The uses of art

Painter, Colin Seaward (1986) The uses of art. Doctoral thesis, Newcastle Polytechnic.

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Abstract

This research is intended primarily to inform debates within the contemporary fine art community about 'art and society'. To deal with the material, some of the methodologies of the sociology of culture have been used and the work may be of interest in that and related fields.
The research emerges from the concern in the art world aboutthe gap between its own concepts of art and those existing in the wider community. The thesis argues that this cannot be adequately understood without knowledge of the ways objects and images are used outside the fine art world and of the relationship between these uses of 'art' and those prevalent in the fine art world itself.
The research classifies (and documents photographically) the
objects and images hanging on walls in a cross-section of homes, and explores their meanings for their owners in relation to their ways of life. All objects on walls were included. Whether or not their owners regarded them as 'art' was a question not pre-empted by the researcher.
In order to encounter a variety of people with different ways of life, four groups were sampled. The groups were identified by the character and value of housing. A fifth group was a sample from the households of members of the professional fine art community in the locality.
The nature of the objects and pictures differed in the different samples as did their significances for their owners. In particular, notions of 'art' were differently deployed and the ways in which images were perceived differed in relation to the life circumstances of their owners.

The thesis provides an interpretative map of the ways in which visual images were used in domestic life by people inside and outside the fine-art community in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. It describes commonalities and differences in the uses of images related to the values, interests and social positions of the people encountered.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Thesis digitised by the British Library e-thesis online service, EThOS.
Subjects: L300 Sociology
W100 Fine Art
Department: University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: Ellen Cole
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2019 15:10
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2019 16:10
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/15743

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