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  • Writer's pictureMadeleina Kay

MA Fine Art Digital Unit-1 Study Statement

Working Title:

How Can Creativity Inspire Civic Engagement, Overcome Barriers to Democratic Participation and Foster More Inclusive Societies?


The aims of my research investigation are to explore the barriers to democratic participation, civic engagement and inclusion within society, and explore the creative tools which can be implemented to overcome these barriers and inspire more active citizenship. I will develop my understanding of how visual media, such as propaganda, has historically been used to manipulate public opinion and promote hateful narratives which have fragmented societies and increased apathy towards democratic participation. I will also explore the extent to which other political symbols, such as flags, can or cannot effectively represent an individual’s identity and foster a sense of community and belonging. This understanding will inform the creation of artworks which challenge barriers to participation, including; apathy, disenfranchisement, discrimination, prejudice and othering, and celebrate the value of diversity, equality and inclusion within society.



·      Conduct first-hand research to capture personal stories of individuals with intersectional identities, including their experience of community and othering - which will inform the production of portrait artworks.

·      Conduct first-hand research exploring individual’s relationships to flags and symbols of collective identity and how they may or may not conflict with their individual identity - which will inform the production of textile builds.

·      Conduct secondary research, through reading around the topics of; identity and belonging; the use of protest art to combat apathy, shift cultural narratives and inspire active citizenship; and the historic use of propaganda to promote political agendas.

·      Writing of song lyrics and production of performances and music videos which explor barriers to democratic participation and inclusion within society with the aim of inspiring more active citizenship.


·      The history of visual propaganda and its use in wars and political campaigns to influence public opinion.

·      The history and use of flags and national symbols to express collective identity and promote ideologies to justify and legitimise acts of states.

·      Contemporary artists whose practice incorporates protest art, including; Sharon Hayes, Barbara Kruger, Jeremy Deller and Yael Bartana.

·      Contemporary artists and writers who explore identity and stories of migration, including; Lucy Orta, JC Candanedo, Livia Barreira. Kyle Meyer and Nilupa Yasmin.


·      The project will adopt Transformative research frameworks (activist research) with the aim of promoting positive contextual factors, including equality, diversity and fostering more inclusive societies.

·      The project will prioritise recognition over anonymity, and therefore regular consultation with research participants will be maintained to ensure consent for the use and public dissemination of their data.

·      Secondary research will be conducted through reading of relevant texts and writing up findings on my blog.

·      Primary research will be conducted through video interviews with research participants, which will be edited into a documentary overview of the project.

·      Experimentation in painting, writing and textiles will be conducted through practice-based research and documented through my social media and blog.

·      Technology will be integrated within the research methods; iPhone, gimble and mic will be used to record qualitative data during video interviews; online communication apps will be used to co-ordinate with research participants and share project outcomes; research findings will be written up on my blog.


·      Portrait artworks of research participants.

·      Textile builds representing research participant’s identity.

·      Documentary overview of my project exploring intersectional identity, with extracts from video interviews with participants as well as the visual outcomes.

·      Music videos/musical performances inspiring civic engagement through creativity.

·      Abstract paintings exploring internal and external barriers to participation in society.

Work plan:

Colour code: Intersectional Identities project Musical projects Reading Other


Week commencing


Term 2

8th Jan


15th Jan


22nd Jan


29th Jan

Finish sketch / draft portraits of Lora, Redi and Kristyna

5th Feb

Finish reading

·      Creative Research Methods, Helen Kara

·      Propaganda Prints by Colin Moore

·      And Europe Will Be Stunned, Yael Bartana;

12th Feb

Finish sketch / draft portraits of JC


19th Feb

Finish reading Worth Dying For – The Power and Politics of Flags by Tim Marshall

26th Feb


4th March

Performance of ‘Volunteering We Grow’ at the European Commission, Brussels

11th March

Low Residency at CSM

18th March

Finish reading ‘Cultural Diversity’, Encyclopedia of Creativity

25th March


1st April

Finish painted portraits of Lora, Redi and Kristyna

Term 3

8th April

Finish reading Arts under pressure: Promoting cultural diversity in the age of globalization

15th April


22nd April

Dare to Care residency in Bologna?

29th April

Finish reading books on Sharon Hayes and Barbara Kruger­

6th May

Finish painted portrait of JC

13th May


20th May

Finish filming for and edit ‘It’s Time To Vote’ music video to release and promote ahead of the EU elections (6-9th June)

27th May

·      Conduct research interviews with Lora, Redi and Kristyna

·      Organise textiles workshop with International Women in Sheffield community

3rd June

Recruit remaining research participants (4 – 6 more) ensuring diversity

Performance in Munich at voter mobilisation event?

10th June

Finish reading A brief history of protest art. London: Tate Publishing

17th June


24th June


1st July


8th July


15th July


22nd July

Finish reading Celebrating pluralism art, education, and cultural diversity

29th July

Finish Creating abstract dress for ‘How Does It Feel?’ music video

5th August


12th August


19th August


26th August

Finish creating Lora, Redi & Kristyna’s flags

2nd September

Finish reading; Abstract Art and Art Monsters

9th September

Finish Filming ‘How Does It Feel?’ music video

16th September


23rd September

March for Rejoin III?

30th September

Finish sketches / draft portraits of 5 -7 additional research participants

Term 4

7th October

Finish reading Art of protest: Political art and activism.

14th October


21st October


28th October


4th November

Finish reading Delirium and resistance: Activist art and the crisis of capitalism.

11th November


18th November


25th November

Finish painted portraits of 5 – 7 additional research participants

2nd December


9th December


16th December

Finish reading Propaganda art in the 21st Century

23rd December


30th December

Finish video interviews with 5 – 7 additional research participants

6th January


Term 5

13th January

Finish reading Art therapy in times of conflict: Supporting appreciation of Diversity and difference?’, International Journal of Art Therapy


20th January



27th January



3rd February



10th February



17th February

Finish reading Art, Identity, and Social Justice


24th February

Finish creating flags for 5 – 7 additional research participants


3rd March



10th March



17th March



24th March



31st March


Term 6

7th April



14th April



21st April



28th April

 Finish filming of 2nd interviews with all research participants (gifting of flags)


5th May



12th May



19th May



26th May

Finish editing documentary overview of intersectional identities project




Barreira, L. (2022) Living in Sheffield: Our journeys as migrant women. Sheffield: Livia Barreira.

Bartana, Y. and Ljungberg, J. (2010) Yael bartana - och Europa kommer att häpna = Yael Bartana - and Europe will be stunned. Berlin: Revolver Publishing.

Burkamp, D. and Verheugen, G. (2004) Zehn ‘neue’ Für Europa. Bielefeld: Kerber.

Chalmers, F.G. (1996) Celebrating pluralism art, education, and cultural diversity. Los Angeles, CA: J. Paul Getty trust.

Deller, J. (2023) Art is magic. Profile Books Ltd.

Elger, D. (2022) Dadaism. Köln: TASCHEN.

ELKIN, L. (2024) Art monsters: Unruly bodies in feminist art. S.l.: VINTAGE.

Emelife, A. (2022) A brief history of protest art. London: Tate Publishing.

GAVIN, F. (2022) Art of protest: Political art and activism. BERLIN: GESTALTEN VERLAG.

Kara, H., Gergen, K.J. and Gergen, M.M. (2020) Creative research methods: A practical guide. 2nd edn. Bristol: Policy Press.

Kruger, B., Goldstein, A. and Deutsche, R. (1999) Barbara Kruger: Thinking of you. Los Angeles: Museum of Contemporary Art.

Marshall, T. (2017) Worth dying for: The power and politics of Flags. London: Elliott and Thompson Limited.

Moore, C. (2010) Propaganda prints (history of art in the service of Social and political change). A & C Black Publishers Ltd.

Orwell, G. (2021) All art is propaganda. Boston, USA: Mariner Books.

Raicovich, L. (2023) Culture strike: Art and museums in an age of protest. London: Verso.

Sholette, G. and Charnley, K. (2017) Delirium and resistance: Activist art and the crisis of capitalism. London: Pluto Press.

Smiers, J. (2005) Arts under pressure: Promoting cultural diversity in the age of globalization. The Hague: Hivos.

Staal, J. (2019) Propaganda art in the 21st Century. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.



Kyle Meyer (2024) Home. Available at: (Accessed: 03 February 2024).

Nilupayasmin (2023). Available at: (Accessed: 03 February 2024).

Orta, S. (no date) Artwork - studio Orta, Artwork -. Available at: (Accessed: 10 January 2024).

Personalised portraits on cotton canvas customised by refugees (no date) JC Candanedo. Available at: (Accessed: 10 January 2024).


Haywood, S. (2023) ‘Art therapy in times of conflict: Supporting appreciation of Diversity and difference?’, International Journal of Art Therapy, 28(4), pp. 152–153. doi:10.1080/17454832.2023.2275467.

Małgorzata , G.A. (2020) ‘Cultural Diversity’, Encyclopedia of Creativity (Third Edition), Pages 301-305.

David, E.A. and McCaughan, E.J. (2007) ‘Art, Identity, and Social Justice /’, Social Justice, 34(1), pp. 1–154. Available at: (Accessed: 10 January 2024).


Primary Research


Redi Asabella

Krystina Ilek (from Dare to Care): 

(4-6 additional participants tbc)


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