Public Art Symposium: New Ways of Thinking and Working

May 18, 2017 – May 20, 2017 all-day
York University and the Art Gallery of Ontario
$75 - $125
Department of Visual Arts & Art History, AMPD, York University

Public Art: New Ways of Thinking and Working offers a forum for active research and lively dialogue on contemporary approaches, policies and practices of commissioning and creating art for the public realm.

The symposium features two keynote lectures — one downtown and one on campus — and two full days of presentations taking place in the Accolade Wet Building at York University.

The talks and panel discussions are designed to spark conversations across a wide range of disciplines, from the perspective of both study and practice, with the goal of critically examining the current state of Canadian public art practice in the context of innovations happening internationally.

A group of people climb up and stand on an old fishing boat that is lodged in a salt marsh, and is inscribed with memories of lost things

“Graveyard of Lost Species” (2016), an installation by artists YoHa and Critical Art at Leigh-on-Sea, UK, is a “public territory of memory” – a temporary monument, created with a local wrecked fishing boat on a salt marsh, that acknowledges wildlife, marine creatures, people, livelihoods, fishing methods, landmarks, mythologies, and local dialects that once flourished in the Thames Estuary.

Questions to be considered include:

  • How is public art being made?
  • What is the role and agency of curation, audience and criticality in public art?
  • How can commissioning more accurately reflect contemporary visual arts practices?
  • What might public art and its processes look like in the future?


Steve Kurtz:  “When Aesthetics is Not Enough”
Thurs. May 18, 7:00pm at Jackman Hall, AGO
This lecture is presented in partnership with the Art Gallery of Ontario. Admission is free but an entry ticket is required.

Interventionist artist and educator Steven Kurtz is a founding member of Critical Art Ensemble, an internationally acclaimed collective of tactical media practitioners whose work in digital imaging, web design, wetware, film/video, photography, text art, book art, and performance explores the intersections between art, critical theory, technology and political activism.

Night-time image of a carousel and fairground attractions reflected in a body of water

“Silent Fairground”, an installation created in 2015 in Hagen, Germany by the art practice Sans façon

Cameron Cartiere: “Permanent Works in an Impermanent Time”
Fri. May 19, 4:30pm at York University’s Keele campus

Cameron Cartiere is a practitioner, writer and researcher specializing in public art, community engagement, urban renewal and environmental issues. She co-edits the journal Public Art Dialogue and is an associate professor in the Faculty of Culture + Community at Emily Carr University of Art & Design, Vancouver.

Read the news story about the symposium

Public Art: New Ways of Thinking and Working

For the full program and schedule, visit

General Pass: $125 +HST
Student/Artist/Underemployed: $75 +HST
Lunches and receptions are included in the registration fee.
Register online