Volume 21, Number 6: ‘On Radical Education’ (December 2016)
Proposal Deadline: 11 January 2016
What is happening to art school? The cultural climate of the 1970s particularly in the UK, Europe and the USA, saw a series of radical shifts in approaches to arts education and research that responded to a growing sense of crisis both in the purpose of art and design, and performing arts education and, more broadly, the role of the arts in society. Forty years later in very different cultural, economic and technological circumstances, what has changed for approaches to radical, innovative arts education and research and what does such education and research look like for the future?
The ‘educational turn’- particularly in the visual arts over the last decade – has seen the development of a wide variety of frameworks and provisions for artist-run and collaborative arts education and research as a reaction (in part) to the increasing neo-liberalization of arts education and research, as well as to the decline in funding and in increasingly expensive embodied, heuristic, hands-on approaches to making, thinking and doing in the arts. Recently there has been a renewed interest in the radical models of education and artistic research that emerged in the US and Europe in the post-war period of the mid-to-late 20th century that emphasized the social values of the arts and creativity.
A rhetorical shift away from ‘arts education’ towards a proliferation of ‘creative innovation hubs’ and ‘centres for creativity’, as well as increased screen-based learning and the social and educational impact of digital technologies, arguably finds arts education and arts research once again at a point of transition as creative and experimental modes of education in the performing and visual arts become absorbed into normative, market-driven systems with an increasing emphasis on the value of the arts as instrumental forms of ‘creativity’ at the expense of social values, inclusivity and public engagement.
Artistic practice, artist training and education, and artistic research form a closely interrelated triad, and framing them in experimental, radical and free ways is arguably a core quality for their development. Until the late 20th century, researching artists and artists that advocated a pedagogical approach comprised a small group with utopian goals. Since the 1970s artists have had increasing access to a variety of post-graduate education and research opportunities within the academy. Sharing an interest in critical pedagogies, artists see graduate education and research not as a restraint, but as a new opportunity.
The focus on experimental forerunners and graduate art education today allows a new perspective on the future possibilities of arts education. As Sam Thorne observed in a survey of artist-led education in Frieze (Issue 149, September 2012) many artists are ‘eager for an art school today to be self-determined, flexible, small-scale and cheap or free to attend’; and goes on to identify a number of shared preoccupations including the possibilities of and limits to self-organized education; who owns art education in a ‘knowledge-based polis’; what can be ‘borrowed from traditional academies’, and what ‘should be jettisoned’.
The issue editors invite proposals for articles, papers, artist’s pages, diagrams and schematics from academics, artists, educators and researchers that comment on, propose and imagine alternative educational programmes and approaches to research (both inside and outside the academy) and their relation to historical and contemporary models, their methods, processes and ethos, in both the performing and visual arts. We also invite proposals for institutional and non-institutional frameworks for exploratory education and modes of public engagement and inclusion.
We are interested in contributions that build on the foundations of creativity, imagination, and experiment that are not simply predicated on new technological (digital) possibilities and potentials (for all their value) but are also rooted in embodied, experiential and hands-on modes of making, thinking, and doing, oriented towards current and future cultural and social conditions, and concerned with ways that these can be integrated into developing modes of education and research.
Topics for proposal might include:
• experimental and alternatives modes of education
ALL proposals, submissions and general enquiries should be sent direct to the Journal at:
Issue-related enquiries should be directed to issue editors:
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