Parsons Paris

Parsons Paris.

Social Practice


This minor provides a pathway for undergraduate students to pursue socially engaged projects that initiate exchange, envision new social relations and provoke individual/collective actions. This is an invitation to blur the lines between object making, performance, political activism, community organizing, guerrilla architecture, environmentalism and investigative journalism. This approach to art making fosters collaborations between artists and broader publics. Drawing on the strengths of The New School's history of engagement with social justice, the Social Practice minor taps into our faculty's diverse fieldwork, exposing students to multidisciplinary methodologies for their own research. A progression of lab and studio seminars provides models for developing media strategies and forms of social cooperation. This minor will prepare students to conceptualize participatory projects, articulate narratives, position themselves ethically, and cultivate networks that support poetic and political visions.

Examples of social practice include Theaster Gates’ Dorchester Projects (winner of the New School's inaugural Vera List Center Prize),  Mel Chin’s Fundred Dollar Project, Estudio Teddy Cruz’s Casa Familiar: Living Rooms at the Border, and Jeanne van Heeswijk’s Freehouse.

Note: Course availability may vary from semester to semester. Some courses may be in development and offered at a later time. Students seeking to pursue alternative coursework to fulfill the minor should consult with their advisors.


A student who has completed this minor should be able to demonstrate:

  • an understanding of basic fine arts knowledge, research principles, concepts, media and formats to a social practice project.

  • a competent working knowledge of the history, theory and practice of socially engaged works of art in a global arena.

  • a strong sense about how to carry forth a project including a range of research methodologies and fieldwork experience, moving a project from research through development and testing to completion and assessment.

  • competency in and direct experience with collaborating with a variety of “publics” through exchange based practices.

  • strength in their ability to articulate possible intersections between contemporary art and design discourses, social justice movements and radical pedagogical practices and community-based practice.


    Subject Area Course Options Requirements

    Introduction to Main Concepts, History, and Theory

    3 credits
    Studio Practice

    0–3 credits

    Students who have already completed one of these courses, or will do so for their major, should instead select another course in the subject area "Social Justice Issues and Community-Based Practice" (below).

    Research Methodologies for Fieldwork 3 credits

    Research Skills and Direct Fieldwork Experience

    3 credits
    Social Justice Issues and Community-Based Practice

    6–9 credits


    Minors are available to undergraduate students across The New School except those students at Lang and the Bachelors Program for Adults and Transfer Students who are completing a self-designed BA or BS in Liberal Arts, who are not permitted to declare minors. For students at Lang or the Bachelors Program for Adults and Transfer Students interested in pursuing a deeper study of this subject area, opportunities are available through the self-designed major in Liberal Arts. To explore this, contact an academic advisor or read more information about self-designed options for Lang or the Bachelors Program for Adults and Transfer Students.
    For questions regarding this minor’s curriculum, including requests for course substitutions, please contact Lydia Matthews, Professor of Visual Culture, at