Ana Varas Ibarra

  • Ana Varas Ibarra is a PhD candidate in Art History and Theory at University of Essex, UK, where she is currently working on a thesis about the effectiveness of Socially Engaged Art (SEA). Her project seeks to provide a conceptualization of SEA by probing the multiple valences and implications of the concept of gentrification, broadly defined as a process of urban changes. Her research calls into question the (mis)assumptions that underpin our understanding of gentrification: above all as the process of spatial and social differentiation, capital expansion, and social cleansing where artists are the victims. Additionally, it aims to understand the connections between gentrified spaces and other social, spatial, and artistic developments, many of which converge around ideas of postcolonialism and globalisation. She completed her MA in History and Philosophy of Art with Distinction at University of Kent, UK (2013-14) and her BA in Art History at Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico (2006-2012). Her research focuses on the different levels in which socially engaged art operates in relation to aesthetic imperatives, institutional demands, socioeconomic ramifications it develops, its social efficacy and its reception/perception. She is interested in analysing five aspects within artistic practices: spatiality, temporality, materiality, social/communal relief, and institutional entanglement.