Pier Luigi Sacco

Aesthetics of impact. Artistic practice and transformational social change

- ENROLLMENT CLOSED - Pier Luigi Sacco is an economist who studies the social and economic impact of art. What makes Sacco’s interrogations important to the TAAS community is that his interest explores a much broader range of cultural impacts from the social to medical to psychological.

He importantly asks,” Should artistic practice have an ‘impact’ – that is, beyond the consensus, it is able to command within the art system? This question has a special importance for all such practices that cut through the traditional borders of studio art to directly involve specific individuals and communities, especially when such individual or collective subjects suffer from any form of marginalization and deprivation. There is a growing awareness among artists, especially those from the younger generations, that no artistic practice can really be aesthetically accomplished if it does not make sense from the point of view of all those involved. This implies that artists have to face new responsibilities whenever they invite anyone to be part of their practice. In turn, such an assessment cannot be simply carried out by means of anecdotal or cherrypicked evidence but should be carefully distilled, receiving some form of external, meaningful social validation.”

This course explores how this work can be practically done, by discussing the shift in cultural production regimes that has caused impact to become such a central issue in cultural expression. Those attending will explore the perspectives offered by contemporary behavioral sciences as a source of both inspiration and critique, building on this material to conduct a collective inquiry into the possible ways in which art practices can lead to real transformational social change, how to define it, and how to negotiate such process with all the involved parties in ways that reflect a shared notion of social justice.

This goal will be pursued through collective discussions on the practice of the participants, on other artistic practices of special interest, and on texts and case studies. The whole articulation of the collective discussion will emerge from the group negotiation as an act of critical co-creation. The final output of the course will be a collection of individual statements from all course participants that will offer personal commentaries about the collective inquiry and its concrete outcomes – its impacts. The collection will be prepared before the final meeting of the course where all statements will be presented and collectively discussed, and the group of participants will decide together what to make of it – how to make it impactful in ways that are of interest to the group.

Mar 1st - Apr 12th

12 - 2:30 pm EST



Pier Luigi Sacco, Ph.D., is Senior Advisor to the OECD Center for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions, and Cities, Associate Researcher at CNR-ISPC Naples, and Professor of Economic Policy at the University of Chieti-Pescara. He is also a Senior Researcher at the Harvard metaLAB and at the Bruno Kessler Foundation in Trento. He has been Visiting Professor and Visiting Scholar at Harvard University and Faculty Associate at the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. He has also been Special Adviser of the EU Commissioner to Education, Culture, Youth, and Sport. He regularly gives courses and invited lectures in major universities worldwide, and has published about 220 papers in international peer-reviewed journals and edited books with major international publishers. He works and consults internationally in cultural planning, community-based projects, and culture-led local and national development strategies, and is often invited as the keynote speaker for major cultural policy conferences worldwide.

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