A squish in the art world

I am delighted to be featured in Reading Sociology: Canadian Perspectives. (Oxford University Press, 2017). Edited by Lorne Tepperman, Patrizia Albanese and Emily Alexander, the collection drops readers into the world of sociological research in Canada through 65 heavy-hitting studies.

My chapter, "Starting with a squish: An institutional ethnography of Canada’s art world," reports on my ethnographic research in Canada's art world. I open the chapter with an Ontario-based visual artist saying:

It’s a serious issue in the visual art world how language – or writing – has now been squished on to it. It’s touchy. I’m not the only person who feels that about writing. I have many visual artists-friends who are the same. There is a bitterness about the art world, and a lot of it comes from the writing. There is a serious resentment and bitterness. [Visual artists] are forced to have to justify themselves in writing.

From there, and starting with a squish, I use the chapter to elaborate on my discovery process, while introducing readers to institutional ethnography, to artists' everyday/night work and to the social and institutional relations in the art world. As I put it in the chapter:

IE gave me a theorized way of opening up the art world – starting with particular experiences, following the lead of my participants as they turned my attention to their work in public galleries, and tracing particular institutional connections. Artists’ experiences directed my discovery process. This chapter has been an effort to trace my own research process while also introducing the work processes of visual artists and art professionals. This chapter has been an analytical effort to explicate Canada’s art world.

The image above, "Manifest" (2013) was created by Sharon Katz, one of the incredible visual artsits I interviewed as a part of my research. It is an installation still of a video projection on handmade paper. Find out more about her work here.

Please also find out more about Reading Sociology here. Oh, and, I am particularly thrilled to have my work published alongside others I admire (ahem, Jacquieline Kennelly, Valerie Stam, Lynette Schick, Bruce Curtis, Xiaobei Chen, Andrea Doucet, Pat Armstrong, Meg Luxton)!