Research project: Art for Social Change: Exploring Justice through New Media Documentary.
This interdisciplinary, international arts research collaboration will explore the use of new media technologies and documentary strategies to document and actively participate in the practice of restorative justice in an effort to test the potential for activist art practice to have a direct role in changing social conditions. This research will be translated into the design of a new form of new media documentary work that both represents and embodies the practice of restorative justice -- engaging the public in a qualitative analysis of the structural inequalities underlying current systems of retributive justice and, modeling strategies to achieve a more productive, democratic and humane civil society. Research will further continue with the evaluation of the New Media Documentary’s effects on the public through qualitative methods.
The general goal of the proposed research collaboration is to explore how New Media Documentary Art practice might be used to facilitate concrete solutions to social problems. By using the approaches and tools of New Media Documentary to document, analyze and present Restorative Justice approaches used in specific criminal cases the team will attempt to engage the public in a consideration of the efficacy of Restorative Justice and to question the assumptions behind our reliance on Retributive Justice. We imagine, as we experiment with the strategies of participatory/new-media documentary, the methods and approaches of Restorative Justice will begin to inform and expand those of activist media art practice.
Specifically, our objective is to produce a work of new media art for public exhibition/distribution that will support and promote the social and institutional integration of Restorative Justice in Europe and the US. The already existing working relationships between European and American colleagues both in the field of Art Research and Restorative Justice may facilitate this process.
Project partners: (1) Leuven Institute of Criminology – KU Leuven, (2) STUK Art Center - Leuven, (3) Department of Film and Digital Media and Digital Arts and New Media MFA program - University of California, Santa Cruz (USCS).