Social Art Library

Interior of the Johnson Library at Stony Island Arts Bank, Chicago, by Theaster Gates and Rebuild Foundation.

Published: 12 October 2020

Axis is delighted to formally announce the launch of Social Art Library, in Beta format! Check it out here! (link: 

For those who’ve not heard about it yet, Social Art Library is a collectively-built archive and resource for and about social art practice. It’s absolutely free to use and represents one of the outcomes of the Social Works? / ‘Models of Validation’ project that we recently undertook with Manchester Metropolitan University, in recognition that increasing numbers of our members are making work in social settings. 

Projects, videos, images, articles, reports and more – we’re using the term library in its broadest sense – and we want to make social practice and its learnings accessible to as many people as possible! We know that socially engaged work often suffers from a lack of visibility so our goal is to create a centralised hub for all things social practice, placing control of its histories and narratives in the hands of those who know it best – artists and the people they work with!

Hastened by the Covid-19 lockdown and support from the Art Fund, we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to complete the first phase of building the archive—including adding the first 100 items to our collection! However, we are still on the look-out for more projects, articles, films, podcasts etc, so if you are a social art practitioner,  please do get in touch and share your work via our online form: (

To find out more about Social Art Library, check out our FAQs (link:


Lucy Wright (Social Producer and Head Librarian!)


Examples of recent work submitted to the library!

We invited members of the Social Works? steering group to share their work in the Social Art Library Beta. Here are a few examples of our recent additions!


Ailie Rutherford 

Pbog Screen Printing 3

Artist, Ailie Rutherford shared ‘The People’s Bank of Govanhill’, a long-term collaborative project that envisages how feminist economic theory might be put into practice in our communities. See the project in the Social Art Library here >


The Open Eye Gallery 


The Open Eye Gallery shared Culture Shifts, a report on an 18 month socially engaged photography residency programme that took place across Liverpool beginning in 2018. You can read the full report on Social Art Library here >


William Titley 


Artist and videomaker, William Titley, shared [birdsong], a film that records the artist’s long term and intimate engagement with people, place and the environment. Watch it in the Social Art Library here >


Share your work with the Social Art Library here >

Author: Axisweb

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