Worlding Public Cultures: The Arts and Social Innovation


Worlding Public Cultures: The Arts and Social Innovation aims to develop a critical art theory and practice based approach to social innovation, which reflects critically on worlding and explores its potential to be employed as methodology. It’s a collaborative research project and transnational platform conceived by the Transnational and Transcultural Arts and Culture Exchange (TrACE) network and funded by a Social Innovation Grant from the Trans-Atlantic Platform for the Social Sciences and Humanities. 


TrAIN was recently awarded a major international grant for our new research project Worlding Public Cultures: The Arts and Social Innovation. Principal Investigator, TrAIN director and UAL Chair of Contemporary Art and Urbanism Professor Paul Goodwin leads a team of researchers from universities in Europe and North America: Free University of Amsterdam (VU); Concordia University, Canada; Carleton University, Canada and University of Heidelberg, Germany. The project will draw on and collaborate with the world-class learning and outreach programmes of our partner institutions including Tate ModernNational Gallery of Canada and Dutch National Museum of World Cultures, as well as the extensive and longstanding public programmes of the partner research centres.

This project sets out to connect people locally with key activity happening in museums and universities under the term ‘global’. It will facilitate an international exchange of critical information about key exhibitions, university courses and activist campaigns centred on decolonising museums, the impact of globalisation on art and decolonial curation in the field of transnational art.

As museums and universities worldwide move forward with decolonising activities, the dedicated project website will provide a global hub for exchange and information. A publicly accessible database will share a vast store of curated data and information about how these 'global' narratives are being told and shared by museums, university courses and activist initiatives around the world - providing local museum workers, university teachers and students and cultural activists with bespoke information that can help them when planning and organising activities or projects.

This research will support and strengthen ongoing initiatives on decolonisation and internationalisation of museums and universities by staff, cultural workers, students and activists in Europe and North America. As it moves forward, the aim is to expand the scope of the project to include narratives coming from the Global South.

Project aims

  • Change public narratives about our globally interconnected yet conflicted world through art, exhibitions, conferences and (academic) writing about art and its cultural, historical and socio-political realities.
  • Tell new stories from multiple regional perspectives about our transnationally and trans-culturally entangled presents, as well as our shared and sometimes difficult pasts, and intends to imagine new ways of living together in the future.

Ultimately, by conducting research on and for institutions of public culture, this project will be an agent of social innovation that impacts how the global is theorised. Making concrete recommendations for the education and museum sectors and contributing to the creation of a more resilient society with more elastic models of social cohesion through changes in public discourse.


  • Research Centre for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation (TrAIN), London
  • Free (VU) University of Amsterdam
  • Concordia University, Canada
  • Carleton University, Canada
  • University of Heidelberg, Germany
  • Tate Modern, London
  • National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
  • National Museum of World Cultures, Amsterdam
  • Institute of Cultural Enquiry (ICI), Berlin

Project Team

  • Ming Tiampo, Carleton University, Canada
  • Wayne Modest, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam
  • Monica Juneja, Heidelberg University, Germany