Tag Archives: alternative art schools

Bibliography for a co-operative art school

Bibliography for a co-operative art school

This page includes bibliographies and reading lists on co-operative art education, alternative art schools, radical pedagogy and self-organisation. Complied in conjunction with the research project A co-operative art school? This bibliography accompanies the directory of alternative art schools and resources for a co-operative art school. For a collectively compiled syllabus on art education and radical pedagogy see the Radical Pedagogy Research Group. Continue reading Bibliography for a co-operative art school

🥧 ‘More pie, more sky pls’* 🚀

🥧 ‘More pie, more sky pls’* 🚀

I’m thrilled to invite you to an artist’s talk that I’m doing for my local alternative art school! hARTslane Alternative (HA!) was founded by artists Rachel Lonsdale and Sarah-Athina Nahasis, who have put together a stellar programme. The school is informed by an interest in artists’ working lives, and a concern for those who are ‘outside’. The syllabus is based on a skill-sharing model, alongside crits, artists’ talks, off-site visits and exhibitions. I’m looking forward to meet the cohort for a discussion on alternative art education and their ongoing development beyond the end of the course. Beginning with a history of the movement, we will workshop either a proposal for a new school, or a guide on how to start a DIY art school, peer support group or collective.

🫀 DIY Art School
19 June 2024, 6-9pm, Tickets £6
hARTslane Alternative, 17 Hart’s Lane, New Cross, London SE14 5UP
HA! was launched in April 2024 at hARTslane, a community-run gallery in New Cross. The open call for 2025 will be published towards the end of this year. 

In July I’m looking forward to teach at the inaugural Alice Black Academy Summer School. I will be delivering three lecture-seminars on critique, the institution of art, and Spectacle and the everyday, on 1, 3 & 4 July, 6-9pm. Alice Black is a young gallery, established in 2017 to represent artists whose work is materially driven and handmade. I’m so excited to be working with Alice Black to bring these lectures to a new audience.

🧜🏿‍♀️ Alice Black Academy Summer School 2024
July 1, 2024 – July 9, 2024, Tickets £150
Alice Black, 7 Windmill St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 2JD

The upcoming dates for Art + Critique are online! The course runs 15 Oct 2024 – 4 Mar 2025, 6:30-8:30pm with a new Pay What You Can tier scheme for the course fees. I’m hoping this will help me maintain the accessibility of the course and make it more sustainable. This may be the last time I offer the course in this format. It has been in development for 15 years, expanding and growing exponentially into a comprehensive programme on art practice and theory. On the one hand, I would like to expand this even further into a year-long independent study programme for a group of artists who would benefit from an extended period of critical engagement with their practice in a community context. On the other, I would like to make the lecture-seminar series of the course available to a wider audience, and launch a whole host of other courses and regular activities for artists, curators, writers and art audiences, that have been in the pipeline. I’m hoping to trial 1-2 of these in Spring 2025 and will post further updates closer the time.

🍒 Art + Critique, Autumn 2024
Critical & Contextual Studies in Art Practice Online
15 Oct 2024 – 4 Mar 2025, Tuesdays 18:30-20:30 BST/GMT+1
Pay What You Can £578 / £468 / £358

I wrote about co-operative art education for Towards New Schools, an essay series on recent shifts in art and design education by the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. Working with the Editorial Board was an excellent experience, I’m especially indebted to Harriet Foyster for her work and care in the editing process. *The title of this update is from a comment by the wonderful Emily McMehen in response to the essay. It set my mind at ease, because I’m often asked why I chose this essay title:

🥧 A co-operative art school is pie in the sky (2023) Towards New Schools, Epistemic shifts in art and design education. Gerrit Rietveld Academie and Sandberg Instituut, Amsterdam. Gerrit Rietveld Academie is an independent university of applied sciences for Fine Arts and Design, the Sandberg Instituut is the postgraduate program of the academy. Among the amazing resources by staff and students you will find: Extra Intra, an overview of intercurricular platforms, student initiatives and events; Hear! Here! a research project on education, exchange and listening, with a focus on Critical Pedagogy; Podcasts; and the brilliant Student Council website. 

In other co-operative news, I attended the Co‑op Hackathon in Oct 2023, and I’ve been meaning to write about this, but here we are. The event was a thoroughly positive experience. It was organised by Terry Tyldesley, who is a musician and producer and this was reflected in every aspect of the event. I was also very excited to meet Rose Marley, the new CEO of Co-ops UK, who is already bringing positive change. All the projects inspired a hopeful sense of a common future, as did the amazing people behind them. I will post a more lengthy review at a later stage. Suffice to say that I’m still working through all the fabulous tips and ideas that I came away with for the co-operative federation of art schools. I also re-connected with the amazing Larisa Blazic, and I will post more about what we are hatching in future updates. In the meantime, here’s a video about the Hackathon:

💻 Stories from the Co‑op Hackathon 2023
19-20 Oct 2023, The Foundry, 17 Oval Way, London SE11 5RR
There have been a number of exciting developments and milestones for the co-operative federation project within the last year and I’m really looking forward to complete the many offshoots of the project. But, due to lack of funding, the work is on hold or chugging along in the background until I have time to put in a DYCP application.

📓 In solidarity economy news, the Lonely Writers’ Club was a therapeutic 3-week lull before the start of the academic year last autumn. Led by Yancey Stickler and Austin Robey, this project was an offshoot of Metalabel, a unique publishing platform for creative groups and collectives launched in 2022. Developments like this indicate as sea-change in the mindset of many people who work in the creative/digital industry. Partly due to Covid, and partly due to all the layoffs in the digital industries, many of these workers are rejecting the culture of competition and burn out, and embracing collectivity and collaboration in solidarity economies.  While I have reservations with this somewhat conservative and commercial approach to solidarity, mutual aid and the commons, these developments can only be a good thing. Some recommended reading and viewing: After The Creator Economy by Austin Robey and Severin Matusek (2023), introduced by Matusek in What’s after the creator economy? Interdependence.fm’s podcast Post-Individualism, Metalabels and Web 3 with Yancey Strickler (2022),  Post-Individual (2024) and Adam Curtis on the dangers of self-expression (2017) by Yancey Strickler. The links in this paragraph will lead you to a host of additional resources.

🖌️ Finally, if you practice one act of self-care for your practice and mental health in 2025, I highly recommend Artquest’s 30works/30days. The highlight of my day in April was seeing all the amazing work that others had made. On the first day I got the work in by the skin of my teeth, then I worked at different times of day, leaving enough time to come back to it or make something else. The work was both a record of the day, as well as the theme that made every day special. Each day brought a different kind of challenge, it created some anxiety and longer work hours, but all the more rewarding because you completed something – or at least made a good go at it.

This daily manual engagement was empowering and invigorating in itself, but also because it was an investment in something for its own sake. I made the rules and the process involved discovery, inspiration, attention, invention, speculation, experimentation and so on. This mindset also revealed my teaching practice to me as a form of sculpture. Preparing a course or workshop is an entirely conceptual and abstract process, and you cannot prefigure what will happen in the pedagogical environment. Rather than working with concepts and variables when updating my courses, I have started to visualise them as sculptures, intuitively hacking parts off, taking them apart and putting them back together in radical new configurations. Let’s see if it works.

(Slow) Marathon: riveting + inspirational!

(Slow) Marathon: riveting + inspirational!

Thanks to everyone who came along and contributed to the Alternative Art Education (Slow) Marathon! We launched URgh!#1, amplified the movement, opened up the discussion on some of the more esoteric aspects of self-organised art education, demonstrated the possibilities of online education and had a lot of fun!

Continue reading (Slow) Marathon: riveting + inspirational!

URgh!#1 at the (Slow) Marathon

URgh!#1 at the (Slow) Marathon

URgh!#1 July 2020 on Alt. Art Education. Front Cover by Emma Edmondson
URgh!#1 July 2020 on Alt. Art Education. Front Cover by Emma Edmondson

URgh! #1 has arrived and it looks great! Thanks to Footprint Workers Co-op and to all the contributors for their amazing work!

The zine launch is on Sat, 25 July at the (Slow) Marathon, get your printed or digital copy on the day from this page. Continue reading URgh!#1 at the (Slow) Marathon

Artquest Research Residency at Conway Hall Library

Artquest Research Residency at Conway Hall Library

As higher education gears up for two more weeks of strikes about pensions, casualisation, workload and pay levels, and independent unions continue their campaigns on wages, outsourcing and zero hours contracts, the extent of the reforms that the 2010 student protests and occupations were fighting becomes all too clear.

Continue reading Artquest Research Residency at Conway Hall Library

Festival of Alternative Art Education 2020

Festival of Alternative Art Education 2020

The Festival of Alternative Art Education 2020 has been postponed! It will now take place on 25 July 2020 at Conway Hall, bringing together alternative art schools, peer-support groups with stalls, workshops, discussions, screenings, tours, installations, performances, the exhibition The Secret Is Out: on the theme of cooperation and the launch of URgh! Zine on self-organised, DIY, peer-led art schools and collectives. Continue reading Festival of Alternative Art Education 2020

Alternative Art Schools

Louise Ashcroft [2017] All My Lives. Arebyte LASER, 17 July 2017.
Louise Ashcroft [2017] All My Lives. Arebyte LASER, 17 July 2017.

July was a busy month, we had several meetings and got together with alternative art schools to ignite a discussion on cooperation and exchange ideas on the future of education in the arts.

On Friday, 14 July we got together for an open meeting and workshop on self-organisation. We shared ideas and decided to follow-up with a series of workshops to address new questions that came up, to consider the part that self-organisation plays in alternative art education, and to address our own cooperative practices.

Sneak preview of 100% Southend, Twenty One, Southend-on-Sea. Photo Cristina Sousa-Martínez.
Sneak preview of 100% Southend, Twenty One, Southend-on-Sea. Photo Cristina Sousa-Martínez.

On Monday, 17 July it was great to catch up with members of AltMFA and  to hear all about their future plans at Louise Ashcroft’s exhibition All My Lives at Arebyte Laser.

Maximum Overdrive, 20 May - 10 Sep 2017. Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea.
Maximum Overdrive, 20 May – 10 Sep 2017. Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea.

On Sunday, 23 July we headed to Southend where were greeted by Tricia North and Michaela Bannon, two members of the first cohort of The Other MA (TOMA), a 12-month alternative art education model based at Metal Art School.  Hot on their heels was Emma Edmondson, founder and coordinator of TOMA, and we set off for an absolutely epic tour from Southend-on-Sea to Leigh-on-Sea.

Our first stop was the Railway Hotel, where we were joined by Simon Cole down from London on a different route. After catching up over vegan lunch and a drink we headed towards the seafront for a sneak preview of Twenty One, a brand new venue in Southend. We caught the installation of 100% Southend, an open access exhibition for the launch of the new space. We circled back through town to Focal Point Gallery to see the group exhibition Maximum Overdrive and Big Screen Southend, an open access rolling submission public screen. Follow the link to find out how to submit your work.

Emma Edmondson at Metal Art School, Southend-on-Sea.
Emma Edmondson at Metal Art School, Southend-on-Sea.

We passed the ostentatious University of Essex student accommodation building, the monumental VAT building, the Beecroft Art Gallery and enormous developments on the way to the Old Waterworks, an independent, artist-led space. We saw the artists’ studios, darkroom, printmaking facilities and Alison Lloyd’s exhibition Act 1 – 1 Act – Walking the Gallery, Closed – Walking Birchen Hat.

Richard Baxter's studio Old Leigh Studios, Leigh-on-Sea.
Richard Baxter’s studio Old Leigh Studios, Leigh-on-Sea.

Then we headed through streets of terraced houses to West Road Tap for a drink and chat about alternative art education and coops. We set off along London Road to Chalkwell Park, home of TOMA and Metal Art School. Emma gave us a tour of the studio spaces, the exhibition and meeting spaces, the cosy living quarters and work spaces with excellent views of the Thames estuary. Visit the website for more information on Time and Space Residencies at Metal, the next deadline is on 30 September 2017.

After bidding farewell to Metal and the beautiful park we got caught in a downpour which let up as soon as we got to Chalkwell station. The sun and tide were both out by the time we arrived Leigh-on-Sea where TOMA artist Richard Baxter’s studio is located. Richard told us about the boat-building history of the studio, he showed us his work and we talked about reading groups, practice, theory and choices in alternative art education.

Still somewhat damp from the storm we piled into the Mayflower to recount the the day over calamari and beer. We eventually had to run for the train back to London because we got carried away with the view of the moody estuary. For more images please see the album on our Facebook page. Thank you TOMA for a fantastic day!

Renata Minoldo [2017] Freehand embroidery. School of the Damned's Common Room, Guest Projects, 22-29 July 2017.
Renata Minoldo [2017] Freehand embroidery. School of the Damned’s Common Room, Guest Projects, 22-29 July 2017.
Sean Roy Parker [2017] Recycled pressings, work-in-progress. School of the Damned's Common Room, Guest Projects, 22-29 July 2017.
Sean Roy Parker [2017] Recycled pressings, work-in-progress. School of the Damned’s Common Room, Guest Projects, 22-29 July 2017.
School of the Damned [2017] Common Room, a public programme of free events. Guest Projects, 22-29 July 2017.
School of the Damned [2017] Common Room, a public programme of free events. Guest Projects, 22-29 July 2017.

On Monday, 24 July we had a special edition of the book club at School of The Damned‘s (SOTD) Common Room, a week-long public programme of free educational workshops, talks and participatory events at Guest Projects, 22-29 July 2017.

SOTD is an alternative contemporary art postgraduate course based in the UK. The school runs a labour exchange economy based, offering a series of skills hour-for-hour in return for guests’ time, venues workshop provision, etc.

For the book club, Renata Minoldo prepared and chaired a discussion on Pedagogical Projects: How do you bring a classroom to life as if it were a work of art? An essay from Claire Bishop’s 2012 book Artifical Hells on pedagogical participatory art projects.

The discussion was entirely unrestrained, we meandered beyond territories relevant to the text in several interesting directions, focusing mainly on pedagogical practice and ethics. We might benefit from a return to the text or a closer look at concepts such as Foucault’s notion of parrhesia (the obligation to speak openly), Adorno’s concept of autonomy and Guattari’s ethico-aesthetic paradigm and transversality in the context of art and education.

We were excited to meet several members of the SOTD class of 2018, aka Year of the Rooster before the book club, and to talk about their work. Sean Roy Parker ran a Wildflower and Floristry walk on the previous day and was busy  reconfiguring his collection of found objects  into new ensembles. We were sorry to miss the discussion on Self-organisation, Access and Sharing on the previous day and we heard all about the fascinating workshop Thinking with Water: Pooling resources, research and ideas with Emily Wooley.

We viewed the beautiful display of work  from Renata’s Freehand Embroidery Technique workshop from the previous day. Renata combines costume design, visual art and art education in her practice, she is interested in pedagogy, communities, education, interdisciplinarity and participatory art, both as member of SOTD’s class of 2018 and in the context of her art practice. She has compiled the School of the Damned Open Library, which focuses primarily on alternative art education.

Thanks to SOTD, Renata Minoldo and everyone who joined this riveting discussion on art, participation and pedagogy. It was a pleasure to be part of this exciting programme of events and to enjoy the positive energy of this friendly, cooperative and creative environment. The fallen fruit crumble was delicious.



Directory of alternative art schools, free schools, projects, support networks and vanguards of the alternative education movement. Please get in touch if you are associated with a school, project or network that is not on this list, or if you want to amend or expand the entry.




For more titles on alternative art education see School of the Damned‘s online Open Library, Antiuniversity Now‘s collaborative Antiuni Reader, a public reading list on radical education and anarchist pedagogy (where you can add your own suggestions), and Evening Class‘s categorised are.na resource sharing and bookmarking channel.