Etymology: from the Greek word dialogos

dia-: through, between, across, inter

dýo- or di-: two

From the Latin dies: day, period of light

-logos: the rational principle that governs and develops the universe; word, saying, speech, discourse, thought, reckoning

log: chronological record


Aesthetics of Doing: Learning as Social Empowerment
Kemi Ilesanmi, Executive Director of The Laundromat Project

Pepón Osorio, artist & Laura Carnell Professor of Community Art, Tyler School of Art at Temple University, Philadephia

George Emilio Sánchez, performance artist, writer & educator



How can dialogic teaching and learning be used as a strategy for social engagement?

This learning process, originally developed by Paulo Freire, empowers people by giving them a forum for sharing their existing knowledge. It equalizes the teacher-student relationship by building education and problem-solving on a foundation of community-based practical understanding, raising awareness of social justice and other issues facing communities. Socially engaged art is rooted in communication and interaction, ideally creating experiences that bring people together to enact social change. How do methods of learning that foster dialogue influence the way socially engaged artists develop their practice? This panel will bring together artists and educators who create artistic projects that use tools of participatory learning and audience empowerment to foster social engagement.

Aesthetics of Doing is a series of panel discussions that bring together artists, scholars, administrators and other members of the art community for discussions that critically address socially engaged art as it is practiced and defined.


George Emilio Sánchez: “Dialogic process is confirmation and affirmation of who we are at that moment. […] It’s not a path – it’s the thinking we need to get to.”

Kemi Ilesanmi talks about social bridging and creative capital in relation to dialogic process.

Q&A with the audience discusses dialogic technique in relation to power. Who is empowering who and who has agency?






These are large, messy words. But despite their ambiguities, when they intersect and interact, flames of power ignite. This power is what public art desires: to connect people—in words and in action—to something larger than themselves. This is the transformative power of art in the public realm, when individuals, despite societal divisions, connect and assert voice through art. In these moments, we are seduced into thinking that all public art catalyzes social interaction and discourse. But these moments materialize through an often quiet and slow process: meetings gathering disparate groups and individuals; facilitated discussions; and many phone calls and emails. This back-of-the-house work—marshalling people, resources, and details—may appear unrelated to art, but engaging with the public, especially since the public is not a fixed entity, is an art. While it is understood that no one artwork stands for “art,” and no one conversation defines “dialogue,” “public” is often perceived as a monolithic entity.”