Reflections on Rick Lowe’s Residency: Anne Wagner

In November 2014, the Arts Research Center hosted a ten day residency with acclaimed artist, community organizer, and 2014 MacArthur “Genius” Fellow Rick Lowe. During his time on campus, Lowe presented the 2014 Regents Lecture “Social and Community Engaged Work: The Genuine and the Artificial” and participated in the symposium “Public Art/Housing Publics: Conversations on Art and Social Justice”. He also engaged in class visits, studio critiques, and tours of innovative art and architectural projects with ARC’s partners throughout the Bay Area. We have asked participants to send their reflections on the issues that surfaced during Rick’s visit. The following is from Anne Wagner, visiting researcher at the College of Environmental Design (Landscape Architecture) at UC Berkeley.

I was very impressed by the dense program and variety of events during the residency. Also it made me aware of the Arts Research Center and the Global Urban Humanities Initiative at UC Berkeley. I enjoyed the talks and trips I was able to take part in. As a foreign visiting researcher it was very interesting to hear about both Ricks’ work, and related projects and issues in the Bay Area. It formed interesting discussions about social and cultural challenges and opportunities in the field between artistic practice, thoughts on urban transformation and actual spatial interventions.

Clearly there are differences between the US, California and Northern Europe, where I practice, but I learned that still many similar challenges are visible in this field of overlapping professions and fields.