CFP – MACRO, Rome, April, 2013

Call for Papers – MACRO, Rome, April, 2013

Call for Papers
Joan of Art Towards a Free Education
Conference April 13th 2013
MACRO, Via Nizza, Rome, Italy

In collaboration with Nomas Foundation, European Alternatives

Hypothesis: Freedom in an unfree society can only be feigned. Such a feigning is by definition an artistic act. In a post-political age art bears a social responsibility.

The aim of the project ‘Joan of Art: Towards a Free Education System’ is to deliver a free education system, starting from the very basis of what education is: The sharing of information. In the first stages the very notion of education will be explored so that a new system can be delivered which recognises the value of knowledge sharing between peers and across disciplines. Finally a free accredited system will be set up in such a way that it can be delivered from anywhere in the world, growing and changing organically as it disperses via accessible communication platforms. In this way it is intended to break the monopoly that the State-Business model has over education.

Education is at the forefront of a new and intense political battle drawn along lines which are not arguably easily understood using old theoretical models or binary oppositions (ie left vs right). We face a multifarious and chaotic finance model against which pointed arguments and positions are unuseful. In this climate, art, which is itself beyond precise definition, multifarious and flexible, becomes of vital importance in conceiving of new strategies for the sharing of information.

Who is invited: Statements of interest are welcomed from artists, academics, curators, educationalists and activists involved in conceiving free education models, to take part in a conference which will be part of a wider three day event involving workshops, installations and a committee meeting to publicly launch ‘Joan of Art: Towards a Free Education System’.

Overview – Joan of Art: Towards a Free Education Conference

In 1969 a group of women students disrupted an Adorno lecture by demonstratively baring their breasts at the podium. Adorno was traumatized by the episode and, reportedly, never recovered. Two months later, he died of a heart attack—on August 6, 1969.

The episode is a reminder of the difficulties faced by academia when it is required to enter the concrete social realm. Adorno became an enemy of his own students for refusing to back their wider attempts at insurrection (which took inspiration from the failed French uprisings of 1968).

In 2008 Middlesex University axed the award winning Centre for Research into Modern European Philosophy and redistributed its prize funding to other departments. The CRMEP had the highest research rating in the University. The response of the academic world was – whilst being well intentioned – arguably inadequate in the face of this and subsequent cuts to humanities funding by the UK Coalition government, relying on ultimately outmoded forms of discourse and political praxis. The cuts have gone ahead, now it is time to look to new alternative models of educative discourse. The same situation is reflected across Europe.

To assess the adequacy of academic debate to concrete social discourse and he exploration of alternative education practices, a one day conference will be held involving a keynote speech, other papers and a round table discussion. There will also be a performative element, aimed at disrupting the top down conference format.

Subjects for Consideration

Submissions are invited on the following topics:

Education, Politics and Art – Drawing on historical models, current initiatives and relevant texts, artists, academics, curators and activists are invited to address the crossover between Education, Politics and Art. What viable alternative models are proposed by art’s engagement in politics? Does the art world infrastructure offer a viable base for an alternative system of education? Is there something intrinsic to art which makes it of particular value in conceiving of alternative education models? What can we learn from dominant didactic methods used within the art world: ie the workshop and seminar formats, but also art itself, in its communicative and reflective role?

Activism and Education – What lessons can we learn from education initiatives run from social centres and occupied spaces? What have the MACAO, Teatro Valle and Teatro Garibaldi occupations taught us with regards to alternative education initiatives? What lessons can be learned from student occupations of Universities in England in 2009 (for example, the CRMEP, UCL, etc) and Italy? What education initiatives have arisen from the ‘Arab Spring’?

Systems of Accreditation – What is the rationale for having large State run universalised accreditation systems? Is accreditation necessary? What possible system of accreditation might be applied to free schools run in this way (if desirable)?

The Anarchist Experience – Is a State run system desirable? What possible defences of such systems may be mounted now that the State is rapidly diminishing and becoming a promoter of the interests of finance capital? What does the history of Anarchism teach us about non-state systems? What have alternatives such as home schooling taught us?

Working Models – People involved in running free school initiatives are invited to provide accounts of their existing models.

A presentation of the Joan of Art: ‘Towards a Free Education’ project will be given, with an explanation of the following year’s programme, including the formation and delivery of a free accredited course on ‘art, politics and education’, aimed at equipping students with the ability to devise and run alternative social systems within the art world.

(participants are invited to come to Rome in the days prior to the conference to engage in committee meetings and interact with artist run workshops. Flights hotel and a stipend are paid)

Propsals to:

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