I am a founding member of socially-engaged international art research network, Social Art Inclusion Lab (SAIL, since 04/2022). SAIL is a legacy of Social Art for EDI (SAFEDI, 02/2021-04/2022), an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project as part of its pilot EDI Fellowship, which is led by my mentor Visual Anthropologist Professor Amanda Ravetz, and for which I was a Co-Researcher and Mentor for commissioned artists.

Gallery photographs of the inaugural event Setting Sail by Faculty of Arts and Humanities Technical team. Banner: Cropped photo of Professor Amanda Ravetz with member artist Dr Yuen Fong Ling. Click below to learn more about SAIL .

What is SAIL?
  • The Social Art Inclusion Lab (SAIL) is an international research network in socially-engaged art.
  • SAIL draws together artists, scholars, social art participants, social activists and policymakers from within and beyond Manchester Metropolitan University to interrogate social art practice at both a local and global level.
  • The research aims to better understand how artists, activists, policy makers and scholars can work with the public in diverse geo-political contexts to co-create art, culture and policy with genuine relevance and impact.
  • SAIL is interested in the places and experiences where art and people meet. As artists, art historians, anthropologists, performers and activists we offer expert knowledge in the expansive field of social art.
  • SAIL’s focus is on research and practice in the in-between realms, where participation and inclusion in creation and performance takes centre stage— and is critically interrogated and evaluated. In acting as a stimulus for research and practice around socially-engaged arts, SAIL offers an expanded notion of research, to include participants’ accounts of their lived experience, artists’ social art works, industry-facing reports, monographs and scholarly texts.
SAIL activities
  • SAIL organises symposia, such as Setting SAIL an inaugural meeting of participants, social artists and scholars, and Asia Triennial, a two-week festival of art, poetry, film, immersive installation and performance that celebrates Asian cultures.
  • Other activities include: Contemporary art practices in health and social care settings; value and impact of social art practices; histories of social art practices; EDI in arts and culture; trans-locality and multi- or trans-cultural identities and communities. 
  • In the SAIL research cluster members teach on a range of MA and MFA courses. SAIL offers practice-focused approaches to our research students and welcome research proposals from potential PhD candidates that are informed by and generated through creative practice and experience.
Inaugural event 14 June 2022: Setting Sail
  • Setting SAIL, a day-long symposium and inaugural meeting of the new research group Social Art Inclusion Lab, was held in a hybrid format. It brought together art practitioners, researchers and scholars to explore cross-cutting perspectives on how to engage with issues of social arts and inclusion through policy, research and practice. It aims to bridge the gap between what are often treated as separate and decoupled fields of arts practice, research and policymaking and to think about equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) from an intersectional perspective. 
  • Activities included Parliament of Practices – a creative, dialogical workshop offered by research platform Cross Pollination. In the Parliament of Practices, everyone is invited to speak from the perspective of their ‘practice’ – be that arts based, scholarly or organizational in nature.
  • This was followed by thematic breakout rooms and a final plenary session where we will consider the building of partnerships and the future aspirations and directions of SAIL.