Image: Billy Tang
Leave Those Kids alone! Teaching, learning and resistance through art.’
A CHELSEA public programme event at The Showroom, Saturday 2nd July, 1 – 5pm.
The Showroom, 63 Penfold Street, London NW8
CHELSEA public programme, in partnership with The Showroom, presents an afternoon of workshops, discussions and presentations that aims to interpret, critique and reflect on connections between education, art practice and the contemporary political sphere.
This event aims to create a space for engaged, critical discussion around the idea of the educational turn, radical or alternative pedagogy, the role of the arts institution in supporting (or stifling) dissent, with particular reference to the recent protests and ongoing ideological attack on education as a right, not a privilege.
‘Leave those kids alone!’ features conversation and presentations led by Mirza & Butler, The Free University of Liverpool and a workshop led by FLAG artists group.
We aim to create an open space, with full participation by attendees and participants. Refreshments will be provided.
This event is FREE. To book a place, please contact email@example.com with ‘Leave those kids alone!’ as the subject heading.
For further information, and speaker biographies, please visit see below.
‘Leave those kids alone! Teaching, learning and resistance through art’ is part of a series of events and projects Chelsea Programme has supported during 2010 – 11, utilising and critiquing the art academy as a space for dissent and discussion and for creating alternative visions of society. This includes If Not, Then What?curated by Cecilia Wee and the Imagining Commoniversity workshop run byHackitectura.net as part of the Transeuropa Festival.
BIOGRAPHIES / INFORMATION
Mirza and Butler
The ‘educational turn’, ‘radical or alternative pedagogy’ plays a central role in our practice as a way of unpacking terms in order to be able to both understand them, and fully inhabit them. To practice this we have set in motion a number of parallel processes. One of these is our founding of a reading group “The Aesthetics of Resistance” sited at Bishopsgate Library which holds a world-renowned collection on Labour movements, freethought, co-operative movements and collections on 20th Century radicalism. In this book “The Aesthetics of Resistance” by Peter Weiss, working class students seek ways to express their hatred for the Nazi regime. They meet in museums and galleries, and in their discussions they explore the affinity between political resistance and art. Weiss suggests that meaning lies in embracing resistance, no matter how intense the oppression, and that we must look to art for new models of political action and social understanding. We intend to present this project as a frame in which to talk about our contemporary participation in forms of direct action as practice knowledge, where the body acquires knowledge.
We are also part of a collective ‘The Precarious Workers Brigade’ and we are involved with a growing community of artists, cultural workers and educators who are seeking to open new platforms for Free Speech on Precarity and to fight the unprecedented economic cuts across the public sector. This has led to our participation in a number of interventions, workshops on the Theatre of the Oppressed and a recent Participatory People’s Tribunal on ‘Precarity’ held at the ICA. In this way we are working within networks that shift across critical thought and direct action.
In our practice we site these languages of resistance within “The Museum of non Participation”which is itself a provocative concept that talks about both the boundaries of art institutions and the sets of social relations of an artistic practice. This is this work’s political agency, and as artists we are engaged with what we describe as a process of de-colonisation, focusing criticality not only on the institution of art but also towards wider social and political realms of cultural hegemony. Thus as part of our fictional museum we have been thinking through ‘What a collection could be’ for the Museum of Non Participation’. A museum interested in the archiving and production of gesture and action, image/objects – a collecting of people around an action so that both the action and the gesture are what the museum collects. This is manifesting itself as a body of work “On collections and collectivity” and we are working on how social relations might be “evidenced” or represented, argued or proposed. How does one collect representational structures? What is the relationship of “non” to a collection and to the imagination? How can we think about non participation and the art object? or non participation and the object of art?
Free University of Liverpool
The Free University of Liverpool is run by a collective of artists and activists (aka The Committee) devoted to the idea and practice of a free education for anyone who wants or needs it.
‘Higher Education is a right for all not a privilege for the few. It is on this basis the Free University of Liverpool is committed to FREE education for any student who wants to study with us. At the Free University of Liverpool we believe that critical thought and action are at the heart of changing the world we live in. With this in mind we support, teach about and practice cultural activism. We believe in the strength of intervention, in the necessity of interruption and the efficacy of interference in the powers that seek to privatise and instrumentalise education. The current cuts the ConDems announced are promising to ruin civil society in the UK. This is the last straw! We will not sit here and take it anymore. We will rise up and educate each other and ourselves to FIGHT BACK!’
(From the Mission Statement of the Free University of Liverpool)
FLAG is a project exploring and exploding the ‘educational turn’ through events and actions moving in and out of the art school.Launched during a three day exhibition/symposium/live magazine in 2010, FLAG re-turned an exploration of art and pedagogy to the educational site, Chelsea College of Art and Design, as a venture between participants in dialogue with each other and the institution. FLAG aims to critically build on the ‘educational turn’ as it is found in the contemporary art world, bringing this enquiry back into the discursive arena and physical space of the art school – exploring how art students and others can claim and investigate forms of pedagogic engagement as part of their practice. FLAG has since participated in ‘PARADE – Critical modes of assembly and forms of address’ on the Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground with SALTbox, and in Department 21’s MA Degree Show at the RCA, and will be taking part in the forthcoming ‘Reflections on the Art School’ at Tate Britain in July.
For the ‘Leave those kids alone!’ event FLAG will be represented by
Synopsis for FLAG presentation/workshop/discussion
‘It is better to do nothing than to contribute to the invention of formal ways of rendering visible that which Empire already recognises as existent.’ Alain Badiou – 15 Theses on Contemporary Art (#15)
For the Showroom event FLAG will conduct a workshop involving all participants and presenters, based around three topics/questions:
1. Why is the discourse around pedagogy -which has arisen from the Educational Turn – being ignored ‘officially'(within HE policy), particularly in light of current challenges to education, post Bologna? What can be done to change this?
2. How can ‘group practices’ emerging out of the educational turn maintain non-hierarchal structures and work horizontally inside and outside the academy?
3. Whilst FLAG are interested in creating alternatives to institutionally-justified, pedagogic models, it has nevertheless received funding from Chelsea College of Art and Design. How can artists groups / arts practitioners best handle the potential conflict of interest that arise from being in receipt of institutional funding?Can we build transparency into the model, or are we doomed to be a co-opted into the institutional structures we aim to critique?