Art For? Framing the Conversation on Art and Social Change with Steven Hill


  • Patti Fraser Simon Fraser University
  • Flick Harrison Independent



Socially-Engaged Art, Community-Engaged Art, Theatre, Performance, AIDS Activism and Art


In my role as a researcher with Simon Fraser’s University’s Art for Social Change Research Project I was charged with the task of historicalizing the work of artists who have been recognized for their contribution to the field of socially engaged art. With video artist Flick Harrison we set out and conducted a series of intimate and personal conversations with artists, many of whom I shared a history of practice. Defining the practice as meaning to take the experience one has gained, experience from the doing of it, in order to actualize a condition or event that did not exist before.

The research outcome represented in this digital video piece is based on a recorded interview with director, actor, and creator Steven Hill. By disrupting the interview through visual inserts and pithy philosophical responses into the visual frame we are seeking to unpack the conventional research interview. This process in and of itself becomes an action site of research. This piece not only playfully unpacks the objectivity of the researcher but also offers a field of visual play that formally furthers Steven Hill’s theorizing on the idea of frames and what predetermines the frames we bring to the project of art ‘for’ social change. The underlying question that forms the spine of interview is based on Hannah Arendt’s (1954) theory of past and future as it relates to the education of the young.

What needs to be preserved in your practice or held a responsibility as it is re-imagined in the future?

Author Biographies

Patti Fraser, Simon Fraser University

Patti Fraser, ph.d., is a post doctoral fellow with Simon Fraser University's Art for Social Change Research Project and an awarded community-engaged artist. Her research interests use narrative inquiry and multimedia as mediums or expression of research and context within the field of socially engaged art.

Flick Harrison, Independent

Flick Harrison is an independent media artist and documentary filmmaker working with the Art for Social Change (ASC!) Research Project at Simon Fraser University.


Arendt, H. (1954). Between past and future. Eight exercises in political thought.

Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penquin Books Ltd.

Borgmann, A. (1992). Crossing the postmodern divide.

Chicago: Chicago University Press.

Fel, L. (1998). In Wind Clothes Dance on the Line. Jet Journal of Curriculum Theory.

, (1) 27-36

Finklepearle, T. (2013). What we made; conversations on art and social cooperation.

London, England: Duke University Press.

Gorner, P. (2007). Heidegger’s being and time: An introduction. Cambridge, UK:

Cambridge University Press.

Pinar, W. F. (2009). The worldliness of a cosmopolitan education.

New York, NY: Routledge.




How to Cite

Fraser, P., & Harrison, F. (2016). Art For? Framing the Conversation on Art and Social Change with Steven Hill. Art/Research/International:/A/Transdisciplinary/Journal, 1(1), 24–28.