artists interested in social practice.

How can I find out more?

If you have any questions about the Summit or SAN, please get in touch via email:

Travelling instructions, our local accommodation list and information about the Summit will be posted to our page:

Start Date

26th July 2018

Closing Date

31st August 2018