Reflections on Art, the Humanities and Public Engagement
This article is a scholarly reflection on a recent collaborative art project entitled Enchanted Community, which took place in Coventry and Leamington, 1 May - 31 July 2017. The project sought to communicate art historical scholarship to the wider community through innovative methods: using art and craft activities combined with education, inter-disciplinary framing and collaborative working. Experiences of communicating art historical research and engaging the public with regard to the themes of art and enchantment were both rewarding and surprising. The article summarises the key aspects of the project: its events, outcomes, challenges and successes including outputs and feedback statements from attendees. The article is framed by a number of scholarly perspectives. I survey historical ideas of art and enchantment which inspired the project. I also consider academic debates concerning outreach, public engagement, community art activities and impact through the arts and humanities. The project provided the opportunity to reflect on these areas of historical scholarship alongside methodological issues while developing pathways and contacts for further activities.
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