Since its inception in 2013, the Arte Útil archive has become a collective steadily expanding as a tool for research and a resource for social practitioners. The archive is available for consultation at the website and consists of a growing database of around three hundred case studies that use art as a tool for societal change. It provides artistic strategies, a historical perspective, and a nexus between theory and praxis, besides being a platform to connect artistic projects and “users” from different geographies and contexts. Overall, it has become a nomadic pedagogical device able to trigger the discussion and the analysis of socially engaged art practice, its nature and its context involving not just artists but social agents and communities. As co-curators of the archive and educators, we interrogated ourselves regarding if curating as a social practice could expand the notion of education. Could we embrace the methodology of social practice to curate and generate pedagogical conditions fostering sustainability? Could we go beyond the conventional spaces and dynamics of academia? Could we integrate concepts like co-authorship and co-curating to cross from the arts to collective learning environments? How do we relate with the archive in other local contexts? In the last five years, we have implemented an evolving methodology that addresses all these questions, activating the Arte Útil archive as a pedagogical catalyst. The archive allowed collective experimentation and became a tool to infiltrate social practice both in the academic domain and galleries and museums’ educational ecosystems. In this article, we will analyse two different examples as case studies: from a research and artistic environment, a conversation with Onur Yıldız and Naz Kocadere, co-authors of “Art in use: case studies in Turkey” in May 2018, from a two-day workshop organised in collaboration with the Office of Useful Art at SALT Galata, Istanbul (TR); and from an educational perspective, the recent curriculum developed as part of the International Master Artists Educator (iMAE) in ArtEZ, Armhen (NL).
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