Proposed by

Paul O’Neill


Various locations

About the project

Public Faculty uses strategies to rethink, redefine and re-enter public space through collective cultural action. The impetus behind Public Faculty is to learn from a place through a process of exchanging knowledge and cohabitation, and by listening to people describing their daily conditions in which they often feel trapped. It is a practice of determining how an existing conflict can be made productive by communication and by collective thinking about the situation and by making this process public. Each situation is different, but what they have in common is that they are local and specific embodiments of larger conflicts about who should be responsible and care for our common space, and whether forms of solidarity are imaginable.

Public Faculty is not so much about identifying answers, but for the participants to listen for “nuance” that can reveal the “emotional texture of a place”. People carry the specificities in their emotional tissue. Through this learning experience we have to work with the embodiment of general conflicts and over time build a collective agency. Over the past eight years, Public Faculty has taken place in 11 different locations. From City Park in Skopje to the main shopping street in Copenhagen, and from Hollywood Boulevard in LA to Stolipinovo, one of the largest Roma settlements in Bulgaria. Working with local civic associations, cultural institutions, activists, street vendors, youngsters, and residents – natives and immigrants – informal conversations have discussed questions such as: Who should care for public space? Who’s public budget would you cut? (about austerity measurements in Europe). What does it mean if your identity is recognized as mischievous? And what do we need to be protected from (on borders and migration)?

Public Faculty took place in the following locations: Skopje, Macedonia; Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Vranje, Serbia; London, England; Copenhagen, Denmark; Gent, Belgium; Zurich, Switzerland; Hollywood, Queens, Sunset Park, USA; Stolipinovo; Bulgaria; and Berlin, Germany.


About the artist

Jeanne van Heeswijk is an artist who facilitates the creation of dynamic and diversified public spaces in order to “radicalize the local”. She creates relational, dialogical and discursive processes, in which we can learn collectively how to engage with and act upon the world. Her large-scale community-embedded projects question art’s autonomy by combining performative actions, discussions and many other forms of organizing exchange to assist communities to control their own futures.