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Linked Inquiry: Politics and Art


Art has always played a role in politics, and over the years, it has become an essential medium to express opinions about democracy. This academic year, students in associate professor Cari Freno’s sculpture class and associate professor Annie Karreth’s “How Democracies Die” politics class came together to create a public art installation on the Ursinus College campus.

Together, the students created inflatable lawn ornaments that convey messages about some of the most pressing political topics today.

“Resistance means taking up space, whether that means occupying a physical space and getting as many people there as possible, or in this case, a piece of art that literally takes up space and forces you to confront an issue,” Karreth said.

“No one’s demanding that you like stop and look at it, but maybe you’ll spend a couple of seconds thinking about what the meaning behind the image is,” Freno added. “It’s a different way of understanding the world.”

Karreth’s “How Democracies Die” course was part of the Democratic Erosion Consortium, a partnership of researchers, students, policymakers, and practitioners committed to marshaling evidence and learning to address the growing crisis of democratic erosion worldwide.

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