Peer Learning Spaces

FABnyc sees networks and peer learning spaces as pragmatic forms of mutual aid, for and between organizations and individuals.  We organize and participate in peer networks and often provide spaces for shared learning.

Sustaining the Arts through Networks & Peer Learning

June 2021 – FABnyc & Buscada
Download the report PDF

When FABnyc and Buscada began this project in mid-2019, we were interested in how learning spaces and peer networks help arts practitioners sustain themselves through challenging times. We had little idea just how much more challenging our times could get. 2020’s double pandemics of COVID-19 and of long-standing systemic racial violence underlined the urgency of building resilience and making change together.

The project’s conversations with community arts practitioners in New York City showed us that we are not without a roadmap for facing challenges; the strength and capacity to do that lies in the networks and peer learning that the arts have been building for a long, long time

This report explores four central needs for the future of socially-engaged art /art in community that emerged from our research with practitioners. These are the needs to:

  • reimagine the field;
  • work cross-sector;
  • create spaces for leadership learning; and
  • sustain necessary networks in times of crisis.

The report closes with a series of key questions to ask yourself and your organization, if you are working in or creating a network learning space.

Buscada creates vital spaces for dialogue to foster more just cities, by fusing art, design, education, and research. Led by Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani and Kaushik Panchal, Buscada’s social practice is rooted in collaboration across disciplines, between people, and with communities. Buscada also provides participatory strategic planning and research services to community-engaged organizations. 

Buscada’s long-term work on housing, activism, engaged pedagogy, and social practice art on the Lower East Side is chronicled in Gabrielle’s book Contested City:  Art & Public History as Mediation at New York’s Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (University of Iowa Press, 2019). Kaushik and Gabrielle regularly lecture around the country, and Gabrielle is a professor of Urban Studies at the New School and Bryn Mawr College.

Project support provided by New York Community Trust.