URgh!#1: alternative art education. Front cover: studio reminder : the most important things to think about IMO (detail) [2020] by Emma Edmondson

URgh!#1: alternative art education

URgh!#1: alternative art education

The first issue of URgh! on alternative art education includes critical essays, guides, documentation, interviews, fiction, poetry and visual art on the histories and documents of alternative art education, peer-support and study groups, self-organisation, collectivity and collaboration, co-operative art education, alternative economies and mutual aid, self-education, the educational turn, creative labour and the critique of neoliberal reforms in higher education.

URgh!#1 [Jul 2020] alternative art education. Front cover: studio reminder the most important things to think about IMO [2020] by Emma Edmondson
URgh!#1 [Jul 2020] alternative art education. Front cover by Emma Edmondson

Fuelled by economic crisis, austerity and the liberalisation of higher education, alternative art education has burgeoned into a full-blown movement in the last decade. There are as many different formats and models of alternative art education as there are alternative art schools and peer groups, but what is alternative art education? Who is it for, and what is it an alternative to? How is  it different from traditional art education? What do we mean by “alternative”? Can there be an “alternative” if we keep reproducing the same structures and behaviours?

Is alternative art education only for those who can’t afford an MFA? Is it a temporary foothold up the ladder of the mainstream art world, or a movement for radical change? Are alternative art schools expected to resist and reform institutional models of education and pedagogy? Can alternative art education address class, race and gender inequality in the arts? Can alternative art education challenge the commodification and instrumentalisation of education and knowledge?

How can alternative art schools become sustainable? Can we reimagine alternative art schools as institutions of the commons? What would a co-operative art school look like? Could self-organized art schools eventually replace mainstream art education?

URgh! is a zine on precarious labour dreaming up alternative economies at the coalface of the art educational creative industrial complex.

The first issue will be launched on Saturday, 25 July 2020 at the Festival of Alternative Art Education 2020 at Conway Hall.