The idea for the Citizen Artist site emerged from a consideration of the activities of Citizen Journalists and contemporary issues in aesthetics and politics.The project began in the autumn of 2009 and is an online platform for art projects/publications that interrogate the notion of citizenship and its aesthetic dimensions. The projects trouble the assumption of status citizenship and investigate how alternative forms of membership can be explored, expanded and legitimated through artistic practice and vice versa. The Citizen Artist project employs journalistic strategies as a form of art practice in its own right and to advance the notion of investigative art as a mechanism for articulating and shaping new imaginaries of (political) membership.

The site will continue to expand and develop content over time. The intention is to participate meaningfully within the 'virtual' (and offline) public sphere.


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Doing Politics with Citizen Art

This book examines how citizen art practices perform new kinds of politics, as distinct from normative (status, participatory and cosmopolitan) models. It contends that at a time in which the conditions of citizenship have been radically altered (e.g., by the increased securitization and individuation of bodies and so forth), there is an urgent drive for citizen art to be enacted as a tool for assessing the “hollowed out” conditions of citizenship. Citizen art, it shows, stands apart from other forms of art by performing acts of citizenship that reveal and transgress the limitations of state-centred citizenship regimes, whilst simultaneously enacting genuinely alternative modes of (non-statist) citizenship.

This book offers a new formulation of citizen art—one that is interrogated on both critical and material levels, and as such, remodels the foundations on which citizenship is conceived, performed and instituted.

For more info see: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

Citizen Artist News: Kinship.                               Citizen Artist News: Kinship is a second newspaper publication and public art intervention launched on Pender Island (and more widely) within W̱SÁNEĆ (Saanich) First Nation Territory (November, 2019). Through W̱SÁNEĆ stories and a discussion about W̱SÁNEĆ law and kinship, residents are invited to imagine non-human beings, such as trees, fish and deer on the island, not as 'resources' or bodies to managed, cut down, culled or manipulated to make way for human desires (suburban development, leisure or tourist activities etc.). Instead, the aim is to explore how humans and non-humans are bodily and familial connected and to consider what this entails for living with rather than on the island. Special thanks to the artist Doug LaFortune and his wife Kathy (Tsawout First Nation) who collaborated on the project and whose artworks are reproduced throughout the pages of the newspaper. Thanks also to Earl Claxton Jr., Belinda Claxton, Robert Clifford, Mavis Underwood of Tsawout FN and settlers Debra Auchterlonie and Denise Holland for their participation.                                           
For a copy download here: CANews: Kinship



Citizen Artist News: Clouded Title                              Citizen Artist News: Clouded Title is a publication and public art intervention in the form of a newspaper on the topic of the Douglas Treaty (North Saanich) - a treaty with a history of disputed interpretations and widely differing world views of land and ownership. It presents readers with a thought experiment and illustrates various understandings (both historical and contemporary) of claim-making. It provides readers with an opportunity to puzzle through and reflect upon the implications of the Treaty, its colonial biases and being present on Indigenous lands today.  Its wider remit is to ask how do treaties (and unceded) lands inform the enactment of belonging and membership in the politics of place? In April 2018, 1100 copies were distributed to residents in a region of W̱SÁNEĆ (Saanich) First Nation Territory aka Pender Island, B.C., Canada.
For a copy of the paper, download here:                       Citizen Artist News Clouded Title   


Street Road: Clouded Title.                                       Led by Emily Artinian (Pennsylvania, USA) and Daphne Plessner (British Columbia, Canada), Clouded Title is a series of workshops and interviews centred around ownership – its ambiguities, histories, and areas of contestation in relation to land. Different landholding models – especially those emphasizing social and ecological relationships over private possession – are explored. Conversations, site visits, and visual artworks that draw out these themes were presented in an exhibition at Street Road in 2018. A 2019 publication will follow.
The work expands on Street Road’s overall project of troubling received wisdom around the activity that enabled its inception: real estate investment and speculation. Clouded Title is a broad survey, taking in views from diverse groups to build a multi-perspectival understanding of ownership.Components and participants are added over time. For a summary of participants and projects see: http://www.streetroad.org/clouded-title.html

Citizen Artist News: the University as a Border Regime

This special edition newspaper (available for download below) commemorates the transformation of the university into a border regime in the United Kingdom. It problematizes the notion of a University as a place of equality and mobility and shows how, inside the system, identities vary and barriers and boundaries exist. Commencing in the academic year of 2012-13 especially, foreign students in the U.K. are heavily monitored by universities on behalf of the Home Office, the costs of fees point up the differences in students’ economic status and the spaces and places of an institution are discrete and securitized. The aim of this newspaper was to capture aspects of the aesthetic and affective dimension of the university in transition.

Citizen Artist Newspaper.pdf

Download time: 2 minutes

What is a University?

The popular conception of a University involves notions of hierarchies of knowledge distribution and centres of excellence. However, within that popular image, students look to a University for material i.e., career advantages, lecturers believe that universities are for critical inquiry and self-development (at least in Europe and America) and managers see it as a business enterprise reinforcing the values of neo-liberalism. None of these conceptions sit very well together. In fact, they sharply conflict. So what is going on? What is a University?

This project investigates and responds to this problematic question by looking more carefully at how people imagine the idea of a University. What exactly are the assumptions of say, a group of new students to an institution? How do different universities instigate and enforce the boundaries of participation? And exactly what kind of education is on offer when universities operate as a 'service' industry with a managerial rationale borrowed from the business models of corporate capitalism? These questions weave through a series of collaborative projects, some of which are still in development and others have yet to be realised. The point is not to arrive at an answer, but to visually map the University in transition.

National Student Surveys

Two visual questionnaires were developed in response to the current (i.e., in the academic year 2012–13) escalation of the UK government’s requirement for universities to monitor and report on the attendance of their foreign national students to the immigration services. As interventions, the purpose of the surveys was to interrupt the (daily) production and embodiment of discrimination that structures the University.  Forty-five ‘home’ (UK) students at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design were approached to complete the surveys. The questionnaires presented the interviewees with the dilemma of discrimination and prompted reflection on the logics exposed in the act of identifying a ‘foreign’ student. As a whole, the project explores the affective experience and ethical implications of partaking in an act of decision-making and determining who does and does not 'belong'. 




Researching the Researchers

The Citizen Artist team participated in a workshop with members of Goldsmiths College and Sciences Po Ecole des Arts Politiques (SPEAP). The theme for discussion was 'Militant Research'. Instead of responding to the topic as a point of conversation, the Citizen Artists embraced the opportunity to not only parody the idea of militancy but to provoke members of the group of researchers to respond to the question of 'What is a University?' Who better to ask such a problematic question of than its members? The question was framed by a trenchant outline of the problem and after soliciting responses from the specialists, the team collated the research and within an hour of the session ending, published the results as posters which were then distributed around Goldsmiths college.

for more information read

What Is a University?.pdf


The Faculty of Institutional Experiments

F.I.E. is an interventionist project and organization that experiments with notions of governance within the setting of a University. As an independent organisation, F.I.E. is nested within a host institution. Its focus is on creating new methods of pedagogical data capture (such as collaborative surveys) as a creative tool with the purpose of affirming the central role and value that temporal, dialogical, interpersonal and affective experiences play in shaping the nature and purpose of an educational institution.





Members of the Hacktivist Organisation, Anonymous, wearing Citizen Artist Armbands at the TUC Rally, March 26, 2011.



The Mobile Armband Exhibition

As citizens, if the State undermines the public good, we have a right to resist its policies and protest. So too, we are all familiar with the rhetoric that is used when reporting the tensions between citizens and state during a march: protesters are often caricatured as a violent 'mob' and this inturn serves as justification for provocative and aggressive actions of the state in its policing of such events. Equally, when and if protesters display force, the state is seen as a just arbiter instead of being responsible to the political issues. And yet despite these portrayals one peculiarity of a rally is the atmosphere of a carnival. Satire infuses the spirit of a march and that was a source of inspiration for the Mobile Armband Exhibition. 

One hundred and twenty protest slogans were generated by an online 'sloganizer'. The online software combined movie tag lines and commercial promotional phrases with the key word 'Protest' resulting in a vast array of hideous but amusing new slogans. In handing out the armbands, we were in essence playing a double game; parodying protest slogans at the same time as supporting the cause and participating in the march. 




Assembling an Assembly: A film short...coming soon 


Assembling an Assembly: What Occupy can learn from Medieval Iceland's Althing

It is not obvious that one needs a sovereign for a society to organise itself or to address its concerns and much of what the Occupation movement has drawn attention to is the possibility for people to assemble, discuss, vote on and implement actions that have local and national significance in the absence of a leader. This article examines the legislative and judicial system of Medieval Iceland's proto-democratic, 'sovereign-less' state and draws comparisons with activist networks. An edited version of the article can also be read in the Occupied Times

Assembling an Assembly pdf