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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Exciting times! We have a cornucopia of events and collaborations coming up in June and July, we’ve stared establishing co-operative practices and handing-over jobs, we submitted a residency application to MayDay Rooms to research and develop our educational programme and we’re submitting a workshop proposal for V22 Summer Club.
On 22 May we attended a talk by Rosalie Schweiker, the latest event in AltMFA’s Future Programme supported with funding from A-N. Rosalie and designer Margherita Huntley presented their forthcoming booklet titled Teaching for people who prefer not to teach. Inspired by the controversial Little Red Schoolbook, Teaching for people who prefer not to teach is a collection of resources for zero-hours educators, it questions current teaching practices in art education, introducing collectivity, humour, experimentation and invisible labour. Rosalie also talked about her work policy, work experiences and collaborations with other artists, everyone shared their own experiences and we discussed precarity, exploitation, making good decisions and having boundaries. We also heard about the history of AltMFA, how it is organised and what problems they’ve encountered.
This Friday, 9 June we’re discussing The Dismeasure of Art, an interview with Paolo Virno at Cafe Tropics in Elephant & Castle. This event will be chaired by Rubén Salgado Perez and if the weather is good we will be sitting outside, followed at 8pm by a live band!
In July we’re planning a joint workshop together with AltMFA and we’re going on an excursion to visit TOMA in Southend-on-Sea. Please stay tuned for more information.
[SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB
Virno: The Dismeasure of Art Friday, 9 June 2017, 18:00 – 20:00
Tropics Café, Grow Elephant, New Kent Road, London SE17 1SL
Please note that this event will start promptly at 6pm Free, please book your place
IMAGE CREDITS Kinki Club, Bologna. Spaghetti Disco, Red Gallery, London, Oct 2016. Photo by Graziella Ronchi. Poster for Sharing Diverse Practices on Common Ground, 10 June 2017 (detail), by Rachel Ara. Anonymous. Rechthoekige cartouche, 16th century. Photo by Paul K, 2008. Gabriel Cornelius von Max  Monkeys as Judges of Art (detail). Oil on canvas, 85 × 107 cm.