Skip to content

Social Practices Lab

The Social Practices Lab has been developed in a period when the world is changing at a faster pace than ever before, cultural exchange is a space for conflict and resolution, climate change is real, many countries are looking inward as subsequent pandemics have limitrd our interactions with others and the role of civil society and social justice becomes vitally important in creating a more democratic society.

The Social Practices Lab is designed to provide a focal space, resources, expertise and the networks to stimulate, promote, develop and engage in socially led research projects and practices that develop responses to current global and local challenges through creative practices and approaches. The Social Practices Lab’s approach is to work collaboratively and in partnership, across disciplines, sometimes embedded in studios, sometimes expanding working spaces through technologies and, in the main engaging publics in new ways not necessarily imagined. 

Those developing and leading projects through the Social Practices Lab act as cultural agents and catalysts, working to coproduce and codesign, problem-find and solve, explore and speculate through projects at different timeframes, contexts and scales. Activities and approaches range from more distributed practices engaging where the problems lies, creating agency at a local level, ensuring better understanding and better inter-local discussions/dialogues through to international cooperation working effectively at distance, sharing knowledge, skills and approaches. 

Importantly the Social Practices Lab looks to develop effective interventions that respond to everyday lived realities, enhance communities and cohesion, explore citizen participation, create purpose-driven cooperation, engage with social inequalities, support self-organisation, empower underrepresented voices, create tangible impacts and build capacities to respond to changing social circumstances. 

The Social Practices Lab is people centred with a sense of social purpose to help drive its strategy of social impact, empowering a range of actors from students giving purpose as ethical and effective citizen-leaders and social change agents while building social capital through local participant engagement in projects. The Lab recognises the valuable contribution of social engagement developing initiatives in partnership, especially through local and self-organised societies but also working closely with institutions, local government, policy makers and other researchers, practitioners and publics.


Ed D’Souza
Co-director of the Social Practices Lab

Winchester School of Art
University of Southampton
Park Avenue, Winchester, SO23 8DL