|Education||Ealing School of Art|
|Known for||Conceptual Art, Social Practice|
|Notable work||West London Social Resource Project|
Stephen Willats is a pioneer of conceptual art. Since the early 1960s he has created work concerned with extending the territory in which art functions. His work has involved interdisciplinary processes and theory from sociology, systems analysis, cybernetics, semiotics and philosophy.
His multi-media projects often engage visitors to participate in creative social processes. Notable projects include Multiple Clothing (1965–1998), The West London Social Resource Project (1972), and the book Art and Social Function: Three Projects (1976). Willats considers Art and Social Function as a "kind of manual or tool that would be relevant to any artist thinking of enacting different paradigms for an art intervening in the fabric of society".
His 1973 work Meta Filter consisted of pairs of participants seated at a computer, attempting to reach an agreement about the meanings of various images and statements.
He has produced a number of extended projects working with residents of public housing estates across Europe. Examples include Pat Purdy and the Glue Sniffers' Club (1981-2), The Kids are in the Street (1981-2) and Are You Good Enough for the Cha Cha Cha? (1982), about, respectively, wasteland outside the Avondale estate in West London, a skateboard park near a Brixton housing estate, and a London punk music club. For Brentford Towers (1985) Willats worked with residents to map the interiors of their homes, identifying objects holding personal significance.
- Stephen Willats - British Council Germany
- Tate biography
- Grant H. Kester, Conversation Pieces: Community and Communication in Modern Art, University of California Press, 2004, p91. ISBN 0-520-23839-7
- Grant H. Kester, Conversation Pieces: Community and Communication in Modern Art, University of California Press, 2004, p93. ISBN 0-520-23839-7
- Grant H. Kester, Conversation Pieces: Community and Communication in Modern Art, University of California Press, 2004, p96. ISBN 0-520-23839-7
- Tate Modern: Talks & Discussions: MULTIPLE CLOTHING: Message, Interaction, Exchange: Stephen Willats
- Stephen Willats Biography at Victoria Miro Gallery
- Jane Kelly, Stephen Willats: Art, Ethnography and Social Change, Variant, Issue 4, Autumn 1997
- Stephen Willats at Galerie Nagel, Cologne, Germany, Frieze, Issue 98, April 2006
- 'Control' Publication edited by Stephen Willats since 1965