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Slides for Masters Contemporary Art Programme, Edinburgh College of Art.

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  • Shift/WorkThis goes back to a symposium that LGP oranised last year leading academics, artists, curators and writers to analyse the echoes of events at CSAD 1968 - 72 and look at current art educational practice and the perceived systematised failures and/or successes. It will examine the role that the regional art education institution played in the art education narrative and its significance to the wider counter culture of the 70s. In the late sixties and early seventies, CSAD held a vital subset of staff and students who together were responsible for formidable critical opposition to the art education model's perceived compliance with the market definition of the art object and its reliance on the centrality of the author.  The Art and Language collective's critical agenda was to shift focus beyond the material paradigm and to construct an education capable of reflecting and promoting conceptual practice. The 70s administration of CSAD repelled this self conscious overturn of the traditional material/author-centric regime. This unyielding stand, common through regional art schools at that time, created a network of opposing force which became part of the wider counter culture of the decade.The symposium will look at the significant role that regional art schools played in the art education narrative and examine how, if at all, the art education institution can function as a site of self-organisation, agitation and change.
  • Desire to talk about teaching as part of the MFA programme.Could be driven by the idea that the MFA is a means to an end? (Will I get a job?)Also could be related to the promotion of the creative economy in the past 15 years (I will generate my own structure, I am my job).There’s a lot of confusion about what this might mean.Lots of art programmes have responded, poorly, by starting courses in professional practice, getting in the business school, teaching students how to package their ‘product’.This is a reactive approach – art school students should be empowered to reflect upon these changes rather than simply accept and react to them in a knee jerk fashion.It should mean examining how art taught, what does it mean to be part of an educational process in an art school now? For me, this means looking back at how we got here…..
  • So, on the one hand, we need to look at the history of the art school. What sorts of art schools have there been? Which ones flourished? Which approaches have been abandoned? What are the lessons here? What sort of art school do we want?Secondly, it means looking at education from the position of Radical Pedagogy, this offers a serious critique of the whole educational system – To radical pedagogues,the school and social bureaucracy are aspects of a growing ‘governmentality’ designed to manage the race to the bottom (labour competition), ensuring that it doesn’t reach a tipping point (revolution). For Ivan Illich, for example, Schools condition people to be consumers of packages produced by other people and to accept ideas of endless progress. Thus school is alienating.It offers the appearance of competence in the image of a tick-box grid, without the substance of genuine ideas.
  • Let’s start by apply this to current pedagogical governance in Scotland (SCQF) and the EU (Bologna process).To follow Illich we might argue that the SCQF is not an educational programme, it is merely a framework for internal assessment. It isabout the development of abilities rather than about access to learning. It favours the modular approach which limits content to a set of prescribed aspects which in turn are divided into a selection of bits of knowledge which can be ‘learned’ and then assessed to suit a uniform bureaucratic framework. Many leading figures in the Scottish Qualifications Authority have business backgrounds. They view education as a product and teachers as employees who must sell and ‘deliver’ it to customers regardless of its intrinsic worth. The assessment process becomes an accounts system.This is fundamentally anti-democratic. By reducing education to a network of arbitrarily prescribed assessment mechanisms, it deprives all but the already privileged of access to their birthright to the world of knowledge and ideas. It is the educational system for the global economy. This is perhaps an unfair assessment, but it is one that is grounded in the history of Scottish education -
  • Davie, G. E. (1961) The democraticintellect: Scotlandand her universities in the nineteenth century,Edinburgh, Edinurgh University Press.Davie, G. E. (1986) The crisis of the democraticintellect: the problem of generalism and specialisation in twentieth-century Scotland, Edinburgh, Polygon.Principle of the Democratic Intellect – Scots solidarism…. Present this as a philosophical and political position.George Elder Davie, in The Democratic Intellect (1961) charts the gradual extinction in the Scottish universities of a type of higher education which encouraged breadth of study and, through the compulsory study of philosophy, a concern with theory and ideas. For these thinkers, the critical role of education can only properly be fulfilled through engagement with the wider community; and, indeed, part of the meaning of Davie’s ideal of ‘critical intellectualism’ is the need for dialogue between the learned and unlearned (see Beveridge and Turnbull 1989 1997).Do these values still exist today in art education, do they exist in Scotland?
  • Two key are raised here for me: PRO-AM: What constitutes ‘professional practice’ – is this simply a matter for ‘professionals’? How might ‘amateurism’ and ‘professionalism’ better inform one another?  SELF-LEARNING: We should be concerned to develop ordinary people’s possibilities to function as social subjects and uphold the significance of self-learning. Developing the idea of The Democratic Intellect in relation to radical pedagogy, in particular the work of Paulo Freire:"Authentic education is not carried out by 'A' for 'B', or by 'A' about 'B', but rather by 'A' with 'B', mediated by the world - a world which impresses and challenges both parties [...]" Paulo Freire Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Penguin, 1970, p.74Key to this sharing of knowledge involves ‘teacher’ and ‘learner’ starting from the same place. This means that we should not proceed from the position that we know what best practice is; we should be, rather, motivated by aiding speculation on what it might be.
  • Not enough to reflect, the philosopher has to change things. How do you“teach what you don't know.” - How do we open up ordinary people’s possibilities to function as social subjects and maintain the significance of self-learning?Rancière’s interest in educational processes, and teaching methods as democratic exercise of power.In Rancière’s thinking the deschooled world without teachers, who always know better than their pupils, that is, the world in which teachers and pupils alike can learn together and every participant's contribution is important and valued, is something to reach for. This thought deviates radically from modern pedagogic which stresses the ideology of equal opportunities, enrepreurialismand teacher’s intellectual and administrative authority. 
  • Steven Campbell MasterclassWhitespace, Edinburgh With Bruce McLean 
  • Steven Campbell MasterclassWhitespace, Edinburgh With Bruce McLean 
  • Steven Campbell MasterclassWhitespace, Edinburgh With Bruce McLean 
  • Steven Campbell MasterclassWhitespace, Edinburgh With Bruce McLean 
  • Steven Campbell MasterclassWhitespace, Edinburgh With Bruce McLean 
  • Peter Hill Superfictions
  • Peter Hill Superfictions
  • Peter Hill Superfictions
  • Peter Hill Superfictions
  • Peter Hill Superfictions
  • Shift/WorkEdinburgh Sculpture Workshop presents Shift/Work, a workshop running between the 30th of July and the 7th of August 2011.The sites in which art is made and the myriad ways in which it is supported are increasingly overlooked, festival culture being fixated with the quantifiable outcomes of homo economicus: the tourist spectacle, the brand, the product. Artists are more often concerned with non-economic work, work that can’t be easily quantified, with the process of learning through action. To make art and money involves shiftwork, the patterns of which largely remain invisible. The expansion of ESW’s workshop facilities and studios should encourage us to reconsider the ways in which publicly funded arts organisations might best facilitate comprehensive approaches to production rather than novel ways of fetishising consumption. Neil Mulholland, will work with the three artists to devise a rota-based curriculum that draws attention to the workshop as a convivial means of production and distribution. These artists will be invited to exploit ESW’s resources to assist twelve invited participants in their learning through on-the-job training.   
  • Each intensive two-day workshop will be an isolated shift, the artist and participants having no detailed knowledge of the other workshops in the cycle. The twelve participants will continue to attend ESW during the two-day unsupervised shifts between the workshops. A four-on two-off shift pattern of working will ensure that productivity levels are maximised over the period of the project. Only the twelve participants will have a holistic view of the entire process and will be in a unique position to put it to work (or not).At the end of the two-week shift cycle there will be a public finissage: 7th of August from 6 p.m.The legacy of Shift/Work will be a publication, a user’smanual combining the curriculae with related images, illustrations and essays. In the future, Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop will invite other workshop-based organisations to use this manual for the implementation of related projects. 
  • Shift/Work

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    8. 8. Steven Campbell Masterclass<br />Whitespace, Edinburgh <br />With Bruce McLean <br />
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    13. 13. Peter Hill<br />Superfictions<br />
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    31. 31. Slides available at<br />Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK: Scotland License.<br />