The art of interruption: concepts of art as a cooperative citizen practice driving cultural innovation and social change

Thuur Caris

Research output: Ph.D. ThesisPhD Research internal, graduation external


The research studies informal learning in cooperative art practices. It describes the way artists and artistically skilled amateurs get together to produce culture and in that way give shape and meaning to their own public lives. In many ways the "cooperative art practices" of these "communities of creative citizens" interrupt the habits of seeing, thinking and doing in our formal society that is based on economic functionalism, technologic reasoning and mediazation of public relations. These interruptions challenge further questioning of these habits developing a repertoire of alternative action that is based on subjective relations between people, things and the world. But above all these interruptions offer an opportunity for the participants to manifest themselves publicly, discuss their subjective human being and ultimately learn from that.
First the dissertation explores literature on the power of imagination and a progressive force is contributed to art and the role of esthetics, symbolism and drama in our contemporary western society.
Next it treats art as a social practice that creates opportunities for human growth and development. After an explanation of the methodological matters of the research the study continues with a report of three cases of learning and culture producing communities that are initiated and guided by artists. The social settings of these cases are analyzed according to their social features and subsequently investigated through the lens of pedagogical theory. The dissertation concludes with recommendations for artists, art institutions and policy makers who strive to promote the developmental quality of art.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Zeelen, Jacques, Supervisor, External person
  • Boog, Bernardus, Supervisor, External person
Print ISBNs978-90-367-9156-4
Electronic ISBNs978-90-367-9157-1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • arts
  • society
  • learning environment
  • social change
  • innovation
  • creative class


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