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12-14 2014


Welcome to this 3 days workshop Socially Engaged Art Practices and Education in Contemporary Discourse, Cittadellarte, July 12-14, 2014. advice) as you arrive to Cittadellarte, complete with a couple of currently missing docs. ting) questions: - what is the meaning, the need, the aim of art education today? - assuming that there is need for art education, what kind of places and organizations can provide environments and setting consistent with such need? art education?

- The Educational Turn: A tentative history and taxonomy of artist-founded education projects, by Ian Alden Russell, curator and educator based in Istanbul, Turkey, currently Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art and Curatorial Practice at Koรง University; - Some questions towards a discussion on university crises and their alternatives, by Federica Martini, curator and researcher, she currently is the Head of Master pro-

, by Ruggero Poi , executive Vice President of Fondazione Montessori Italia, Managing Director of the educational activities of Castello di Masino and C.E.O. of Associazionediidee.

manifesto, Omnitheism and Democracy, as it tions in Cittadellarte fed it and are fed by it.

bly during your stay), the more your contribution will be the result of a joint and cumulative knowledge exercise.

Methodological We are aware that such a group of practitioners and thinkers is very demanding for us as instigators, content-wise and on the organizational side: we know that most of you are experienced in setting up and running shared knowledge environments like seminars and workshops. So, we ask you to help us make the most of your time and energy together here by frankly letting us know what you suggest and expect. responsibility, but we also ask you to come forward with proposals, feedback and availwill advance more direct options to some of you, but please do let us know your own spontaneous proposals with regards to your contributing to the workshop, its methods and its general structure.


We plan to start with an inspirational dialogue with Pistoletto saturday morning. We then plan to devote one half-day session to each of the 3 questions, starting with a

Art and demopraxy �. Finally, as anticipated, be informed that we are implementing a publishing exercise ous ways.

we can make the most of the chance of sharing this workshop with you.

Grazie e benvenuti a Cittadellarte



Art and Demopraxy – Socially Engaged Art Practices and Education in Contemporary Discourse Cittadellarte, July 12-14, 2014. July 12, 1st day 9:50

Piazzetta, Gathering

10:00 – 10:15

, Welcome, Intro, Paolo Naldini

10:15 – 11:15

, Pistoletto guides through his works

11:30 – 13:30

Piazzetta, Pistoletto talk and open discussion

13:30 – 14:30

Cafeteria luogoComune, Lunch

15:00 – 15:15

Sala cervo, Overview, work program, Paolo Naldini

15:25 – 16:05 16:10 – 17:00

Researches - Federica Martini, Some questions towards a discussion on university crises and their alternatives Ruggero Poi, Ian Alden Russell, The Educational Turn: A tentative history and taxonomy of artist-founded education

17:00 – 17:20

17:30 – 18:00

Q1: What is the meaning, the need, the aim of art education in such a landscape?

18:00 – 19:00

Focus groups

19:00 – 19:30

Plenary discussion and wrap up


Cafeteria luogoComune, Demopratic Dinner


Concept, Dance


July 13, 2nd day

10:00 – 10:10

Sala cervo, Overview program, Paolo Naldini

10:15 – 10:45

es and organizations can provide environments and setting consistent with such need?

10:45 – 10:55

11:00 – 12:30

Focus groups

12:30 – 13:00

Plenary discussion and wrap up

13:00 – 14:30

Cafetteria luogoComune, Lunch

14:30 – 15:00

Sala cervo, Juan Presentation – Geographies of Change: What’s the problem? Economy

15:00 – 15:20

Q3: How is the relation between aesthetics and politics being rede-

16:00 – 17:00

Table groups

17:00 – 17:20 17:30 – 19:00

Group activities, poster display and plenary talk

19:00 – 19:30

Closing remarks


Cafetteria luogoComune, Dinner


Sala performance, Cinema, The Square. The square


July 14, 3rd day

10:00 – 10:10

Sala cervo, Wrap up and launch of session Stepping in the game, next UNIDEE

10:20 – 11:30

Focus groups

11:30 – 11:45 11:45 – 13:00

Focus groups and plenary

13:00 – 14:30

Cafetteria luogoComune, Lunch

15:00 – 16:00

Walking Gorgo Moro woods and river Oremo

16:00 – 16:15

Sala cervo

16:30 – 18:30

Follow up and closing session



Art and demopraxy notes for a position paper for the workshop Socially Engaged Art Practices and Education in contemporary discourse, Cittadellarte, July 12-14, 2014

“Assuming that socially engaged art requires a new set of skills and knowledge, art programs engaged in supporting the practice have quickly begun to dismantle the old art school curriculum, which is based on craft and skills... What is replacing it is tenuous at best, and the process often creates a vacuum in which the possibilities are so endless that it can be paralysing for a beginning practitioner. The social realm is as vast as the human world, and every artistic approach to it requires knowledge that can’t be attained in a short period of time. This is, perhaps, the main reason why students often wonder whether as SEA practitioner can be any kind of expert. Disenchanted with poor guidance and with no sense of purpose, students may turn to a social work discipline instead, leaving the conventional tools of art behind. Some believe that it is the future role of art to dissolve into other disciplines; I think such a dissolution would the product of poor education about what the dialogue between art and the world can be.” Pablo Helguera, Education for Socially Engaged Art, 2011.

“In Omnitheism individual thought is constructed through conscious interpersonal relationship, just as in Democracy political action is shaped by participation, exchange and dialogue among people. In Omnitheism and Democracy the interaction between community and individual takes place on the broad and complex plane of relativity and not on the top-down one based on the absolute. As I live amidst the creative labor of people in the world, I have to make use of my art to bring divinity down to a human dimension and cooperate in the formation of a society made up of conscious and responsible people. This is how art creates Omnitheism and connects it directly with democracy.” Michelangelo Pistoletto, Omnitheism and Democracy, 2012.

The University of Ideas the artist Michelangelo Pistoletto. It is an institution that is radically by art, rather than just for art, as most Museums and cultural institutions are. It is an evolving living laboratory that brings together experts and researchers from the constituencies engaged in the practice of social change, with a view to sketching out a 1.

small-scale artistic and cultural practices of social change and democratic innovation

UN, EU and local governmental and non-governmental level) and in the local ecologies where practices unfold in their negotiative and organic dynamic. 7

The aim of the program has been providing participants with inspiration, motivation and tools to activate or develop independent art based initiatives in their local ecologies in order to factually contribute to raise awareness and empowerment on alternative trajectories of value-production or reclaiming of individual and collective good.

spaces, scattered and active throughout the world, implementing art-based practices ary collective dealing with heavy urban challenges in cooperation with communities and

goods, Douala, Cameron) to an arts center for social inclusion based on the idea of Social

model which has also led to melting icecaps and blazing war. The paradox is that few people appear willing to make a change in their own lives and contribute to a historical transformation – the kind of which art and philosophy make us dream, and which the violence of the world makes us desire so intensely�.3 The last decade has not seen the rising of the much evoked creative class, at least not as some Richard Florida enthusiasts would have liked to see; rather, we have witnessed

in a growingly oppressing and impoverishing scenario where welfare and social rights achievements are being heavily eroded4 and a depressive narrative of inevitable decline is played recursively by media and power conserving agencies.

This lock, that might be seen as a latent pressure-raising phenomenon preceding a sudmayor social phenomena on the global scene, such as the massive waves of harsh populism running in most European countries, often absorbed and re-fuelled by extreme right parties, or the current reinstitution of power in some north-African countries where an Arab Spring made its appearance and was painfully set back.

most voted political party in the Country, or dispersed in the veins of civic society, as in



A new level, a sense of almost a movement to break out at another level. I think visible provides the means in which that break out can happen, in which we can start to theorize from one local practice to another and start to develop a sense of almost a movement. A process in which artists are thinking about their ethical position, thinking about what they want to do to achieve the common good rather than a good for themselves. And i think that visible makes the movement of socially engaged

The small-scale artistic and cultural practices of social change and democratic innovation taking place at all latitudes in the in-betweens, left-asides and in the wounds and plies of an increasingly impoverished/social fabric, need tools and ways to come to-

cal and pragmatical value-chain dynamics; also to sometime escape from the constant tween a given landscape of collective imagery and a counterlandscape -building activity resulting from the aggregation of micro-narratives, often actioned by art based initiatives. What pedagogy do we need to tackle this state of lock? How could universities contribute to developing an art of governing art practice) bring to this discussion after decades of experimentation, practices and repacities, vision and skills for living together and managing collective life? And which are these allegedly new skills for demopraxy? Does art own an actual potential to improve way to education and democracy? Is this almost movement of art practices in the social sphere a source of knowledge or a knowledge-production milieu that we could regard as a sort of new academy? What are the areas where this expertise is practiced and investigated? What are the subjects of such an emerging new curriculum? The University of Ideas, like Cittadellarte, was born as an art initiative. It was born by art, of its challenge. It must grow, if it is to remain true to the substantial commitment it has made, with the support of and in network with a variety of subjects with a stake in the The University of Ideas at Cittadellarte is dedicated to this emerging art of government or 7 that looks at art as its main inspiration.

research projects, publications, exhibitions and seminars, working together with universities, corporations, consortia, public authorities, associations and every segment of the social sphere. What we look at, is not the traditional academy dedicated to self-referential art forms. It is rather an immersive, discursive environment where the issues/practices of change-making and change-implementing are brought about, where change-makers art-practitioners 9

agement professional, communication consultants, deliberative democracy pioneers... A new level has to be reached. A school of practical democracy is needed. Where the issue of organization and sustainability are not separated by content and spiritual raison . Community identity and individual autonomy are mutually activation factors. Separations and divisions of disciplines, meaning, level and scale are reunited in a glocal, interlocal vision. We called this demopraxy , and the meaning of the word will be clear by now: it is an attitude where the focus is on practicing and owning a stake in the collective, rather than on power as a position or a right. If, for instance, the notion of demopraxy is brought into the done in order to making the city and how can one contribute to it.

Yes, Education and Politics... but what has art got to do with this? Understandably, it is often asked why should art own a special right to claim a role in the change-making machine that is in constant process.

not resolve also to it in order to tackle the paradoxes and power struggles of collective project intercepts this question. A claim of autonomy and freedom of thought is often put forward: in fact, XX century has would lead to, namely a separation from societal fabric, marginalization, schizophrenic favourable outcomes of such position, can we account for a pretence of independence and therefore higher chance of authenticity, adherence to the real and uncompromised thought. Which will eventually stand for according to artists and artist-led practices an individual/collective. of thought, we have entered the era of empathy the empathic�. If our brains is neurologically structured to connect and interact, who will be better placed than artists? Especially those engaged in relational practices. Can this ment in the social realm?

PROGRAM, towards a curriculum for art and social change agent? ergy with its network, aiming to activate, implement and capitalize on the value brought together in the past years of activity and this seems to be timely with the stage of evolution of the collective and political awareness of the urgency of stepping into action in the collective life. -

Cittadellarte as a collective artwork in itself, rather than merely an institution, is by nature prone to change as a living organism. It stems from an all encompassing vision, centred 10

extensively experimented with the notions and grammar of art in the public sphere, much The underlaying question to University of Ideas, is if and how socially engaged art practices can form a wealth of knowledge instrumental to the implementation of demopraxy. We feel we need to move on from this overarching vision, that serves as a positioning meta.question, and calls for being challenged, contradicted and questioned. UNIDEE curators, practitioners, professionals, scholars and former Unidee residents will come -

Also, the initial workshop will try to address the following questions: - what is the meaning, the need, the aim of art education in the current landscape? - assuming that there is need for art education, what kind of places and organizations can provide environments and setting consistent with such need? art education? ous sub-issues or sub-questions, open to practitioners, scholars, artists, organization leaders, community representatives... interested in experimenting in this investigation of

passing view and at implementing an exchange platform for contributors participating directly or from remote, via interviews, enquiries, interceptions. Planned output is both an

This document is a draft and might be developed and amended; feedbacks are welcome.

Biella, April 25th 2014 Paolo Naldini director Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto Onlus p.naldini@cittadellarte.it skype: paolo_naldini +39 348 35 24 239 11



Edited by Ruggero Poi Translated by Huw Evans CITTADELLARTE EDIZIONI – BIELLA 2012


OMNITHEISM AND DEMOCRACY This is my last manifesto. The manifesto of a human being, at a point in space and time. A being in part natural and in part artificial. Natural in so far as shaped by nature and artificial in so far as shaped by art. An artfully made human being. The aim is to reconsider the foundations of sociocultural structure, specifically religion and politics, reinterpreting them through the new dual concept of omnitheism and democracy. It is my conviction that democracy cannot coexist with monotheistic dogmas. To make this clear I intend to follow the course traced out by art. In 1964 I published an essay that marked the beginning of the period of conceptual art, spearhead of the artistic avant-garde in the second part of the 20th century. In it I declared “[...] a thing is not art, but the idea of that same thing can be.”1 For example: an apple is not art, but the concept of that apple can be art. The fact that the concept, the idea, determines the passage from non-art to art, is an initiation equivalent to the kind found in society, by which one leaves an unrecognized condition and enters a publicly recognized one. The essentiality of “concept art” finds, therefore, the nodal point of connection between art itself and the conceptual conventions that structure the entire social fabric. Following these reflections I began to wonder what could be a possible next step after Conceptual art. And I thought that this might consist in the development of a spiritual art. The cold conceptual enunciation would acquire warmth with spirituality and bring the method of my work to fruition. In fact spirituality, while stimulating the concept, still remains free from a translation into definitive rules. So it is precisely its spiritual component that allows art to avoid being bound by rigid and definitive formulas, unlike what happens in religions.


Michelangelo Pistoletto, I Plexiglass. Turin: Galleria Sperone, 1964.


Advances in modern and contemporary art allow us to define as spiritual a dynamics of research that brings together freedom and responsibility. Spirituality pervades human sensibilities, and is expressed by following our rational and emotional capacities, which are combined to produce effects that are always different. Art is able to pick up and express the broad range of variations essential to spirituality. In 1978, in the manifesto Art Takes on Religion, I declared: “[...] Art takes on religion means that art openly takes over the part represented by the structures that govern thought (such as religion); not with a view to taking their place, but to come up with a different system of interpretation as a substitute for them, one intended to enhance people’s capacity to exercise independently the functions of thought.� At that time I was already working on the interaction between art and society, with the result that the quest for a spiritual art and my involvement in politics ended up coinciding. Now, after a long and carefully-considered period of gestation, I have arrived at the manifesto of Omnitheism and Democracy. My engagement starts out from an exercise of truth that has accompanied, from the outset, all my artistic activity. The mirror has been the principal guide on this journey. So I propose, first of all, to share this exercise with you.


EXERCISES OF TRUTH THE MIRROR What is the function of the mirror? To reflect what is in front of it. If no one is looking at the mirror, does the mirror exist? The answer is no, because the mirror only exists in the eyes and the thoughts of the person who looks into it. The functioning of the mirror can not be separated from reflective reasoning. The mirror reflects you and exists because you look at your reflection in it. Only the exercise of thought makes the mirror work. The mirror exists solely if you recognize yourself in it. The mirror is an optical prosthesis that the brain uses to investigate and know itself. MYSTERY What is hidden in the mirror? Are there mysteries hidden in the mirror? The mirror has no secrets or mysteries, because it does not hide any part of reality. The mirror gives the lie to any arbitrary interpretation that we make of reality. No sign that we utilize to describe our thinking (be it a line, a point, a color, a word, an image or any other form of representation) can give a guarantee of being true, and so it can lie. The mirror presents the images of the things that it has in front of it exactly as they are. So it cannot lie. The mirror is the truth about reality. The word truth implies, in fact, truth about something. The mirror is the truth about things. ILLUSION But isn’t the mirror an illusion? In the first place, the mirror in question is perfectly regular and does not distort. Our perception of the mirror can, however, be veiled by the culture


that has preceded and shaped us. There are cultural conditionings that deceive us in front of the mirror; if we want to see ourselves clearly in it these veils need to be stripped away. The mirror has always been regarded as something magical, because it captures the image of the person, rendering it intangible and impossible to grasp. Magic applied to the mirror feeds superstition, leading to the belief that to break a mirror is to shatter one’s own identity and the certainty of one’s existence. RELATIVITY AND THE ABSOLUTE Does the absolute exist? Life viewed in the mirror appears to us to be totally encompassed in the phenomenon of relativity. The flows that lead to the formation of an image in the mirror are incalculable. Figures arrive from everywhere, approach one another, meet, intertwine and dissolve. In the mirror no form is privileged and the combination of the images takes place through the endless workings of chance, which generate the phenomenon of relativity. The mirror bears witness that the system of relativity is all-embracing. The absolute, in fact, does not exist by itself, detached, distinct and distinguished from relativity, as the latter occupies the whole of time and space. The absolute, therefore, is relativity itself. This is one of the principles that derive from the truth of the mirroring work: relativity is absolute since it has no terms of comparison. CHANCE AND CHAOS What is the difference between chance and chaos? Chance is the height of punctuality, never early or late, just like every instant that is reflected in the mirror. Chance is the combinatorial principle of all images that determines relativity. Chance does not intervene just once but operates always and everywhere, constituting the vortex of chaos. The imponderability of the scene in the mirror represents the chaos that is not disorder, but the only order possible. The singularity of each accident is comprised in the vast vortex of chaos. Chance can be symbolized in physical terms by a ball thrown into a


group of people. Many of them will begin to push it in one direction or another, starting a game. The actions of play, in fact, are designed to steer chance toward the objectives of each player in a head-to-head with the will of the opponent: from tennis to football to the random nature of roulette in which the adversary is chance itself. The game, therefore, is an attempt to coerce chance. Just as people try to guess the number that will come out of the roulette wheel, hoping in an unlikely win, they will put their trust in chance for a miraculous cure when sick. LIFE AND DEATH Does the mirror give us any indication about the question of life and death? The mirror tells the truth about life and death. Every image that appears immediately disappears. It does so by taking the place of the previous one and then yielding it to the next. Thus every image that is born simultaneously dies. The mirror always reflects the present in which life and death are inseparable. The birth and death of images in the mirror corresponds to physical life. Without realizing it, we are passing, instant by instant, through life and death. The incessant dynamics of life and death pervades the entire duration of our existence and stretches out before and after the journey of our existence on this earth. The phenomenon of life and death has to be metabolized mentally, just as already happens in reality at a physical level. We emerge from the universe for the term of our duration in this world, acquiring knowledge and consciousness. In our life on earth there is the possibility of understanding the universe on the basis of the micro-dimension of the continual cycle of life and death, of which the mirror is a witness. THE POSSIBLE Is anything impossible? Impossibility is relative to the possible. Everything that exists comes from the possible and in turn creates possibility. The possible ends when it becomes manifest reality.


The mirror contains all that is possible. The image that presents itself in the mirror today was not there in the past, but was possible. The one that will be seen in the mirror in future is not there yet, but is possible. My presence in the mirror today was already possible when I did not yet exist. In the same way someone who will be born in the future is already within the possibility of the mirror: he just has to come into the world. All the past and all the future are a possible present in the mirror. PARADISE What is Paradise? Let’s put the world of today in the mirror. Now we live in an artificial paradise that we have created for ourselves; a paradise that came into being at the moment in which human beings began to detach themselves from nature by developing their inventive intelligence. So we can say that the First Paradise was the one in which human beings were totally integrated into nature. Then came the Second Paradise, i.e. the artificial one. A period of slow growth, which has accelerated exponentially over the last century, has led to unprecedented progress; this has been accompanied, however, by environmental degradation and consumption of the planet’s resources. Today the whole of humanity is faced with the need to conceive a new paradise on earth, through the connection and integration of the two earlier paradises, the natural one and the artificial one. We are in a moment of epoch-making transition. With the expression Third Paradise we are indicating a possible course for the entire human race: a new world. Aware of the symbolic function of art, I decided to propose a symbol that could be used to represent this course. It is based on the mathematical symbol for infinity, composed of an unbroken line that intersects itself to form two circles. In the Third Paradise the same line forms three circles instead of two. The central one represents the womb of the new society. The word paradise derives etymologically from the Persian word for garden, a place sheltered from the rigors and dangers of nature with the help of artifice. Thus the concept of paradise was born with artifice, and has subsequently been used for its ability to evoke a state of wellbeing free


from worries and filled with beauty and pleasure. This was the invention of the First Paradise, in which primitive human beings, believed to lack the capacity for autonomous thinking, found themselves in a blissful state inasmuch as they were untouched by the suffering that comes from wanting to understand and having to choose. They were not the creators of that Garden of Eden and for that reason it was attributed to an omnipotent god. The architect of the Second Paradise, on the other hand, was humanity itself, which through its own knowledge has attained power over the world; a power so great that it has also become destructive, to the point of contradicting the very meaning of the term paradise. So it is evident that we cannot go back to the state of the First Paradise, but need instead to go beyond the Second, becoming gardeners of the next Eden, i.e. of the Third Paradise, which will put the age of knowledge to good use and usher us into the age of responsibility.


THEISMS “[...] During a performance in 1976, I wrote on a wall ‘Does God exist? Yes, I do!’ This declaration deconstructs the pyramidal structure at the top of which is set an absolute master, typical of monotheism. [...] The monotheistic religions have contributed to the hierarchical and political structuring of the various peoples, between which monstrous conflicts have then arisen. ‘Yes, I do!’ signifies that everyone is God, and thus there is no longer just one god, as he is found in all people: the concept of monotheism has been replaced by that of omnitheism. If my daughter or my nephew were to ask me ‘Does God exist?’, I would answer ‘Yes, you do’ [...].”2 In Omnitheism the concept of god is not excluded, but neither is it exclusive. Indeed it is inclusive since it coincides with each person, that is with everyone. Deism, or the concept of the divine, has ancestral origins and it has been perpetuated to the present day in innumerable forms and through different practices.3 Over time deism has hardened into a number of religious systems that are more extensive and powerful than the others. The religions that have conquered the greatest space in the history of the last few millennia can be classified into several major isms. Pantheism. Literally “God is Everything” and “Everything is God”: a religious or philosophical doctrine that identifies god with the world. Pantheism recognizes in the multiple forms of existence an all-embracing divine principle. Originally, in fact, an attempt was made to give meaning to the whole of existence. A supernatural reasoning. Michelangelo Pistoletto, Il Terzo Paradiso. Venice: Marsilio Editori, 2010. Looking back at the past, the essential function of religions in the great processes of anthropological formation and transformation of the whole world is evident. Religions are true grammars of behavior that comprise the practical rules, social rituals and costumes of small communities as well as of large populations. A micro-religiosity of the tribe or village has always existed everywhere, and has gradually been extended in its idioms and rules to the national and international dimensions of today’s world.

2. 3.


Polytheism. A form of religion characterized by the worship of many different gods, each of them with power independent of the others. Polytheism was conceived as a way of getting the contrasting religions born with the growth of different communities to coexist in a single domain, placing them under the authority of different gods. This served to avert interreligious conflict and promote a single social project, put into effect in the policies of pharaohs or emperors. Monotheism. A religious system that admits the existence of only one god. Monotheism was generated as an expression of resistance to power, a phenomenon that can be recognized in the great struggles waged by peoples enslaved and tyrannized by dominant powers to obtain their rights and the revolutions they have staged all over the world. The religion of the one god became the hope of liberation for the weak and oppressed in every land. A single thought, a single desire, a single faith for all those who cry out for justice, who are seeking salvation, dignity, understanding, equity and respect. Atheism. Denial of the existence of any god. Atheism stands in opposition to Monotheism and any other form of religious belief. This position has become ever more precisely defined over the course of the centuries, and began to find open expression with the development of science. Atheism rejects any abstract entity and any transcendence precisely because it makes the verifiability of any phenomenon its guiding principle.


OMNITHEISM This manifesto presents an artistic and spiritual philosophy that subdivides the concept of god into the singularity of each person: Omnitheism. Omnitheism combines the ancestral principle of pantheism with the modern atheistic vision. There is, however, a basic difference with respect to both, which needs to be made clear. Pantheism brings the existence of each thing back to god and the existence of god into each thing. All this irrespective of human thought. Omnitheism neither denies nor asserts the existence of god, either as a distinct, unique and supreme creative entity or as an entity integrated into every element of the universe, but is founded on the responsibility that derives from a person’s ability to think. In fact the only statement of fact possible is that human thought exists and the perceptible world exists. Just as it cannot be said that the mirror knows that it reflects, it is not possible to assert that the rest of the universe is aware of its existence. Omnitheism is concentrated in the capacity of the human mind to process information, so that the person assumes in full the responsibility of his or her thought and action. Atheism asserts the need to verify every phenomenon. Owing to this need for verification it has not been possible up to now for us to deny or affirm the existence of a cosmic divine principle. However, I consider it necessary to continue research into our relationship with the universe in order to seek answers to questions that have always been at the center of human life; questions so fascinating that they have made thought soar beyond what it is reasonable to think. Yet, even if taken to extremes, the questions are still of a scientific character and we cannot respond to them in mystical terms. Such an unlimited way of thinking, understood as a form of spirituality, cannot in any case leave us indifferent, but needs to be brought back within a complex sensibility comprised between knowledge and personal responsibility.


ART For me any reference to spiritual sensibility is the subject of art. In modern art the religious isms have been replaced by artistic ones. Beginning with the Impressionism of the late 19th century, we have passed through Expressionism, Abstractionism, Cubism, Dadaism and Surrealism, before arriving at the Abstract Expressionism of the 1950s. Through this process art has progressively developed its own intellectual independence. In the fifties the avant-garde artist concentrated on the creation of a form of his own, a sign of his own, and encapsulated every spiritual, cultural and social meaning in it. All religious and political symbols were compressed and fused in the unique, individual, subjective and autonomous sign of the artist. Thus art no longer represented god or any other power and neither did it set out to document ordinary life. The artistic sign has become the symbol of a self-referential thought, free from any subjection. In this way artists have withdrawn from the established systems of power, culturally underlining a sympathy with all those aspirations to freedom, independence, liberation and regeneration that, over time, have promoted forms of popular justice. My thinking is profoundly linked to the modern conquest of autonomy by the artist. But, as a consequence, I have wanted with my work to transfer this artistic autonomy from subjective and personal engagement to engagement with the community. It is in this way that art opens itself up to comprehension, sharing and participation by all. Following the radical intellectual revision carried out by the artistic isms of the 20th century, art has arrived at a reappropriation of the concept of spirituality, identified with Omnitheism, which can be seen as an artistic movement no longer focused solely on artistic introspection, but extended to the practices of social life. The autonomy of the artist is made up of freedom and responsibility in equal measure. Since liberty by itself is dispersed in open-endedness it has, in fact, to be balanced by the determination of responsibility. This quality of art ought to be brought into society through a greater personal assumption of freedom and responsibility. Omnitheism does not exclude the metaphysical side of thinking current in society, but keeps it within a controllable dimension of brief vibration, in which human beings take on themselves the value traditionally assigned to the deity.


Among the exercises of truth proposed earlier emerges the phenomenon of relativity, revealed by the mirror. In relativity are defined both Omnitheism and Democracy, as a principle of identity for both. In Omnitheism individual thought is constructed through conscious interpersonal relationship, just as in Democracy political action is shaped by participation, exchange and dialogue among people. In Omnitheism and Democracy the interaction between community and individual takes place on the broad and complex plane of relativity and not on the top-down one based on the absolute. As I live amidst the creative labor of people in the world, I have to make use of my art to bring divinity down to a human dimension and cooperate in the formation of a society made up of conscious and responsible people. This is how art creates Omnitheism and connects it directly with democracy.


DEMOCRACY Democracy signifies “power of the people.� How can the people exercise power if it is not taken on individually by each person and then extended to everyone else? It is vague and specious to speak of democracy in a merely populist sense. What is needed is to set in motion practices of understanding, awareness and discernment on the part of the individual in the direct relations between people, and then spread them out to encompass the whole of democratic society. The election of political representatives to govern them by citizens is the best that the democratic system offers us today, and yet nowhere has full democracy been achieved. What is getting in the way? Research into behavioral economics has shown the extent to which the factor of individual fraud can estrange the terms of reference in any social, economic or political relationship. For example, the greater the distance that separates the elector from his or her political representative, the less possibility there is of the former being able to keep tabs on the honesty and correctness of the latter’s actions. When the number of steps between the two increases, the opportunities for fraud increase too and the sense of guilt diminishes. It is in this light that the system that regulates the relationship between vote and governance should be reformed. Transferring this observation from the political plane to the religious one, it becomes clear that the distance that is interposed between the believer and god by all the intermediaries that stand between the two makes the possibility of fraud extremely high. Hence the invisibility of god favors the deceit of those who add to this distance. The religious phenomenon, in a reductio ad absurdum argument, could therefore be considered an accepted swindle, as everyone is willing to accept the impossibility of verification and control. So closeness between people is a prerequisite for a genuine rapport, which brought down to essentials takes the form of a one-to-one relationship. Let us look, then, at the case of the mirror, whose division generates two mirrors; and when these two reflect one another they produce an


infinite number of mirrors within themselves. All duality is formed by division. This is as true for the mirror as it is for cellular proliferation: to divide is to multiply. Thus multiplication is consequent on division, and the fact that it is a consequence means that it cannot be a principle. Yet the great economic, financial and political interests treat multiplication as a principle. In fact, on this basis, they have up to now produced accumulation of wealth on the one hand and exclusion and poverty on the other. Democracy, by contrast, can only be founded on the true principle, that of division, which economically and politically finds expression in what in Italian is called condivisione, or sharing. In essence the term condivisione, “dividing with” or sharing, applies both to the omnitheistic spirit, as subdivision of the divine in each of us, and to the practice of Democracy, as subdivision of responsibility in social relations. “Dividing with” means bringing to the other one’s own conscience, consciousness and cognition. In addition, if doing things for gain and without asking for anything in return are both present in equal measure, in a balancing of opposites, the interpersonal exchange will lead to shared wealth. Democracy grows in relation to the degree of sharing between the parts. Sharing is, in the first place, interpersonal and then extends to the global level. Careful, though: if the mutual understanding is restricted to a small and exclusive circle the democratic phenomenon is subverted and diametrically opposite effects are produced. THE GAME OF PROFIT Use of the Web is increasingly within the reach of all. And yet in today’s virtual age the whole of human society can still be subject to rules of the game invented and put into effect by groups made up of very few people. The creativity of a handful of brains is sufficient to lay down the moves by which the entire human race plays. The system of thought that has underpinned all planning for the future up to now has been shaped by the idea that economic growth is the result of construction following destruction (peace and reconstruction after war). The game played by a few, still based today on this principle, can deliberately bring about terrible catastrophes in accordance with the equation: the greater the disaster the greater the profit. In this sense it is no longer a game founded on risky gambles, because money is made in any case, out of winning as well as


losing. There is no longer any need to exploit a large part of humanity to the advantage of one part of it, as happened in the times of colonization, enslavement and lastly immigration. It is possible to act on entire populations directly in situ, managing them from a distance, making them prosper at will or paralyzing them not just through a lack of physical substance (economy), but through computer viruses or other forms of infection. The level of fraud, referred to above, has grown exponentially. REGENERATION How can we develop a healthy conception of life on which to base Democracy, overcoming systems of power that lead to practices that are increasingly distant from the obvious need for a sustainable balance in global society? If we look at reality from the viewpoint of international politics we realize that the word democracy is used as a synonym for the culture of consumption. The system of growth in consumption, which is based on the blackmail of poverty, is still applied as the economic model of democracy. Today many parts of the world are going through the same process of development as the countries of Europe and North America (which have on the other hand begun to experience a slump in growth) and are benefiting from their emergence from conditions of hardship, privation and suffering, as if after a long war. But these nations will soon reach the saturation point that follows rapid growth and the destructive consequences will be on a scale never seen before. Do we have to accept the prediction that catastrophe is endemically inevitable at the end of reconstruction? Personally, I am one of those who are deeply committed to an attempt to move on to renewal while avoiding the abyss that yawns at the conclusion of this disproportionate growth of the artificial world. We are faced with a decisive question, one that has to be tackled in order to reconcile the artificial system of destruction-construction with the natural one of regeneration. The process of nature evidently turns on an alternation of life and death, but is based on a sustainable balancing of these two factors. We, on the other hand, live in situations of profit that lead to the destruction of resources and to disastrous departures from the natural dynamics of widely distributed regeneration. The forest, for example, always looks the same thanks to a continual process of inter


nal replacement, a very different phenomenon from the deforestation brought about by human beings in their quest for profit. MORALITY The underlying problem is of a primarily moral character. We are accustomed to regarding religion as the source, repository, temple and caretaker of morality. Just as we are used to seeing spirituality as a monopoly of religion. But can we consider the metaphysical potentiality of religious faiths sufficient to check abuse of power, degradation, iniquity and the atrocities inflicted by people on people? Can the recourse to divine admonition be enough to avoid the carnage, devastation and mass slaughter wrought by human beings? In the modern era the reliance on transcendence as the arbiter of morality is proving increasingly ineffective, while an ever-increasing barbarism driven by pure cynicism is permeating, corroding and corrupting society all over the Earth. So it is essential to completely reassess the way in which morality is understood and practiced. In the social sphere, this can be compared to the most advanced technological and scientific processes. Nanotechnology is growing increasingly important, as we explore the smallest dimensions of existence in order to understand the effect they have on the universe. Perhaps we need, therefore, to take an approach to morality based on forms of micro-research rather than sticking to the macroscopic one that has been applied up to now. It is necessary to set up debates and forums, networks for the reexamination and discussion of the subject of morality. To take codified forms of ethics and cut away at their structure in order to permit the introduction of new lifeblood, of ideas and procedures oriented toward interpersonal awareness and responsibility. We need to embark on a major process of revision of systems of education, from the school and family level to the sociopolitical one, starting out precisely from those areas in which politico-religious conflict is fiercest. LOVING DIFFERENCES As part of the move toward the shaping of an omnitheistic and democratic morality, I created a work in 2000 entitled a Multiconfessional and


Secular Place of Meditation and Prayer.4 This takes the form of a temple that revives the concept of polytheism, bringing together Judaism, Catholicism, Islam, Buddhism and Atheism in a common space. A unifying element is situated at the center of the space: the Cubic Meter of Infinity, conceived by me in 1966.5 With this work art becomes a catalyst of all the meanings related to cultures of the present, both religious and not. The Cubic Meter of Infinity is a physical object that contains the verified phenomenon of the immeasurably infinite. A multiconfessional place exists in reality too and has been handed down to us by history. It is the city of Jerusalem, but it lacks a symbol proposed by art, like the Cubic Meter of Infinity, that might stimulate the attainment of a balance between its political and religious conflicts, which have ruinous consequences for the world as a whole. The same intention as the Multiconfessional and Secular Place of Meditation and Prayer, but this time with a political aspect, lies behind LOVE DIFFERENCE, Artistic Movement for an Inter-Mediterranean Policy, launched at Cittadellarte in 2002. The path followed by Love Difference proceeds through artistic and cultural operations that unite the various traditions to the most advanced prospects of change. The project has been conceived as a preliminary step toward the establishment of a Mediterranean Cultural Parliament, that would create a vast cultural network and facilitate exchange between the region’s different traditions, religions, education systems, idioms and tastes, with the aim of making possible the birth of a genuine Mediterranean democratic politics. LABORATORY OF DEMOCRACY We see that in the countries to the south of the Mediterranean, where elections have been held after the so-called Arab Awakening, the majority of the population has chosen to vote for parties of a religious denomination. Just as in the Christian Democrat Italy of the postwar period, religion in these nations still constitutes an essential compo Lieu de recueillement et de prière pluriconfessionnel, realized in 2000 at the Paoli-Calmettes cancer hospital in Marseilles. 5. Metrocubo d’ infinito, 1966, mirrors and rope, 120 x 120 x 120 cm. It is a parallelepiped composed of six mirrors facing inward. We see only the back of the mirrors that make up the cube, while on the inside the mirrors themselves are multiplied endlessly.national and international dimensions of today’s world. 4.


nent of politics even where dictatorships have been overthrown. Perhaps the democratic elections in the countries of the Maghreb, the fruit of revolutions organized on the internet, will lead to different solutions from those of the Khomeinist dictatorship which took the place of the shah’s monarchy in Iran. Perhaps these elections signify a shift toward an effective democratization of some Mediterranean nations, but they also demonstrate how deep-rooted is the social and political power of the monotheistic religions. We have to place our hopes in the possibility that, after the popular uprisings, the Islamic parties will choose to veer toward that part of religious morality expressed in terms like dignity, equity, honesty, respect, moderation and solidarity. This is an important step toward broadening the field of understanding on democratic morality. But it is not enough. It is necessary to arrive at a true cultural, spiritual and political emancipation in order for democracy to achieve its full potential. The Mediterranean countries are a genuine laboratory of democracy. But we must not forget that the Islamism of the territories of the Maghreb borders on Israeli Judaism, which represents a community with deep religious roots and powerful links with the Catholic and Protestant religions. We should remember, too, that the northern part of the Mediterranean is dominated by religions like Orthodox and Catholic Christianity. So the development and spread of a true and effective democracy is still dependent on the religious phenomenon and above all on how it acts, or is affected by the politics of a world continually lacerated by war. These intersecting conflicts between religion and politics fuel the most oppressive kind of conservatism and are exploited as part of the extremely risky games played by the powerful; games that are rooted in the form of abuse improperly referred to as liberalism. A genuine experiment in democracy, useful for the rest of the world, may emerge in these countries if those who have felt the responsibility to rebel are able to bring new methods of organization and education to fruition; methods capable of cultivating and operating alternative systems to the previous ones, which are trying to regain control. DEMOCRATIC HORIZONTALITY In view of all this, it is clear that democracy cannot be achieved by following the principle of absolutism, and so the monotheism on which the absolute is based cannot be a reference for democracy.


It might seem that this phenomenon concerns only the great monotheistic religions, but in reality monotheism is also found in cultures characterized by other religious traditions. In these areas in fact the political leader becomes the god of the nation, a one and only deity like the pharaoh or the emperor. The other forms of divinity become a populist expression of this one god, useful for obtaining consensus and legitimizing absolutist power. Monotheism established itself during the persecution of the Jews by the pharaohs.6 The Jewish people were in fact split into unorganized tribes under the central authority of a single ruler endowed with divine nature, like a pharaoh, and this constituted their main weakness. The decision to institute a supernatural sovereignty served to bind them together in their view of themselves as a people and in dealing with the most adverse conditions. Thus monotheism once again proposes the direct connection between political power and religious belief, raising the concept of absolute power to the level of the sublime. Following the direction indicated by the verticality of the absolute leads to the re-creation of dictatorships, incompatible with the evolution of democracy. Omnitheism is not based on specifically religious aims, but on necessities springing from the achievement of democracy, which depends on the growing consciousness and understanding of the individuals who make up society. As we move toward new practices of sociopolitical equilibrium it will be possible to replace the concept of power, i.e. –cràtos, with that of practice, i.e. –praxis, and speak of demopraxia.7 So the work that remains to be done is to develop these good practices. For instance, the symptoms are emerging of a real change with respect to a millenary practice that has assigned religious and political authority to the male gender. The idea of universal male and female suffrage began to surface with the Enlightenment, but was only put into practice in the last century and in some parts of the world. The representatives of the great religions are all of the male sex, while the female figure remains subordinate.

A historic decision to impose a monotheistic faith was taken by the pharaoh Akhenaten in the 14th century BC, for which reason he has been called the Heretic. The attempt was not successful and was never made again in ancient Egypt. 7. Paolo Naldini, “L’Arte della Demopraxia”, in Arte al Centro di una Trasformazione sociale responsabile. Biella: Edizioni Cittadellarte, October 2012. 6.


THE SYMBOL OF THE NAVEL The center of each person is the navel, the umbilicus, a natural symbol of life, formed with the cutting of the umbilical cord that connects every human being to the mother’s womb. The instinct to preserve the children she brings into the world is part of woman’s psycho-physical constitution. She has to be considered the protagonist and crux of humanity’s prospects for survival on the planet. The central circle of the Third Paradise is the emblem of the procreative womb of a new humanity, which through democracy and omnitheism will be able to beneficially combine opposing terms like just and unjust, good and bad, war and peace, construction and destruction, dignity and degradation, hope and despair, emotion and reason... These polarities are characterized by a moral sense that implies a daily choice on everybody’s part. Female and male together find in the symbol of the Third Paradise the sign of their union for a new society. CITTADELLARTE The Dalai Lama has explained to the world that an ethics has to be found that goes beyond religions. This is desirable since we have reached the point where a genuine anthropological mutation has become a necessity. The scientific and technological powers we have attained show how pressing is the need for a moral and social awareness commensurate with the means we are using. This transformation will be brought about by bringing conscience and consciousness together in a dynamic mechanism that produces responsibility as the third element. With this intention in mind I set up Cittadellarte in 1998, a laboratory made up of experts on and researchers into various sectors of the social fabric with the aim of inspiring and producing a responsible change in society. The name Cittadellarte incorporates two meanings: that of citadel, in other words an area in which art is protected and well defended, and that of city, which corresponds to the idea of an openness to the world and a complex interrelationship with it. Cittadellarte, in fact, pursues the objective of combining the aesthetic qualities of art with a substantial ethical commitment to produce a real transformation in every area of civil society. With this resolve Cittadellarte is helping to steer the profound and epoch-making changes underway in a responsible and beneficial direction, thereby extending the initial idea of City to that of Civilization of Art. We are entering a new phase of society, one of which we are all co-authors.


THE THEOREM OF TRINAMICS Trinamics is the dynamics of the number three. It is the combination of two units that gives rise to a third distinct and new unit. In Trinamics the three is always a birth, which occurs by fortuitous or deliberate combination of two subjects.8 Trinamics comes into effect in the process of conjunction, connection, combination, conjugation and interaction of two elements that are in themselves simple or complex, such as two cells or two people. This dynamics is found in chemistry and in physics, extends to the physiology of bodies and can even be applied to social life in its cultural, political, economic and religious aspects. The sign-formula of Trinamics is the emblem of the Third Paradise, which describes graphically the process in which two opposing circles generate a third circle between them. An example of Trinamics is provided by Omnitheism and Democracy, two different subjects that produce a new social system when joined. Given the significance of the proposition, it is necessary to start from the origin. I’m not in a position to tell whether duality arises from the division of zero, i.e. the nonexistent, or from the division of an existing unity. But I can divide the mirror that is both a nonexistent form, inasmuch as it is a neutral possibility of ref lection, and a tangible physical material. In and of itself the mirror does not exist without something physical in front of it. However, this nonexistence is a “nothing” that contains “everything.” The first polarity evident in the mirror is the simultaneous presence of nothing and everything.9 The image is the derivative, the third element, that unites both the physicality of the presence in front of the mirror and the intangibility that is in the mirror. At this point I work on the image which, in the Quadro Specchiante (Mirror Painting) - created in 1962, implies two new polarities In Italian, the expression per combinazione, “by combination,” also means by chance, reflecting the nature of chance as a combinatorial phenomenon. 9. Starting from an analysis of the extreme temporal dimension, we can say that a journey in time taken to its maximum velocity results in the cancellation of time itself. By contrast, in the slowing down from the Temporal Nothing space is generated. 8.


contained in phenomena: the time and space of reality. In the Mirror Painting we find the relationship between two extremes: one is the static character of the fixed image, presenting a single instant of time, and the other is the variation caused by the continual succession of instants. The static figure is the product of a photograph stuck on the mirror, while the figures in movement are the ones ref lected in the mirror itself. Thus the Mirror Painting is the place of connection of these polarities, immobility and movement, and so becomes the Trinamic phenomenon. The phenomenology of opposites combined in the picture embraces other polarities, such as depth and surface, singularity and multiplicity, absolute and relative, order and chaos... In short the very concept of positive and negative. They are harmoniously united in the Mirror Painting, which eliminates contrasts and reveals the unlimited space of coexistence. The Mirror Painting helps us to think and act consequently. The Theorem of Trinamics describes an unlimited system that comprises the relationship between different elements and the continual production of third elements. It is the formula of creation. The sign of the Third Paradise captures emblematically the significance of the Mirror Painting and becomes a symbolical synthesis of the Theorem of Trinamics too. The poles of comparison of the Third Paradise are the outer circles: i.e. nature and artifice. The central circle is the third element. It consists in the creative process that takes human society to a third stage. As an artist it is not my intention to get involved in the scientific debate among physicists over the existence of a principle of determination of the universe. What I can note, however, is that in the practice of living we continually have to deal with the relationship between the indeterminate and the determinate. We ourselves are determinants in the period of our existence. People experience the indeterminateness of freedom and the determinateness of responsibility for their own actions, which affect society and shape it. The extreme freedom that art has attained comes to bear maximum responsibility. The whole of the artificial process has been conducted artfully and through Trinamic combinations civilizations have determined their living environment, their


state. The attainment of a balance between freedom and responsibility generates, as a third element, a truly democratic society. POWER Results derived from duality do not in themselves herald an ethical development in society. Let us look for example at the concept of power. To this end it will be useful to refer to a photographic work of mine from 1975, entitled La conferenza (The Lecture). A speaker stood in front of an audience made up of twenty people. A camera was given to each of them. The audience photographed the lecturer and at the same time the lecturer photographed the audience. At the end we reproduced the image of the lecturer twenty times, while the whole audience was reproduced in a single image, the one taken by the lecturer. This is a photograph of power: the whole of the public is concentrated in the person of the speaker, while the person of the speaker is multiplied by the number of people that are in the audience. The lecturer can be someone who speaks to us in the name of god and then the audience is all the people kneeling in front of god. The lecturer can be the dictator and the audience can be the people who listen to him. In this case it is clear how the relationship between the two elements, viewed from a political perspective, produces a condition of dominance and subjugation. The democratic stance is very different, finding expression in the effort, made by every person, to understand and be understood by everyone else, as represented in another of my works in which everyone takes pictures of everyone else. This generates a chain of mutual projections and comprehensions. Thus the Trinamics effect of the interpersonal relationship radiates out into society, producing a widespread and omnitheistic democracy. MONEY Money meets the requirements of the Theorem of Trynamics in so far as it is a third element created through mediation between the parts. It came into being with the function of facilitating exchange between human capacities and activities, in precise quantities and qualities.


The purpose of currency is to symbolize the values that are proper to things and people. Over time, however, it has lost its function of mediation, in proportion to an ever increasing emphasis on financial speculation. As a result value has been transferred from things to money, invalidating the very reason for which it was invented. Out of this comes the antagonism between money and what it represents. Today we have to find a balance again in the relationship between work, production, trade and shared prosperity, giving money back its original function. So it is necessary to re-create the conditions for an interpersonal relationship where money performs a social function of equitable mediation between values. On the basis of this reflection we can think of a future third element, one that regenerates and introduces innovations into the past. It is not things that are relative to the value of money. On the contrary, money should be relative to the value of things. DOING SOMETHING FOR NOTHING To separate democracy from the destructive model of exponential consumption we need to turn back to the principle of sharing, applying it to the relations between people as well as to those between people and the environment. In doing so the concept of doing something for nothing will become part of the balance again. Nature regenerates itself without expecting anything in return, while human beings no longer seem able to renounce the search for profit. The relationship between human speculation and natural processes has to be brought back into proportion. Profit must take the phenomenon of extensive and balanced regeneration as its guide. All the costs incurred in restoring the balance in the relationship with the environment should, therefore, be allowed for and included in any project. In this way economic speculation is halted before arriving at an irreversible exploitation of the resources of the environment and is committed to keeping profit within the bounds of a natural equilibrium. Doing something for nothing becomes, therefore, an integral part of a continually regenerated economic exchange similar to the one that exists in nature.


Making a profit and doing something for free seem to be opposites, but they can be complementary. They have to find a balance. Profit cannot be regarded as the sole objective. Fulfillment in ordinary life is a value in itself, free of charge and the true aim. People, their time and what they produce are the authentic values, which can be represented economically. The balance between these two extremes, making a profit and doing something for nothing, should be sought, especially in this moment of transformation, through ethical goals to be attained; goals that cannot be achieved if the accumulation of money is the sole aim. Above and beyond philanthropic donations, everyone, from the richest to the poorest, has the space and time to do something for the responsible transformation of society without expecting anything in return. Democracy, in fact, is not the prerogative of a single class. All are called on to contribute politically. It is a question of shifting the desire for the personal accumulation of power and money toward a scheme of universal participation. An example is the celebration of Rebirth-Day, a work of global reach, in which everyone participates with the means at their disposal, voluntarily contributing their own capacity for transformation. SHARING A human being needs another human being. I am one or the other of a pair. No one can accept being really alone, the search for the other is continual for all. God has been created as the other for everyone. If god is one person facing another, god is democracy. If god is one person facing all, it is dictatorship. Direct connection between individuals is essential. The exchange of love is important but not enough, an exchange of authority is needed. I have to be authoritative for you and you authoritative for me. Authoritative does not mean authoritarian. The democratic system is sustained by an authority that spreads and branches out among people, i.e. by the possibility and capacity that each of them has to vouch for the other. I vouch for


you and you vouch for me. It is a matter of creating mutual trust. If believing means trusting, I have to be able to believe in you and you in me: this is the credo of art. If the two of us learn to trust one another we do not have to fear betrayal. Mutual trust, obviously when justified by the facts, solves without any need for sanctions all the problems listed, in the form of commandments, on Moses’s tables. This sharing of trust and authority extends to the dimension of small, medium-sized and large communities and all the way up to society as a whole. Authority is what each of us seeks in the other. If we don’t find it in those who are close to us then we look for it farther away. But distance, as was pointed out earlier, increases the risk of fraud. Democratic society is formed between people who are in close contact and exchange their complementary capacities. In this close exchange the process of Trinamics comes into play, producing a third element: that of participatory and collective politics. The Web increases the possibility of meeting at a distance while maintaining a relationship of proximity between people. In this sense participatory politics takes on planetary dimensions. FROM DEMOCRACY TO DEMOPRAXIA In democracy organizing does not mean constructing the pyramid of your own power, but responding to the trust placed in you by creating more trust to give back to society. In 2011, a process of democratic practice was set in motion at the Urban Art Biennale held in the city of Bordeaux. Called Evento, I was responsible for its artistic direction. That occasion saw the opening of the Construction Sites of Shared Knowledge, organized by artists invited to devise and realize meeting places for the participation of bodies like neighborhood associations, schools and social and cultural centers. The program of the Construction Sites was drawn up in such a way as to offer all the residents of the city a chance to find out whether they were capable of organizing joint activities. Proceeding along these lines democracy becomes demopraxia, a dai


ly practice founded on a coming together of differences to give rise to shared third projects. Experiences like these are of value in so far as they lead to the development of new educational research laboratories and need to be promoted more widely.

Michelangelo Pistoletto, 2012



Some questions towards a discussion on university crises and their alternatives Federica Martini Introduction It is pointless to discuss the ‘function of the university’ in abstraction from

questions might arise as to the function of the university and the problems that are pressing. 1

concerns precisely the origin of the problems attributed to the Academia. This interrogast cen-

assume a historical angle, the condition of impasse appears as a constitutive trait of the academic identity. A cyclical event, over the last two centuries recurrent crises have forced institutional revisions of the University main scopes, i.e. to produce research and pass knowledge on to younger generations and adults. A set of tasks that necessarily

When not voluntarily pursued by the institution itself, reforms of curricula and cultures of research have been prompted by Governments, social parties and the economic world. Connected to these changes, academic upheavals occur at times when dissenting voices challenge the ability of the University to respond to social and economic changes in th

democratization in higher education took place, responding to new perceptions of labour brought along by the Industrial Revolution and the birth of modern national states. Also functioning as a smokescreen that provides cover for economical and political agendas, th

identity: tives to the Oxbridge exclusive rule; oped the écoles pratiques des hautes études in order to compensate the lack of practice in theoretically-oriented faculties; sics high school curriculum was no longer the only option to access academic studies. th

when a second wave of crises contested the narrowness of academic curricula. The aim -


the academic mission was criticized based on the belief that citizens have some stake in the forms and sources of public and private funding supporting Universities. century in conjunction with civil society protests and relates with a general political unrest as well as with cultural contradictions inscribed in the way academic institutional narratives were constructed and delivered. st

of accomplishments co-authored by Governments, economic change and the Academia itself. Individual teaching and research that explored and practiced alternative learning situations within the Academia and as a response to its curricula and policies remain, by contrast, almost invisible in most accounts.3 Self-referential academic histories ignore the number of counter-cultural experiments that were eventually included in University th century workthey present critical studies academic curricula as an adaptation to the times, and not -

the daily practice of the Academia has consequences in the actual possibility for this institution to foster change from the inside. added, in medieval times, the notion of corporatism motivated by the desire to share knowledge. Triggered by this claim to wholeness, institutional histories present universi-

reinforces the dominance of its model4 introduction of post-colonial, cultural and gender studies in academic curricula. Teachof again narrowing down the scope of Universities to a limited Eurocentric experience, at the expenses of non-Western alternative learning institutions. -

century. A crisis that was solved before it even began, as the reforms sion of the University proposed by Governments and transnational bodies cracked under st

hand, by nostalgic of the pre-reform University model, blame the current crisis to the neo-liberalisation of education, leading to the assault on scholarship perpetrated by state On the other side, students and civil movements equally contested the neo-liberalisation of education, but without regret for the University model preceding the reform. Their protest brings into question both the persistence of hierarchical and authority-driven learning models 43

characteristic of the pre-reform University, as well as the validity of academic curricula at porary social issues.

ing the publicness and accessibility of University studies, and by extension, real chances of social mobility. Secondly, the assumption that Universities are isolated from society is downturn main perpetrator.

ones, especially when it comes to the social background of the people involved. In the demic elitism.7 Furthermore, social movements do not ask for broadening of Universities -

reform the actual University system, the question now is whether this model makes sense at all. A critique that is joined by new academic subjects who traditionally belonged to and by non-Western higher education experiments such as the Uganda-based Multiver-

In this context, it is worth considering that the core of the problem with Universities may solving, through one and only Western model, the whole higher educational dilemma. Where free universities and community-based educational projects have proven that the need for international circulation of ideas does not imply un-rooting education from local in favour of universal and all-inclusive claims. Articulated as a glossary, this paper tries to account for some institutional and countercultural ideas that have been recurrently engaged in the debate on academic models. The connection between reforms and vocabularies adopted in the protests will be used to explain the scope and challenges of recent and historical academic overturns. The reason for this choice is that the nature, sources and motives of the words employed

tools for framing the educational agenda that they designate.


Crisis 3. a: ing; especially: one with the distinct possibility of a highly undesirable outcome <a crisis> b: a situation that has reached a critical phase <the environmental crisis>

crises in global terms Does the University today has what is called a raison d’être?... To ask whether the University has a reason for being is to wonder why there is a University, but the question “why” verges on “with a view to what”? Jacques Derrida11

Nominated Professor at Large at the Cornell University, in his inaugural address Jacques Derrida assessed recent changes of approach in academic research and teaching, and raison d’être” of the University itself, and the opportunity for it that of other research institutions sometimes considered better suited to certain ends.” a raison d’être

inseparable from the preceding ones.”13 state: it is now centred instead on multinational military-industrial complexes or technoeconomic networks.”14

and Italy, inscribe particular national problems in a transnational frame. What happened

problems to be discussed globally. On the other hand, following a comparative paradigm,

shared questions to be solved beyond national borders, as we see in this extract from the

The current conditions and developments within the education system are no longer acceptable! Worldwide more and more aspects of public life are being restructured and do not primarily serve the common good anymore. forces of the market”. For several years a focus has been put on the public education system form” it as well: Tuition fees and have an impact on all of us. The current clearly shows that decisions solely based on competitive criteria have severe consequences. In many countries, such as Mexico, Spain, Italy, France and Greece, people are protesting seen in relation to this background. 45

I underlined in this claim a few key-terms: - public life & serving the common good vs. the forces of the market;

demic context that was interpreted as the expression of a particular State policy, starting the neo-liberal system. Even though the academic system has been regularly accused of acting as an Ivory Tower, as seen in the previous paragraph, the arguments in favour of public education highlight the rootedness of universities in society and the consequent need to defend them in the context of a general humanist claim. In this light, the object system should subscribe to.

crisis, which society so¡ci¡e¡ty noun Society is now clear in two main senses: as our most general term for the body of institutions and relationships within which a relatively large group of people live; and as our most abstract term for the condition in which such institutions and relationships are formed. The interest of the word is partly in the often dif-

part of a more general crisis in civil society. The Rectors of European Universities underbetween the Academia and society is claimed as a fundamental value: The university is an autonomous institution ently organized because of geography and historical heritage; it produces, examines, appraises and hands down culture by research and teaching. To meet the needs of the world around it, its research and teaching must be morally and intellectually independent of all political authority and intellectually independent of all political authority and economic power.17 Far from being a mere declaration of principle, the insistence on the historic connection between University and society also responds to major criticism against the Academic system, i.e. its withdrawnness from society and, more precisely, its detachment from the labour market, an aspect, this latter, which is measured in terms of employability. Following this line, recent reforms of higher education have been presented as the chance for Process, the ticket to modernity corresponded to the dismantlement of diverse national academic traditions in favour of the Northern American model. Presented as a reform that meant to enhance international exchanges and at the same time respect diversity and the

Salamanca Summit, the terms of the discourse have radically changed and the missions of the University are described through a new set of words:


empowering universitiesâ&#x20AC;? and the duty of responsibility;

employability on the European labour market, quality assurance creditation) and competitiveness at home and in the worldâ&#x20AC;? are listed among academic main goals in a list that never refers to notions of teaching and research. The words employed in the Salamanca Statement refocus the debate about contemporary universities on the relationship between theory and practice. The issue has been and, in this respect, the foundation of the Ecoles pratiques in France and the anarchist the practical turn the university, which is as much about pedagogy as research, does not

skills that are immediately expendable in labour market. An extreme development of this


Critical to this conversion, the sociologist Richard Sennett has delivered to the pages of the Guardian some observations on professional rigidity caused by the of the University:

young people for the work world, at least as they now attempt to do. Part of the problem is management and there are no jobs for hotel caterers you are, as it were, in the soup. Moreover, universities have expanded massively the numbers of students taking supposedly practical courses, making the problem of scar-

much better to provide young people with intellectual challenge and depth â&#x20AC;&#x201C; which is what universities are properly about. The number of jobs would not thereby increase; the integrity of the academic enterprise would. Another term of the Salamanca Statement that requires scrutiny is the notion of competitiveness, presented the reforms as an antidote to the waste of public money and a guarchoice between competition and collaboration reveals an ethical position with respect

Consider, for example, the competitiveness fostered in the university, in fact, serves an educational purpose. Certainly it does not prepare the student for the life of a scholar or scientist. It would be absurd to demand of the working scientist that he keeps his work secret so that his colleagues will not know of his achievements and not be helped by his discoveries in pursuing their own studies and research. Yet this demand is often made of the student in the classroom.


What Chomsky suggests here is that imposing competitiveness on educational systems highly dysfunctional when it comes to keep consistent with academic fundamentals. For example, the race to publish and the privatization of knowledge may turn up in challeng-

tation from the language in use, reforms have emanated from a general vocabulary shift, -

is that the social model imposed over Universities may be inadequate both for the Academia and contemporary societies.


teach–in noun an extended meeting usually held on a college campus for lectures, debates, and discussions to raise awareness of or express a position on a social or political issue. lib·er·tar·i·an noun a person who believes that people should be allowed to do and say what they want without any interference from the government free university noun free u·ni·ver·si·ty A nontraditional educational program of courses often taught by nonprofeswithout prerequisites at low cost or at no cost. nections were established between the Academic protests on the one hand and, on the st

century does not imply that both sides accept or validate the University status preceding the reformed university and its complicity with dominant social and economic models. On this ground they question the very heart of the academic system, based on top-down

to act as platforms for social change. native pedagogy projects are enacted globally as part of the protest, including a network of Occupy University cells and Free Universities proposing alternative learning situations based on horizontal knowledge sharing, the desire to learn and self-learning. st

century line of academic critique strongly resonates with alternative models from teach-ins”, a practice that recalls, as their name -

to the specialized, departmentalized education of the conventional classroom.” As most

concerns as citizens. In this context, the missions of US mass education and the partiality rary History, Afro-American and Women Studies, as well as contemporary cultural prac-

Free Universities proposed a vision of the student as a cultural producer and, in the line of libertarian schools, they built an educational programme that called for a revision of knowledge transmitted through academic curricula. A poignant example of this trajecsion programmes had opened up higher education to less radical parts of the working


questions, and challenges the kind of knowledge which is researched and taught in the

recounts it through his daily experience of bringing up a hawk. On a more hollywoodian note, the anti-authoritarian turn required of Academic studies is rendered by Robin WilDead Poets Society, where students are invited to mount on top of the classroom tables

On the side of universities, the cultural turn allowed a radical change in the research, on the one hand by applying to popular culture the methodologies used in the study of high

oral history and micro-history. If the research program of these departments was so radically renewed in the face of the enlargement of the concept of academic knowledge, their pedagogical program, however, largely followed the traditional university agenda.

an expression of a subjective desire. A view of the widespread need to learn useful things The Whole Earth Catalog a mail order catalogue devoted to the daily needs of new communalism, including tools

as well get good at it. So far, remotely done power and glory - as via government, big business, formal education, church - has succeeded to the point where gross defects obscure actual gains. In response to this dilemma and to these gains a realm of intimate, his own inspiration, shape his own environment, and share his adventure with whoever is interested.â&#x20AC;? This program of individual emancipation through independent education will be elothinker Paolo Freire. In his Pedagogy of the Oppressed

ing that relationship within the context of reality), propose the transformation of reality itself so that universities can be renewed, attack old orders and established institutions Counteracting the academic tradition that positions the teacher as the learning subject, and relegates students to the role of objects, Freire brings along the notion of coscientização, i.e. a condition of awareness of the surrounding reality that is a necessary premise towards a pedagogy of emancipation. Pedagogy of the Oppressed was published, Ivan Illich carries out advocacy for a deschooled society, where education takes place through learning webs

In the lack of a comprehensive history of alternative academic experiments detailing 50

positions provide a nonetheless clear image of the terms at work in radical pedagogy. nistic position that equates education with a social need not enslaved to the economic principles in force. Along with these statements, at the beginning of the twentieth century a group of French rejection of achieving refus de parvenir individual promotions in the context of trade unions, politics and the university.â&#x20AC;? In this perspective, the vertical pattern of the traditional academic curriculum is replaced by the idea that education is an open-ended process not only directed at young people but also adults. The refusal to be successful was in the background of several anarchist educational projects already in the century, including the Spring Hill community animated by cesses through a distribution system where products were paid according to the working should not be based on the function performed by the worker, but on the working time prenticeships with the promise of accessing privileged knowledge that would guarantee

Hill educational programme proposed a time exchange scheme between students and selves the proper reward of labour in adult age, we must give them the proper reward of their labour in childhood.â&#x20AC;?31 Other anarchist pedagogical experiments include American versions of the Modern School

and manual tasks are equally essential. Renouncing to the pressure to be successful, the Modern School focuses on the free exchange of ideas at conferences-debates and is disseminated through the pages of self-produced publications. Times and methodologies of learning are induced by the learner, with respect to which the teacher positions him/herself as just another learner that facilitates and encourages the exchange. An important element of the Modern School is that its mandate emanates from the complace. In this sense, the Modern School is nourished by its educational program as well

Popular University of Social Movements (PUSM) Sousa Santos during the World Social Forum. The objective of PUSM is not to educate the leaders of social movements, but rather the creation of an environment in which antihegemonic knowledge useful to the social transformation can be processed, discussed and archived for future reference. The PUSM project is based on the observation of two fundamental lacks of the institutional academic system. While not denying that radical forms of knowledge can emerge within the University, nonetheless such knowledge will to truly alternative theoretical positions and trans-disciplinary approaches will necessarily be reduced to the academic department logic.


ent visions of the relationship between theory and practice. The knowledge that interests PUSM prompts to action, as it is produced and discussed in the context of a political and social urgency. In this sense, as de Sousa Santos highlights, there is a need for a theoreticlarify their methods and objectives.â&#x20AC;? For this reason, PUSM is organized as a network of knowledge, which program develops from the methodological and policy issues raised in the daily practice of the movements. cussed and is determined by meeting opportunities. The temporality of the PUSM program is dilated and alternates regularly spaced moments of encounter, with sharing moments responding to demands from the current social debate. The example set by anarchist schooling and deschooling projects re-emerge in UK al-

model of the teach-out. Already explored by the Occupy movement and more recently by Gezi Park Istanbul protests, the teach-out is a sustainable and local initiative that aims to foster debate and exchange of ideas in public space. Their basic infrastructure is constituted of temporary libraries, debate situations, common writing boards, as well as social media. Their desire to remain outside the Academy is a statement on the privatization of growing increasingly private due to the limitation of its accessibility. The new rise of alternative higher education programs implies that public universities are today counterbalanced by two options: on the one hand, the private university, expensive, whose program is determined exclusively in the labour market. On the other hand, a completely public university, which does not require tuition fees, which program is with the teachers. Among these numerous experiments, three types of alternative universities seem to elab-

1) The mixed associations of academics, students and citizens who create an alternative degree outside the university. Exemplary in this respect the work of the Social Science Centre (SSC), founded in autonomous and self-funded association of teachers-scholars and students-scholars that is supported through donations from members who may, without obligation, donate the equivalent of one hour of their monthly salary. The school curriculum incorporates the system of academic degrees, albeit radically renewing the regular university -

scholar. Specializing in social sciences, the SSC hopes to create other centres focusforms of higher education.â&#x20AC;? The horizontal construction of the academic degree was also practiced by the Free 52

University of Liverpool micians and artists in a time when in France and Switzerland the relationship between

The focus on the relationship with the local community and the public nature of learning From the experience of the Tent City University, site for learning and protest developed by Occupy London, up to The Space Project of The Really Open University in movable within the city) and partly situated in a regular meeting place. Plus, inevitaa situation for sharing information, texts, bibliographies and audio-visual materials.

are experimenting with massive education and distance learning on a global scale, free digital cultures. In independent academies, the relationship with the local community further invites comparison with universities on the ground of the sustainability of the big campus model. The attitude of the community-based alternative pedagogy contrasts with the antidote to the academy mass. Responding to the shortage of classrooms, several urban universities have displaced teaching and sometimes also research activities from their headquarters to decentralized branches. Often proving less attractive than the central university, in particular because of the reputation of the faculty, with few exceptions the branches were quickly perceived as second-class universities and as a consequence of this, the practice of regional decentralization was abandoned. Since the end of the nineties, the decentralizing trend has come back to age, but this time on an the Middle East has become a major business for Western Universities. This academic that are equally franchising methodologies and knowledge to so called developing countries. A point that has raised criticism about the risk of cultural imperialism and privatization of the university mission. 3) The notion of digital space as a network of knowledge linking together community-

a period during which several other utopias of open knowledge emerge. Since the early a broad debate on intellectual property and the notion of scholarship. Following the introduction of bibliometrics, the limitation of peer reviewing to an elite of scholars was

learning culture promoted by alternative universities is extended, though more episodically, also to research activities that seem to be focused, for the time being, especially st century social movements. Their pressure on the academic system has nonetheless provoked a scholarly response, particularly with the discussion about Participatory Action Research (PAR), a methodology that includes civic engagement among research strategies and invite to develop research activities in collaboration with the community, this latter seen as a research subject, and not as an object of inquiry.33 53

Research, Open access, Digital Cultures: The Problem with Humanities research noun The systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions: the group carries out research in geochemistry medical research he prefaces his study with a useful summary of his own researches Example sentences: The fact is that medical research is not concerned with the welfare of animals, and nor should it be. A place for qualitative research in systematic reviews now seems established. open access Example sentences: A system where users of a library have direct access to bookshelves.

digital humanities The Digital Humanities are an area of research, teaching, and creation concerned with the intersection of computing and the disciplines of the humanities. -

I read Una Ikea di UniversitĂ again, after eleven years. When Professor Maurizio Ferraris gave a conference by the same title at the University of Torino, I was about to graduate in Northern American Literature with a dissertation on Contemporary Art. I was the precise target of his conference, one of those students in Scienze della Comunicazione that Fer34

Whereas some of my colleagues found his position conservative and discriminatory, I went to the conference as an undercover supporter. I had made choice of dissociating myself from our Frankestein-like study plan that mixed up sociology, semiotics, marketing, history, linguistics, history of science, philosophy, cognitive psychology and a num-

Humanities and gladly welcomed the digital humanities discourse. Students who foljob market would have valued. Unconvinced by this argument, some students forced the curriculum out of its multiple personalities syndrome, and signed up for an extensive sic


studies), and other new departments were created to meet professional needs. Ferraris wittily summarizes this change in a three-phase chronology: Phase 1 teach, therefore new chairs of cinema history are established. Phase 2 students causes a shortage of classrooms, and courses are taught in 54

cinemas and theatres. Phase 3 crease, there is no more need of cinemas, but to get someone in the classroom it becomes necessary to invite Claudia Koll. Phase 1

The War Between the Tates. Confronted with the emergence -

by their students and children. Phase 2 corresponds to the mass-inclusion of popular knowledge in universities, as parodied in the Professor Jack Gladney experience as head White Noise here to decipher the natural language of culture, to make a formal method of the shiny gum wrappers, and detergent jingles.â&#x20AC;?37 Phase 3 May We Be Forgiven protagonist, the Nixon scholar Harry Silver, who is dismissed from his functions like a contemporary Willie Loman, in favour of a young scholar in future studies who gets better We are now traversing Phase 4, and the new Jack Gladney may be a professor of digital humanities. In order to reduce infrastructure costs, his introductory courses may be soon broadcasted exclusively via MOOCs -

MOOC module includes an extremely limited bibliography and assignments are reviewed away from participative platforms such as aaaaaaaarg.org, open to free book-sharing and collective bibliography-making.

students more directly connected with research. And the teaching subject of Gladney, the means for disseminating knowledge and the research questions. The circle is complete, and at this point for Gladney, the distinction between fundamental and applied research is no longer necessary. In the introduction to his book Electronic Monuments, Professor Gregory L. Ulmer quotes

Ulmer comments the statement criticizing the misunderstanding that research provides practical solutions to problems, like in applied research. He assumes that the distinction between these two research practices still makes sense, even though the raise of new

positions are easier to distinguish in sciences than in the humanities. However humanities are today also joining the notion of applied research through their inclusion in a new distinction between applied and fundamental research, we may imply that pure research


applied research in a theoretical perspective is due to the fact that this distinction was imposed politically and from the outside, without a real intellectual debate that would -

fundamental research, relegated to the stereotype of being only indirectly connected to

questions outside Europe. The convergence of new and old researching subjects in simitionally considered to be practice-led the research turn meets enthusiasm but also a number of detractors, the University is clearly determined to preserve the monopoly of the research activities. The position is still too unclear to be discussed in detail, but it can be analyzed in relation with the cultural impact that digital technologies have exercised

lose sight of the main issue, i.e. the development of a research ethics that can be shared with anyone, academic or not, who meet the requirements of scholarship, independence main a privileged site for the research, although they can no longer claim a role as sole author of knowledge at a time when, paradoxically, a Wikipedia entry is more widely peer-


Ruggero Poi


- The decrease of the Small Schools - Rethinking School

- O Sementinha: to make a tree you need a little seed

- Short bibliography of references

dox school

By nature, an innovation originates in a marginal context where it can spread enough to show its usefulness, without being squashed by the inertia and the orthodoxy of the system. Kevin Kelly, co-founder of Wired Magazine

Traditional school, which has become expression of an educational orthodoxy and which was built on the plant of the industrial revolution and designed to supply workers to the factory, has been in a crisis for a long time and needs to be rethought. The school is in a crisis and many teachers are already looking for new reference modbecause the employment world has changed and relies on autonomous and creative people, characterized by a free and dynamic way of thinking. In substance, the school Our brain has evolved to help us operate in a dynamic environment, move classroom and listen to someone giving away information.â&#x20AC;?

romantic, structuralist, constructivist, cognitivist... Whole books have been written to delineate the history of modern pedagogy, books which delve into the lives of personalities and a short time this story would be too complicated, or even impossible without being imprecise and absolutely generic. It is probably more useful to give this research a dif57

ferent slant, concentrating on the systems of power and practices which have produced the school model established in most world countries, like: timetables, bells, classrooms, teacher, school bags, text books, lesson, written test, homework, oral test, mark, report cards, pass and fail, holiday. The sedimentation and radicalization of this model were geopolitics and economic choices, i.e. the capitalist democracies and their bureaucra-

ing to answer some preliminary questions: are there schools already following curricula imbued with democratic ethics? Is there a debate in course on the subject? What I deem more interesting is a brief research into the experiences which introduced the theme of democratic morals into the school, the practices, the voices of the people already working on a reorganization of the school system to free the human being from the ties of habits not only outdated but above all noncurrent and damaging to the planet and to

of each community.

Small School In her article published on Rethinking school, Deborah Meier, American educator, founder of the Small School Movement and director of Central Park East alternative school in

The school change we need cannot be undertaken by a faculty that is not convinced and involved. Even when teachers are engaged, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tough to change the habits of a lifetime, embedded as such habits are in the way we talk about schooling and the way our students and their families expect it to be delivered. Such a task must be the work of the participants themselves in a climate of self-governanceâ&#x20AC;?.

to educational reforms is that they are not applicable to big realities, that they are phecome the resistance of the administrators and of bureaucracies built on a standardized system manageable without getting too involved, without particular attention to people. To change the school system we need to change our way of thinking, our mental habits, ents, students and their friends. The big opposition to school marking often comes from competitors on the school market, without making them involved in the community as active members. The absurdity is that, even reasoning along the lines of competition, a marking system is -

across the same school, the same country, and even more across the world. If marking 58

According to Dan Pink, former speech writer for Al Gore, it can:

- decrease performance - inhibit creativity - encourage cheating, shortcuts and unfair behaviours - create dependency - favour a short term thought

value. A democratic country should make laws so that every school is fed with the posEducating a Democracyâ&#x20AC;?, Meier gree of tolerance towards others, i.e. a genuine empathy towards the others, as much as a high degree of tolerance towards uncertainty, ambiguity and perplexity, i.e. the research of

Ideas â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the ways we organize knowledge â&#x20AC;&#x201C; are the medium of exchange in democratic life, just as money is in the marketplace the currency of the democratic society. Deborah Meier believes that the most direct route ment of learners on their own behalf, and rests on the relationships that develop between schools and their communities, between teachers and their students, and between the

Schools must therefore be small, parents and students should show autonomy and responsibility, the curriculum should be linked to life. Meier thinks that not only schools but also classes should be reviewed and decreased in size. Collaboration requires time. This time cannot be found in a private and domestic dimension, it needs to be found in the

and teachers can get fond of. We need subjects drawing from and close to the experiences of teachers and students, not rules and procedures, election and commissions of

Only in a small school there can be an in-depth discussion able to produce change and to

topics relating to teaching and learning issues. Reporting on her experience at Central Park East school, Meier highlights how they take pride in not having single permanent committees. If a problem arises they can meet without almost any notice, gather in a room, around a table or in a circle, and listen to each tion, classes and sub-classes. This continuing dialogue, face to face, over and over, is a powerful educative force.


development project. And it is by this same token always accessible to the outside world as well as to our students; the school itself is a public deliberative body whose existence short, smallness makes democracy feasible, and without democracy we won’t be able to create the kind of profound rethinking the times demand.”

many possible models). Once we recognize and acknowledge that academia is but one form of intellectual life, we can begin to imagine the other possibilities. Other possibilities don’t mean that all traditional disciplines are now unimportant to us; quite the opposite, they force us to ask how such disciplines are relevant to our inquiries. They make the discipline, however, second to the intellectual inquiry. What determines what we study, the driving criteria, should be the demands of a democratic citizenry, not the requirements of academia.

intention with respect to moral themes, they simply follow the model of academic education. It is also true that, in particular in public schools, some educators consciously choose not to deal with moral issues, because of professional or legal limits, or because of perceived social resistance. Despite this, the moral issue remains crucial in building an authentic school curriculum, and the search for an alternative, for a general rethinking is

“The risk is the opening of a wider and wider, deeper and deeper gap between the places of education, which young people often keep indolently attending, even if without attaching any function to them, and an “implicit curriculum”, based on the ideology of an on line self-education”

son started asking open questions, which would push the students to analyse their social situation in a critical way and encourage them to personally work to change it. Peterson 60

and of the community. The school year often starts with a session dedicated to the stu-

turning the class into an active element in the community debate. These features of collective writing and of a dialogic cooperative approach recall the at-

French primary school teachers, the model was applied by Mario Lodi, for example, who let the life of the community enter into his class in Vho di Piadena and discussed it investigating it with the families and interviewing the locals, ending up with pluridisciplinary forms of -

other people with relevant experience and knowledge, working with them and the pupils was the only or best way of doing things, he said that it was the way it was done in Vho di Piadena, that it was one of the possible ways, and that, following it, both teacher and pupils gained in real life experiences and knowledgeâ&#x20AC;?. In his class Lodi experimented with school correspondence, printing at school, collective writCipĂŹ involved in MCE would themselves share their experiences taking part in summer seminars, in which their practices were the object of an extremely productive pedagogical debate.

sented by key institutions i.e. school, family and community. Using the experience of oppression as a launching pad to understand the world in school could therefore be a huge

understands that the totally absorbing impact of media, television and video games leads children, and not only children, to read and react to social problems with instant, simple and often most violent solutions. In order to avoid this, he concentrates the class activity it into the various parts of the day, as an instrument to read reality.

culture, and social changeâ&#x20AC;?, created formative journeys for future teachers, supplying them with a catalogue of useful instruments to create school communities. To mention a few: creation of newspapers, class meetings, dialogue, cooperative learning, peer tutoring, peer editing, cooperative research, topic teaching, writing workshops and strategies to generate roles in the class. These instruments become useful and often necessary if we want to build a democratic school, able to build a moral character alongside the still incomplete and continually in progress. In conclusion of his Creation of Democratic 61

Classrooms elements of their experience if they really mean to teach social justice: - the quality of the community, both within the class and with the other educators gets imposed we have in fact actions of demagogy) - the human growth thanks to continuous education - the promise of collaboration

school on the Freirian concept of praxis, i.e. where theory and practice are kept together by values critically discussed. This way attention for the moral aspects and academic knowledge become mutually necessary balancing each other out. In fact the commitment to develop a social conscience also provides the students with an understanding of the academic objectives to achieve and helps them create strategies to achieve them. At the same time this academic objectives, important for the development of an individual critical dimension, contribute to the cognitive and critical growth of the person, favouring a responsible social change which spreads from the individual to the community.

Building an Ethical School Assuming responsibility for education is education itself; assuming responsibility for learning is learning itself. From the point of view of the students, even just assuming responsibility allows them to learn in an authentic way; on this issue the studies on the dynamics of pedagogy of ownership are very clear... personal responsibility is not only undervalued, but even discouraged in programmes and deadlines. If students are denied the opportunity to take even the smallest decisions about how and what to learn, they are unlikely to Salman Khan, La scuola in rete. Reinventare lâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;istruzione nella societĂ globale. (The

together to supply a perspective of combined ethics as imagined by Robert J. Starr. Considered as basic ethic forms, they need principles and habits which make them take 62

root into reality. The ethics of justice need a deep commitment for the dignity of the single person, the ethics of care need a greater attention to social order and fairness to produce a real involvement in social politics, the ethics of critique require ethics of care, in order to avoid cynical and depressive hysteria derived from a habit of discontent, also the ethics nition of social agreements included in a system in which injustices are part of the same structures dealing with justice. ing an Ethical School”. An ethical school promotes the ethical practices and is based on the prerequisite that if you want to learn ethics, you have to practice ethics. This image of an ethical school must be global and involve all its aspects. Partial attempts to develop

school day, when there are numerous occasions to practice the ethics of care, justice and critique, when orientation advisors, coaches and moderators of student activities deal with ethical issues in a coherent way, when posters promoting ethical values of respect for oneself, loyalty and honesty hang in the school halls, when ethical issues are debated

For Starr, a proper ethical school feeds the growth of all members of the school community interconnecting its three organizational levels: curriculum, after school activities and institutional support. That is to say that, within academic and extracurricular proyoung people important opportunities to learn, through practice, what being an ethical person means, but also what being it within an ethical community means. This is the statement which Starr suggests as his school model: The school is committed to promoting a sense of community as well as an individual sense of self-worth. Our school is to be a community of caring and fairness, a community of life-long learners for whom knowledge is both a cherished inheritance and a critical achievement. The school community governs itself democratically, cherishing freedom, responsibility and integrity within an ongoing search for a communal sense of purposes and values. Every member of the school is vital to and responsible for the quality of life of the school.”

“it’s thanks to desperate people that we have a hope”. H. Marchuse, L’uomo a una dimensione (One dimensional man), Einaudi, Torino 1977

his 14 year old pupils, an eager reader, an intellectual power and a talented musician. He would read anything he could lay hands on and keep challenging his teacher. One day him as a teacher. He realized he had been so concentrated on the transmission of knowl-

O Sementinha”, the little seed, in which he experi-


The experiment was extremely successful. It was evaluated, tested, internationally recThey have discovered something obvious: that you need quality people to generate quality educationâ&#x20AC;?. The project is today

and acquire the knowledge living in that home, in that working area: cookery, dance, favours practice, spreading of manual skills and discovery of folklore and popular tradinists, transformation. Taio Rocha, during his training courses, provocatively claims that of educating. Rocha deems it necessary to experiment in order to have more formulas

rather than mere educational centres. They are places where children learn through production, rather than sitting down and listening to a single teacher, where the skills of the community are transformed into subjects of study.

City-School and Without Schoolbag: cases of Tuscan humanism Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s peculiar that there is no science of peace developed, at least in its external features, as much as the science of war, with regards to weaponry and strategy. M. Montessori, Educazione e Pace (Education and peace)

The Pestalozzi City-School was born with a precise social intention in the borough of Santa Croce, Florence, where children were abandoned and neglected, one of the social and his wife. The Codignolas contributed to the school system not only with this Tuscan experiment, but also with the publishing house La Nuova Italia, founded and directed by Ernesto Codignola himself. Through La Nuova Italia he promoted an activist democratic pedagogy, in particular the American model, on a national scale. The Pestalozzi City-School was born on the model of a real civic community, with its mayor, its council, its councillors, its functionaries and a court of honour, as a sort of judicial authority. It needs to be immediately said that they were not pro-forma appointments. Here are, curred are generally the purchase of inserts, which regularly break, material and thread for badges, balls and inner tubes, which regularly wear out, and many other things a community might needâ&#x20AC;?. The duty of the Public Works council is to point out things that citizens break. Easy repairs are carried out by the pupils themselves, otherwise the master carpenter is called to help. The school atmosphere is characterized by daily activities, organized in shifts, which these are all activities entrusted to the pupils. To the services you have to add gardening and the hundreds of activities involved in collective events, like theatre performances. This way they gradually move from public utilities services to extremely demanding cultural activities, realized through a creative collaboration of all the classes. As the founder 64

Sociality is an essential phase of the process of self-discovery of the individual, which is what education consists in. It is not something external or superimposed, it is an unavoidable step in building the self.â&#x20AC;? Today Pestalozzi City-School is one of three national practices considered experimental and has been recognized by MIUR as a Laboratory-School, which enables it to enhance the research and professional assets acquired in the course of time, and to make the

In Tuscany this educational heritage has been picked up and mixed with the experiences of the Montessori and Reggio Children schools, creating the Schools Without Schoolbags individual and to building a work autonomy in a communal atmosphere. As we can see there are elements of similarity between the Small Schools and the Schools Without What matters is to give pupils the opportunity to choose, making them keep record of everything on a dedicated card, with the rule that is then necessary to explore all the available opportunities. For example, in Italian: grammar, composition, poetry, oral exposition, etc. Again, it is useful to keep a personal card which the pupil constantly updates. By authentic activity we mean getting pupils to work on real problems and situations, pertaining to everyday life. The danger of school is in fact the one of being a long continuous exercise, a training lasting 13 years, a long wait, without ever giving pupils the possibility to deal with real life, with the world. Exercise and commitment, and the relative Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s like in sports: you put yourself through a sometimes extremely demanding training because you will soon, and not eventually, play a match. Organizing authentic activities is therefore the commitment of all Schools Without Schoolbagsâ&#x20AC;?. In accordance with organized, tidy, pleasant, full of materials and aesthetically taken care of, starting from the classrooms to the school building to the external spaces: everything favours the rise and growth of a good relational clime, which helps learning. Hospitality is also meant as a

and explore this problematic dimension. Afterwards, we try and elaborate and write

less identify incongruities while realizing them. Revision happens at the end, but also in -

must be written down, since writing drives the action. In other words, writing and drafting mean documenting, leaving a trail of what has happened to turn it into memory, history. Writing is also a means of sharing practices, communicating experiences, both among pupils and teachers. 65

and the communities Senza Zaino focus on the person and on the child, and are characterized by a humanistic vision of knowledge and rapport, in which the community is relationships.

breviary - Small School or City-School: small communities relationships to stimulate a multi- generational connection - environments prepared and organized to favour both autonomous and group work - non teacher-centred classrooms but teachers as observers, guides and points of reference - more teachers, more experiences, more dialogue for wider groups of students - order and freedom more than discipline

own time - knowledge and understanding of timescales of development and attention to the need to develop every individual potential - being given more autonomy helps the individual socialize - multi-age classrooms - cooperative learning - search for an inner and not outer motivation favoured by rewards and punishments, both for pupils and teachers - moving from theory to practice and vice versa: the importance of teachers


Pedagogical breviary Jean-Jacques Rousseau Jean-Jacques Rousseau Switzerland. He had a tormented and adventurous childhood. His father give custody of him to

took part in the Enlightenment ideals, becoming friend with the most important French philosophers and cultivating cultural exchanges with the most famous European thinkers of his time. What he proposed is a new social contract, through which to rebuild the whole society. In able only through new laws and a new education, which reformed and changed the way of thinking and living of the individuals. Endorsing the social contract, individuals would voluntarily give up their absolute freedom, part of the state of nature itself, to accept a coexcreate the new man, the citizen, who would give the power to the people, now sovereign. Freedom consists therefore in acting not according to an individual will, but in underaccept to submit to the general will, which guarantees justice, freedom and equality. In this way Rousseau wanted to arrive at a democratic form of government. It is important ideal city is Geneva, or the Greek city-states, or republican ancient Rome), where everybody can take part in person in collective decisions. -

Rousseau from orthodox Christianity), education and its rules would then corrupt human nature. The child should therefore be raised in a condition of isolation from society. Emile, his education, in order to make him live in the total tranquillity, peace and beauty of nature, where he can happily exercise his physical, psychological and spiritual functions, as they spontaneously reveal themselves through the various phases of development. The child must have his curiosity and interest stimulated, so that he gets used to know the world in prehensible words, neither instil concepts and dogmas, strict and abstract laws and moral

The educational model proposed by Rousseau remained in fact exclusive to the middle class. Essential bibliography:


Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi

people, supplying them with a basic elementary and an ethical-social education, at the same time teaching them agricultural or manufacturing skills, which would guarantee them a social redemption. The earnings from the work would provide an income high

for abandoned children and war orphans in the town of Stans. Even if this experience was destined to end after a few months for lack of governmental funds, Pestalozzi made progress from a theoretical point of view, developing a new conception of work, now seen as an occasion to shape the personality of the pupil, besides being an instrument of social redemption. The aims of education, and the nature of human soul, became clearer. perience brought him to try and further simplify his didactic methods, in order to generate an elementary school accessible and useful to everybody, therefore really belonging to the people. Among the methods he applied, we can mention the use of older pupils as teachers for the younger ones. At the end of this venture, Pestalozzi was famous all over

structured his educational method in its most complete form, making it the reference model for the whole of Switzerland and receiving exceptional visits, by Friedrick Frรถbel

retired in Neuhof, where he expressed his considerations on his didactic experience, writing The song of the swan. him with an ethical teaching, which allows him to overcome individual and collective

According to Pestalozzi, the spirit goes through three states of development: natural, social and moral. The natural state is the metaphor of the highest grade of animal innocence, it is instinctual ingenuity, it is innocence and bestiality at the same time. Man, from this situation, impulses; the human being is therefore possibility, which needs to be guided and supported to tend towards the good. Support comes from good laws and from education,

The social state is the condition in which the weak look for protection, and the strong try onomous to autonomous. Constriction must always has be accompanied by educational work, which shows the goodness of the laws, and the convenience in following them. 68

The spiritual activity becomes explicit through feelings, intellect and practical activities need to be in harmony with each other. Didactic activity assumes that the learning prosimplest elements of knowledge, on which we must gradually build all the knowledge and the whole cultural education of the subject. It is essential to follow the natural developabstraction, and predisposing the right instruments to favour the acquisition of concrete skills, carefully observing the child.

predetermine the learning process, since the spiritual nature of the subject escapes any law and any strict determinism. Essential bibliography: -

the German Romanticism and Idealism, his contemporaneous, and from the philosopher Schelling in particular. He elaborated a pedagogy which he then translated into actual

reform and training of educators. According to Frรถbel, there is an eternal law, revealing itself in nature on the outside and in the spirit in the inside; it is the living, self-conscious and eternal unit: God. It is not the activity, which expresses itself materializing in the world. This vision is called pantheism,

trees, everything is indissolubly linked in an essential unity. This intuition is the result of an

which he enters into things and things enter into him; the child attributes life and the ability to feel, speak and hear to everything surrounding him. Playing prepares and promotes the development of the child towards drawing, language, logical-mathematical activities and

Frรถbel realized an institutional model of early childhood school: the Childhood Garden, 69

gardening) and a wider area for communal work. This brings to light the dialectic between individuality and sociality, which meets the psychological need to own, a fundamental aspect in creating an identity and in educating to responsibility, through individual work, and develops cooperation and collaboration, through communal work. Within the kindergarten, didactic is carried out using pre-structured material, which represents the gifts mentioned earlier, reproducing the basic structures of nature and being. Physically handled, they allow the child to develop and understanding of real forms, of their connections, their numbering, their qualities.

The Agazzi method

them to vent their forms of spontaneous life, and refusing the conventionalism of the

for many nurseries opened afterwards, named after and using the method of the Agazzi sisters. They considered the nursery as an extension of life within the family and they therefore tried to realize it collaborating with the family. They took a particular care of hygiene and personal care. Their method was based on the spontaneity and personal experience of the children, who lived in the community and attended to various jobs, alternating them with music, singing, knowledge of new things, gardening and breeding exercises. Freedom, spontaneity and individual industriousness were of course regulated by the needs of the community and stimulated by didactic material often gathered or realized

They replaced Frรถbelian traditional activities with practical and manual exercises, therefore improving creative and aesthetic skills. They favoured the development of socialization through the introduction of a system where smaller children would receive help and assistance from slightly older children, a practice which is highly educative. They started using personal tags, so that every child would put his things away. The

knick-knacks found or built by the child were grouped, arranged by colour, shape, like-

them kept as relics, the children would see their little properties valued, and that turned up being very useful for the development of self-assurance. 70

Activism: “new schools” and “active schools” -

childhood as a pre-moral and pre-intellectual age, in which the cognitive processes tightly intertwine with the industriousness, the sense of movement and the natural dynamism

Piaget would later work, founding the Centre for Genetic Epistemology), but even the less

Activism linked pedagogy and human sciences, in particular psychology and sociology, happier, more intelligent and creative man) implications.


were organized. In Italy, activism was supported only after the Second World War, by pedagogues like -

Here is a synthetic outline of the themes of activism shared by all the authors: 1. Child centering: the acknowledgement of the essential and active role of the child in every educational process; but as a way of learning, as a didactic instrument to get to know the world, giving therefore importance to processes, school, manual activities, play

which drive them to strive to know and to develop a better understanding; 4. The centrality of the environment in which the child lives, but also of the environment where he experiences the educational process, since the child is stimulated to learn by the reality surrounding him;

7. The anti-intellectualism, i.e. not deeming important only the cultural con71

tents of a school programme, but enhancing a freer organization of knowledge on the part of the pupil, in order to supply him with useful instruments to better face the world, instead of a mass of fragmentary and disarticulated information, learnt in a mnemonic way.

Maria Montessori

ginalized and degraded neighbourhoods of the capital, where she found herself having to face extremely complex pedagogical and didactic issues, which required a civic and social, besides educational, renewal. Maria Montessori used psychology, psychiatry, medicine, biology and cultural anthrogressive and gradual use of pre-structured elementary material, through which the child

that the activities and the relationship with the child had to be stimulated starting from his needs and interests, which implies, in contradiction with empiricism and Positivism, that the child is born with his own peculiar traits. Also, the child must feel free, and learn to become autonomous; it cannot get used to passivity, he must be given material structured according to his needs and skills, and allowed to choose, operate and engage freely. Montessori was extremely critical of parents who ruin their children by letting them simply play, imposing the presence of an adult who resolves any of their problems, even only picking up an object or opening a door, dren dependent and passive, instead of active, free and autonomous. In order to be selfto educate himself to reach his own autonomy. It is therefore paramount to start education from scratch: to build a new type of nursery and using a new method, accompanied by new structured didactic material. Everything will be child size, i.e. in miniature, to enable the child to do everything by himself: opengoing to the bathroom, etc. Everything must be available to him, it being understood that educators will supervise them to make sure they keep themselves safe. Without having to depend on an adult, the child will engage in working with pleasure and productivity. educated to beauty, to an ordered aesthetic. School life is also group life, and is therefore a good thing that children get organized, form groups, work in pair and get respected by adults, who must try not to interfere with


chological training, and a huge ability to observe and discover the children in their natural world, with their spontaneity, in order to perceive needs, interests, problems, peculiar traits of each of them. The teacher has also to be humble, tolerating, respecting without interfering, and to give children the didactic instruments suitable to their age, requests, needs, interests and development. As far as the didactic material is concerned, this must not be supplied all at once, creating confusion and disorienting the child, who would risk not to be able to do anything with it; it must not be changed too often, while he is still using it with interest, because the child must have the time to practice and acquire what intrigues him; and it must not be left with him for too long, risking to get him bored with a single task, or with structured material not suitable to his age anymore, when he can carry out more complex activities.

John Dewey The man-environment relationship presents itself as a problematic relationship between the individual and the external world, in which the human being tries to intervene on

Dewey, education is a continuous process which starts from birth and carries on constantly assimilating active knowledge with regards to the relationship with the environment; school must be an extension of the social life, in order to equip children to face real issues in their future life. economic transformation of contemporary world, in order to peacefully live together in democracy. The educational process leading to democracy is possible only through a a formal training: it is a process of feeding, breeding, farming, it is growth, because, as life, education is development; as life, it only aims at living, growth only aims at further put them in an active relationship with the environment; teachers therefore need to be trained in science, philosophy, biology, sociology and psychology, besides their teaching

simple application of instructions given by sciences or in strict unchangeable pedagogical rules always valid as they are; on the contrary, education is always based on real and actual experience. Pedagogy is based on psychology and sociology; in fact, there are two aspects to the educational process: psychological and social, and neither can be subordinate to the other or neglected without achieving sterile results.

attitude. The didactic process cannot, therefore, be isolated from society, be a closed 73

teacher-pupil relationship, but it must spread from individual to society, to include the

In opposition to new idealist Italian pedagogues, who denied the method in the name of a creativity of the spirit, Dewey claimed that the method must be used, but on the basis

pedagogy encountered a strong opposition, both by Catholic education, since it was laic, and by Marxists, since it was the expression of middle class American culture.

Ovide Decroly

his father, in his vast garden, where he could observe and look after plants and animals, and where he had a laboratory made available to him to play and work with his siblings. In the course of his superior education he clashed with his teachers, who provided an education detached from reality and experience, entirely based on books, ending up being banned ies, recognizing the essential contribution of experimental and evolutionary psychologies to conferences to share his experience. He realized that in order to eliminate the causes of abnormalities and marginalization, the traditional school system needed to be changed. In

interest centres, which would replace a programme centred around disciplinary contents ence, as they arise from his needs and subsequent interests. Decroly claimed that a lot of young people are disappointed by school and achieve poor results because they get distracted, they are disinterested and they get to the point of being disgusted by studying, which they carry out with laziness, repulsion, rebellion and discouragement. Focusing atwill be involved, they will participate directly with the environment, going through real and ous and occasional and then based on needs; these needs must be linked to any possible ronment: the inorganic, plant and animal life; the social environment: family, school and society; and the far away environment: distant in space and time) and to perceptiveâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;cognitive oral form); this is the programme of associated ideas. 74

Three fundamental psychological functions, the so called triptych, must be activated: obtions, synthesis, evaluations), in a circular process which makes each moment complete. According to Decroly, the child, since his birth, has perceptions and expressions which are not analytical, i.e. they do not refer to isolated aspects or parts but to a whole unity: perception is global, synthetic, relating to a single form and to a whole totality. The function of globalization is a mental structure, a mechanism of childhood psychic activity, which relates to perception and expression. The child will eventually move from a syncretic to an analytical-synthetic phase, a shift also helped by playing as a daily exercise, in order to get from the phase of globalization to the phase of analysis and synthesis. Decroly suggests that materials should be used to favour the mobilization of energies and the skills of the young person. Through his work with abnormal, mentally disturbed, physically and mentally disabled children, Decroly showed that they are not incurable or special pedagogy) and that education is a unique phenomenon which needs adapting to single cases, needs and situations, but must not be divided into sectors.

Rudolf Steiner

spiritual drive leading to the creation of this school was the need for a deep social renovation â&#x20AC;&#x201C; starting from education â&#x20AC;&#x201C; raised in central Europe in the years following the horrors of the First World War. Human longing for true freedom, at the basis of this holistic philosophy, represents the answer to the profound changes in life that occurred in Europe on a historical level. It is not a coincidence that during the Nazi rule a lot of Steiner schools were closed and were main faculties: the erect position and the ability to walk, the use of language, the posthe utmost.

and they need to be urged to have an interest in the world, to develop on a social level and to establish an active relationship with the environment. In Steiner high schools, you study economy, agricultural measurements, topography, agriculture, forest works, i.t., drawing, copper hammering, along with the traditional subjects. In Italy, at present, the only Steiner high school is in Milan.


Essential bibliography.

Art of education – III: Apprenticeship conversation and conferences on the

Édouard Claparède

chology at Geneva University, focusing on the pedagogical applications of psychology. At the centre of his theory – as of any functionalist and/or activist theory – is the concept of need. The organism is a system in a balance which is continually lost in the course of are therefore at the basis of behaviours, evolution and a constantly chased balance. The model of a new school, as an alternative to the traditional one, must respect the laws always driven by need”.

the basis of any educational activity: 1. Law of genetic succession: the child develops must conform to the progress of mental evolution.” In other words, the child develops in velopment.”, i.e. every function is developed on the basis of its exercise. 3. Law of genetic further functions.” It is a direct consequence of the previous law, the exercise of a function is therefore the precondition for the subsequent functions to be able to arise, reveal

brief, exercise occurs only when there are need and interest, which have therefore to be ing in himself, he is simply adequate to his own circumstances; his mental activity relates to his needs and his mental life is unitary.” In substance, the child must be considered an is therefore unique and his education must be tailor made.


These laws represent the prerequisites and conditions for any educational action addressed to the child or adolescent.

Jean Piagetâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pedagogical ideas Jean Piaget

Introduction to Genetic Epistemology


refers not so much to the origins, but rather to the development of knowledge and intelligence; genetic epistemology studies, therefore, the origins of knowledge, the psychopsychological organization from less to more evolved forms of balance. Piaget studied the origins and development of intelligence and claimed that intelligence is the best ability to actively adapt to the environment: intelligent is the behaviour which is suitable to the demands of the environment. The relationship between man and environment occurs through a gradual development, which is a progressive balancing, i.e. the shift from a condition of precarious balance, through the loss of this balance, to a superior balance. In this process of growth, construction and development there are different functions, the functional invariants, i.e. those aspects which keep functioning in the course of the evolution; they are the modalities of a general functioning which preside intelligence. The most important functional invariants are organization and adaptation, which is divided in assimilation and accommodation. Organization refers to the fact that thought tends to consist in systems or structures, whose parts are integrated to form a group, like, for example, the body, digestive, circulatory and nervous systems. The structures are the forms assumed by internal organization. From birth and in every stage of its development, the organism has a certain organization which it keeps trying to improve to get to a higher balance. There is therefore a set of structures or internal systems constituting the substrate of behaviour and allowing the individual to understand reality and to give experience a meaning. Throughout the development, the nature of mental structures changes, so the connections between subsequent states are as relevant as the connection between the parts and the whole. The cognitive structures of a small child are called schemes, or more precisely action schemes, limited 77

knowledge, and their development occurs through an interaction with the environment. The action schemes are motor programmes allowing actions to manifest. The action suction, rooting, vision of a moving object, automatic reaction, crying, smiling, etc.) The scheme is an organized totality which becomes generalized and coordinates with other action schemes to build more complex structures through development and interaction coordinates with schemes of vision, movement and grasping, to look at a moving object, stretch an arm, grasp it and taking it to the mouth to suck it). Only when these action schemes become mental schemes and they organize themselves in larger units we can

Organization and adaptation are inseparable: they are two complementary aspect of the same mechanism; organization is the internal aspect of the cycle, while adaptation represents the external one. In the course of mental development, internal structures keep varying through exchanges between subject and environment, and adaptation occurs. Adaptation implies, divides into and it is achieved in two simultaneous and complementary processes: assimilation and accommodation. There is a continuous exchange of active adjustment to the environment, which represents the evolution of intelligence. Man learns assimilating the environment, but this assimilation is rarely total, the subject to the environment. Assimilation is the tendency to absorb any new piece of information, any external elenew stimuli. Assimilation is a process of adapting to reality.

tures adjust to new elements. The individual develops through a continuous exchange with the environment: he assimilates objects and experiences into his mental schemes till these are apt to contain them, he then adjusts his own structures to the new experiences, this way keeping creating new balances between assimilation and accommodation. This active and continuous adjustment to the environment represents intelligence; intelligence is the highest form of adaptation, in which assimilation and accommodation achieve the best form of balance. There are occasions in which accommodation prevails, like in the case of to carry out the actions he wants to imitate), and occasions in which assimilation prechild with the exercise of activities; i.e. the child repeats an action he has learnt in order to assimilate it better). It is important to notice, though, that in every phase of development assimilation and accommodation always interact simultaneously, without either ever getting totally annulled.

create a logical structure on its own; it can only hasten it, on condition that the development is mature enough to realize that structure. According to Piaget, learning is a complex activity of mental re-elaboration allowed by an increase of maturity which is prompted by the loss of a balance which is replaced by a higher and more evolved one: it is exploration, manipulation and re-elaboration, not only the receiving of stimuli and 78

events. As a whole, this evolutionary process of building intelligence develops though phases and stages of temporary balance, towards more and more evolved forms. Considerations on pedagogy and on education

their methodological didactic applications in concrete contexts of schools and education. Piaget wrote few and brief texts on educational and pedagogical issues: Psycho-ped-

It is however obvious that it is essential for anybody operating with children to know a zation. The scholar H. Aebli, in his Didactique psychologique. Application Ă la didactique de la psychologie de Jean Piaget, tried more than anyone else to develop a few didactic

than the mere didactic application. Since any pedagogy is based on psychology, Piaget wished that the relationship between his genetic psychology and pedagogy would become permanent and systematic, even if it is not possible, according to him, to extract an educational programme directly from psychology. ing means doingâ&#x20AC;? are important indications followed in realizing new schools and a new didactic which recognize the importance of doing in order to learn. According to Piaget the evolution process. Since a child does not learn from environment and language in a passive way, but through an active assimilation, it is essential that schools allow him to learn with the same modality. Piaget claims that the active schools and the radical changes in pedagogic perspecogy, which enlivened pedagogy. All these considerations imply that we cannot have the traditional lessons held using an adult language anymore, since the child needs to be

his pre-logic phase will therefore have to manipulate, so that he can start experimenting by himself when he is of school age). The teacher, for example, will not explain fractions showing pictures of objects divided into equal parts, but he will actually divide a concrete object in front of the class and will let the children do the same.

an excess of stimuli confuses, blocks and makes the child regress). Active education is not an individual practice though, on the contrary it is carried out in society, combining come his egocentrism and transform it into mutual operativity. Paramount is the social dimension in which the education of the thought occurs. The teacher must combine a however leaving out continuous and methodical experimentation. 79

of a psychological perspective inspired by the philosophical principles of Marxism and its historical dialectical materialism, which was at the basis of the revolution: the cultural historical school of and tive processes, studying behaviour and psychic functions in an evolutionary perspective. the psychologists of the Gestalt and many famous authors, remaining himself unknown to them for a long time instead. In spite of the basis of the historical dialectical material-

environment, he acts back on reality, transforming it. The relationship between the indi-


social) environment, which supplies stimuli, but these are perceived by the subject in an active way, through a mental work, followed by a further process of re-elaboration and transformation of the external world.

cerebral functional systems, originating from studies carried out on the wounded brains of victims of the Great War. Lurija rejected the strict localization of cerebral functions; both function and its localization in the brain are extremely dynamic: cerebral organization is in continuous evolution from childhood to adulthood.

was born), in a family of Jewish origins. He studied philosophy, got passionate about art and literature, and graduated in law. He worked as an art critic and as a teacher. He 80


tative leap between animals and men. Men possess a continuity among structures and

man occurred in the phylogenetic development represents, in the ontogenetic one, the

as tools and machines was the leap which generated human intelligence) and symbols with the social context, then used as internal instruments without the need for external stimuli. The use of instruments is therefore a human feature; they start as material instruments to become psychological instruments: concepts, symbols, works of art, writing. The school system is the place in which these psychological instruments are transmitted. Language is the central element which mediates the transition from action to cognition.

there is thought activity without the use of language). Then, when the child is about one communicate thought). When he is about four, language is used as an instrument to regu-

another for communication and social interaction purposes), which eventually becomes and behaviour from the inside). Through the egocentric language the child starts to men-

centrism, which is the transition from an initial autism to the beginning of socialization). Furthermore, according to Piaget, in the course of the psychic development, intelligence origins, and language has a pivotal role in the development of intelligence. Vygotsky conceives a multiplicity of psychic aspects which develop, meet and coordinate within the thought, whereas Piaget claims that intelligence develops as a whole. Psycho-pedagogical considerations All communicative processes and the subsequent cognitive development always occur in a social and cultural context. Every evolving mind has its own individual personal story, which is carried out in relationship with other minds within the same society. Vygotsky highlighted the importance of social environment and learning, absolutely without eliminating the presence of the individual with his abilities to elaborate and create. In 81

to it the child possesses certain potentialities he can develop and realize, but only if adequately stimulated by the adult; the child would not be able to achieve autonomously the results he achieves thanks to these stimuli. Language has an innate structure, but actual spoken language is concretely determined by the social and cultural environment we live in. Potential development can be started collaboration, under the direction and with the help of someone, the child can do more be able to do by himself what he would do with the adult. Learning is therefore a social dominance given by Piaget to development over learning, Vygotsky supports a relation-

pleasure and respect of rules, both project and exercise. Creative activities are also very important: creating does not mean inventing, but re-elaborating reality, deconstructing

free and stimulating environment, with an educational intervention respectful of personal expression, tending to stimulate questions rather than giving answers. What is learnt from the group of rules, strategies and contents of psychic activity, and is eventually re-used

chic functions, like reasoning, will, logical thought, formation of concepts; as anticipated, psychologists, particularly in English and American contexts.

Jerome Seymour Bruner

ous the technological superiority of Russia compared to the USA. The American society gap with the communist countries 82

Jerom Bruner

behaviourism, in the name of a greater development and application of superior cognitive functions, which had been strongly neglected and rejected by both activism and behaviourist psychologists, within the school; he was also critical of the Gestalt psychology and the cultural historical school were rediscovered in English speaking countries. His major works are: A Study of Thinking; John Dewey Reconsidered; On knowing: essays for the left

of response to stimuli what is actually much more complex; psycho-analysis for reducing of psychology of form for reducing perception to a phenomenon in itself, not linked to the psychic life of the individual. Starting from a cognitivist approach, to which he paired a didactic until he managed to elaborate an actual theory of school education. has deep implications and meanings, which need to be exposed in order to understand sidered this ability an act of invention, since categorization can sometimes be based on afWhat is a permanent feature is simply the act of categorizing, while the categories used are

his way of thinking the world. Categorization is at the basis of more complex processes like

external, as opposed to internal, agents; that is to say that evolution and adaptation can be explained as genetic and psychic transformations determined by the necessity to ad-

tural rather than chromosomal heritage. This way culture becomes the main instrument to guarantee a survival.

activity, pre- and concrete operational thought and formal operational thought; on his part,


phase builds the world through images, which progressively disentangle themselves from perceptive conditioning; the third phase, the symbolic one, uses the symbolic system of language cannot speak of distinct evolutionary stages; if it is true that each of the three types of repregirlhood, pre-adolescence), intellectual development is not a simple automatic sequence, but lenging problems to allow him to put himself at the head of his own development. The three a term that implies a rigid consequentiality, but prominent characteristics in the course of the any age, as long as the contents of learning are translated into adequate forms of representation. It is therefore possible to accelerate the learning processes, instead of passively following school, guilty of privileging socialization objectives over intellectual ones. For Dewey, school was a form of community life which transmits culture, i.e. life itself, not a preparation for life. If it from the one of their own culture, in order to explore them. Dewey also attributed a primacy to

must also respond to the demands of contemporary society; the psychic world of the student cannot be neglected, but he needs to be put in a position to face the needs of the contemporary world. In a technologically advanced civilization, the learning process inevitably loses continuity with adulthood, ending up being carried out outside the context of the action, far from a direct perception of reality; executive and iconic representations have thus less room for their employment, while symbolic communication prevails.

and imagination, introducing students to the world of symbols. This absolutely does not mean privileging the rational over the intuitive aspect; immediate experience is an unde-

myth, the narrative skill. The narrative thought, in particular, is generally considered in -

storiesâ&#x20AC;? is as important as logical-mathematical skills. School must therefore be able to identify experiences which are stimulating and useful for grammes and methods), to verify the actual level of development achieved by the students testing actions, images or symbols depending on the case, organizing an ordered structure

In the course of the school curriculum four tasks have to be achieved: 1. establishing the experiences which motivate and favour learning to understand and assimilate; 3. identifying the best way to present a subject; 4. indicating rewards and punishments to strengthen acquired notions and skills. 84

Howard Gardner and the theory of multiple intelligences

to be incapable of writing a convincing letterâ&#x20AC;?. In search of a solution which would remedy to the crisis of American school, he proposed the theory of Multiple Inteland educational scholars, Formae mentis. IM theory raised great debates still alive it is in fact the most famous and debated theory among the most recent ones devel-

young slave, completely ignorant of everything, who is led by Socrates to the solution of a geometry problem. The reflection on knowledge deriving from the tale is tact with the world is so brief, personal and limited, have the wide knowledge they the only possible answer is a deeply innatist theory of knowledge. Gardner does not have a steadfast innatist faith, even if his IM theory is partly based on a genetic inheritance of knowledge. Gardner placed his theory within the cognitive sciences, the cognitive revolution, in which he presented his cognitive hexagon, the six related disciplines constituting the cognitive sciences: Philosophy, Psychology, Linguistics, Artificial Intelligence, Neuroscience, Cultural Anthropology. A fundamental element at the basis of the IM theory is identified by Gardner in the modular theory of Jerry

The IM theory is an unusual conception which excludes the concepts of intuition, analysis and synthesis from the meaning of intelligence. These aspects can be taken into consideration and explained in the context of the idea of a plurality of intelligences, whereby mathematical intuition will be different from artistic intuition, because they refer to two different types of intelligence. Intelligences can be al nature. Intelligences are not equivalent to sensory systems and do not depend on a single sensory system, they are able to occur through more than one of them. each operating according to its own procedures and on its own biological basis. 85

Each intelligence is a system on its own, with its own rules. For convenience, we can consider each intelligence as a group of know-how procedures to do somediscursive knowledge of the actual procedures the execution implies). The different intelligences are: 1. Linguistic intelligence 3. Logical-mathematical intelligence 4. Spatial intelligence

7. Interpersonal intelligence Linguistic and musical intelligences have internal constrictions and do not have a relationship with the objects; whereas the logical-mathematical, the spatial and the bodily-kin-

tive and inter-relational level. Linguistic intelligence and the development of language represent the best proof of the modularity of intelligence. This type of intelligence is not controlled by objects and it is -

within reach of all normal and even abnormal peopleâ&#x20AC;?. Musical intelligence, which has probably shared a common origin with language, is the ability possessed by all individuals, even if real musical competence is a much more

identical localization in all individuals does not mean that it cannot be proved that musical skills are univocal and that they do not involve other abilities, as evidence of the fact that they are an autonomous intelligence. Logical-mathematical intelligence, as Piaget had already claimed, tends to abstraction -

ing graphic representations, ability to orientate) are separate. Spatial intelligence relates mainly to drawing and artistic expression.

the objects. Gaining awareness of the reality of objects, in the course of his development which deals with movement, the relationship between the body and the physical objects, 86

practical, manipulative and imitative abilities, remains unchanged even when there are

tion to the theories of IQ tests and psychometry in general). Intrapersonal intelligence atic of the possibility to reach apexes of creativity thanks to a particular intelligence able to treasure the analysis of its own thoughts and feelings. Talking about personal personal intelligences the development of the internal aspects of the individual, the

IM theory has been very popular mainly because of its possible pedagogical and ern countries, like China and Japan, and his participation in international research the organization of a few nurseries in the Netherlands and in Reggio Emilia, Italy) induced him to give fundamental importance to the context in his educational strategy. The idea that intelligence is not a hidden and secret quality of each individual, but something that spreads into other minds in a continuous interaction, led Gardlective abilities. This way, he has opposed the traditional predominance of linguistic and logical-mathematical abilities in schools.

abilities to the same rank as the other skills. Since school itself is one of the main causes of the present crisis in education, in order to overcome it and improve the effectiveness of didactic we have to radically modify common school practices which are in contrast with the new principles of learning. Formal education had separated learning and context. In the new and concrete education is therefore crucial to re-contextualize knowledge and the learning processes, since all knowledge gets pecially nurseries and primary schools) need to achieve a certain standard is not valid anymore. Instead, it is important to ask ourselves how the student can use what he has learnt to find himself a suitable role in the social fabric. School must erence pointâ&#x20AC;?. However, the choice of type of school to adopt is not a scientific and

environment, it must identify the intelligences in order to set up an individualized ums, studios, associations, etc.) and evaluate students not through standard tests and examinations, but through contextualized evaluations like portfolios, project dossier, etc., whereas each student is part of a work group finalized to the accomplishment of an apprenticeship under the guide of a teacher. With this aim in mind, a valid and well trained teacher is always better than any technology, no matter how developed and advanced it is. Teachers must not end up having to carry all the burden of the change though, which must occur via institutions and politics: Gardner simply wants to restore credibility to their roles as educators.



The Educational Turn: A tentative history and taxonomy of artist-founded education projects Ian Alden Russell I am a white, middle-class, man born in Richmond, Virginia, educated in Dublin, Ireland, and working in Istanbul, Turkey. It is with a sense of fraught privilege but committed presence that I work to establish platforms through my curatorial work with artists and communities. In Turkey, I am a , a foreigner, and it is with this sensibility that I wish to acknowledge the limitations of the Occidental intellectual tradition from which I have come and which informs much of this paper in hopes that others may be able to help to complement and address this imbalance with perspectives from their traditions. I am an educator with a work history within university institutions. I am a curator with a munities. I share a concern and sensibility with the issues and sensibilities of the artists and practitioners discussed in this paper; however, I have been, for the most part until now, an outside observer. I do not speak for the practitioners discussed here. I only hope to speak with them and, as best I can, apply myself to identifying and expressing some possible common grounds for consensus building. I want to thank my practitioner-coling my perspective on the issues discussed in this paper. My hope for this paper is that hope to lend my voice and my care to sharing experiences and issues which I can only make limited claims to understand but which I feel are urgent and which I have, through this research, come to appreciate as vital and transformative.

topic to be comprehensively presented in a paper of this length. However, as a support within contemporary arts practice, it is useful and necessary to outline a brief historical projects that we are participating in today. The limiting frame I have been asked to use in the research for this paper is the rubric of artist-founded education projects. In conducting this research, I have been aware of an Occidental dominance in respect to both the artist projects which have received a certain consensus within various papers and publications as being important and pivotal as well as the intellectual traditions informing the critical language framing the discussion of such projects. As a step towards addressing this imbalance, I would like to begin by acknowledging the crucial role that artists played in the founding of art education institutions outside of the th century. For example, the establishment of art education in Iraq owes much to artists who undertook their own study initiatives abroad in Europe, Hassan headed the establishment of a new Painting Department at the Music Institute after returning from studying in Paris. Shortly afterwards, Jewad Selim returned from Institute was renamed the Institute of Fine Arts. As an alternative example, it was a group of self-taught pioneers of modern Indonesian painting that were crucial to the revolutionth century. Their work at the after independence) was deeply informed by a commitment to social engagement and programmed to engage local students. 89

Some intellectual roots of self-directed learning A convenient point to begin a conversation about the history of self-directed learning elected to the culture committee and would propose that the galleries and museums should be under the control of artists themselves and that the academies should be run by the students. This can be understood as a de-institutionalization of art, while also asserting the central importance of art within political struggle as an expression of individual liberty in the form of artistic freedom. A few years after this, English artist William Morris would articulate a similar role for art within socialist movements; however, he would advocate that art should be a part of the daily life of everyone and that this egalitarian approach to the arts was inseparable to the establishment of an egalitarian society. Similar arguments would be taken up a decade later in the critical thought of philosopher John Dewey. Completing many philosophical works on education such as The School and Society Democracy and Education education predicated not on the preparation of the student for university but on present learning by doing and acting. Addressing art directly in his work Art as Experience lated a stance that art has an inherent ability and potential to transform and shape indilege was an experimental educational institution, founded on the ideals of progressive education. Alongside a committed interdisciplinary program, it placed the study of art as practice central within the project of a liberal arts education. During this time it is also outside of the arts such as Reggio Emilia in Italy or the pedagogical methods of Maria Montessori.

counting of his reservations with being asked to undertake the lectures at all given his concerns about the impossible choices facing many young artists in relation to planning for their own education.

happens to be a young person of talent and ability in art may no longer be caught between two impossible choices, the one whether to gain a liberal liberal education in order to gain adequate training in art. festo for a self-directed approach to artist education through lived and active experience in the world. Attend a university if you possibly can. There is no content of knowledge university work at something for a while. Do anything. Get a job in a potato

and grease and burning rubber. Paint of course, but if you have to lay aside painting for a time, continue to draw. Listen well to all conversations and be instructed by them and take all seriousness seriously. Never look down upon anything or anyone as not worthy of notice. In college or out of college, read. 90

And form opinions! Read Sophocles and Euripides and Dante and Proust.

and many artists. Go to an art school, or two, or three, or take art courses at night if necessary. And paint and paint and draw and draw. Know all that and economics, logic and particularly history. Know at least two languages besides your own, but anyway, know French. Look at pictures and more pictures. Look at every kind of visual symbol, every kind of emblem; do not spurn signboards of furniture drawings of this style of art or that style of art. Do not be afraid to like paintings honestly or to dislike them honestly, but if you do dislike them retain an open mind. Do not dismiss any school of art, not the Pre-Raphaelites nor the Hudson River School nor the German Genre

churches and in big city churches. Listen to politicians in New England town meetings and to rabble-rousers in Alabama. Even draw them. And remember that you are trying to learn to think what you want to think, that you are trying to co-ordinate mind and hand and eye. Go to all sorts of museums and galleries and to the studios of artists. Go to Paris and Madrid and Rome and Ravenna and Padua. Stand alone in Sainte Chapelle, in the Sistine Chapel, in the Church of the Carmine in Florence. Draw and draw and paint and learn to work in many media; try lithography and aquatint and silk-screen. Know all that you can about art, and by all means have opinions. Never be afraid to become embroiled in art of life or politics; never be afraid to learn to draw or paint better than you already do; and never be afraid to undertake any kind of art at all, however exalted or however common, but do it with distinction. would come to formalize a language and vocabulary for self-directed educational practice in the arts, and later educational art practice. The European exhibitions of the Groupe -

DeSchooling Society sembling the institutionalized forms of all schools as an act of liberation. This text still has critical resonance in the programs of contemporary educational art projects such as Theory of Communicative Action arms. Central to the theory was the idea of the emancipatory communicative act â&#x20AC;&#x201C; one that inherently relies on anticipation of liberation from oppression. Finally, Jacques RanciThe Ignorant Schoolmaster for the transfer of knowledge. Recounting the ability of students to teach themselves a new language if left only with tools and their own feeling of emancipation, the book He will verify that the student has searched.â&#x20AC;? This is a simple distillation of the critiques the student to be autonomous and self-directed in the pursuit of their education and the As a conclusion to this brief historical overview, it is important to mention two key political moments that have largely shaped the educational terrain at least in regards to European


their own educational curricula, a process which directly revealed the role of education in social formation and would indirectly inspire educational explorations throughout tions voluntarily participating in the process. While the express intention of the process is only to connect national education systems and not to harmonize them, the technocratic process is having in relation to the emergence of a more rigid pan-European education institutional structure. This concern indirectly encourages some educational practitioners to integrate more innovative and experimental educational practices within their curricula as an act of emancipation and liberation.

This paper concerns the recent history of educational projects founded by artists. The tended to articulate a continuity of the question of the tension between the schooling and education of the artist within society, a dialectic which has contributed distinct models and methods to the wider project of emancipatory educational practice. In considering art education, there is the concern of the quarantine of art as skill, separate and distinct from liberal arts modes of enquiry and exploration. Many of the experimental art education projects of the last century were responses to professed senses of art school as lacking a holistic approach to the education of an artist with a wide array of skills and modes of enquiries with which to understand, conceptualize, engage with, and mediate institutional constructs of art education. This turn led both to experimental art education as well as a conceptualization of the practice of education itself as constituting arts practice. Thus, in the examples mentioned in this paper, there is a heterogeneous mix of art education practices and educational art practices education practiceâ&#x20AC;? will be used only to refer to projects that include a self-expressed art practiceâ&#x20AC;? will be used to refer to projects undertaken by artists that are intended to be more holistic in regards the content, format, and purpose of their educational prac-

and experimentation within the platform of art education for art students. Whereas, a to establish open platforms for self-directed education for communities of immigrants

A tentative spatial taxonomy While the practice of education within the arts is engaged with and an extension of a longer history of progressive education, the consideration of and critical discussion around experimental art education and educational art practice is a more recent and emergent At this early point in the emergence of critical discourse around this work, I am mindful of sistency of delimiting the interpretation of a movement predicated on liberation and transmight begin to identify common grounding amongst diverse and heterogeneous projects. 92


linguistics, focuses on the action of communication but focuses not only on the linguistic terances in terms of their manner, place, time. In articulating a pragmatics of education as arts practice, it is central to address the space/time dimensions as well as the infra-

of educational actions in the arts have emerged. established educational spaces. These are projects which have both been fostered and emerged within traditional, institutional structures such as universities or schools and also those projects which have sought to or resulted in the establishment of new educational spaces with recognizable institutional structures such as curricula, degree programs, etc. The second to be considered are third spaces inherent hybridity of individuals as actors within society. In relation to the argument in this that is neither wholly public nor wholly private â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a liminal space. Returning to pragmatics, studio). These may be purpose built spaces, established or pre-established community spaces, or found, liminal spaces between the duality of work:home or public:private. The third to be considered are art spaces which artists and the arts more broadly have been active/shown. Examples within this type are galleries, museums, exhibitions, biennials, and similar traditional arts settings. Within this type, there is also consideration to be paid to artists who have used their own studio as a platform. The fourth to be considered are nomadic projects. These are location and, in some examples, are founded with an intention to be mobile or nomadic.

A brief word regarding realms of meaning in relation to praxis While it is not the intention of this research paper to critically evaluate these projects, I

Education for Socially Engaged Art socially engaged arts practice. Nominal participation refers to practices which result in a passive experience for viewers/visitors whose participation is mostly limited to the experience of seeing the art work. Directed participation refers to practices which involve the artists directly addressing the visitor/viewer and asking them to undertake an action which completes the experience of the work but does not alter the fundamental material or spatial forms of the work. Creative participation refers to practices where the artist involves the visitor/viewer in an action which generates new materials or may alter the spatial form of the work; however the fundamental platform, structure, and terms of participation for the work are determined by the artist. Finally, collaborative participation refers to practices where visitors/viewers share responsibility with the artist for the developing the platform, structure, and form of the work itself. The projects discussed here, for the most part, articulate themselves as being within the 93

traditions of progressive education and self-directed learning. In this respect, we can consider them as operating in the realms of creative participation and collaborative participation. However, this is not to say that there are not projects which either incorporate sub-projects/events that employ nominal or directed participation. For example, some education projects may employ a collaborative participation approach for the development of a curriculum; however, in the execution of said curriculum, there may be mosafety procedures for certain practices such as glass work or metal work). While not the purpose of this paper, it is worthwhile to acknowledge the specter of the aestheticization of pedagogy and, in particular, showing/exhibiting the output of pedagogical work. While a moment of pedagogy may itself be collaborative, the display of artefacts of the process can lead to a broader nominal participation that may undermine the intention of the project itself. This is the Faustian dilemma of exhibiting processcentered work. However, it is also this tension which I feel propels and reinforces a strong ethical stance of the practitioners presented here. While certainly concerned with traditions of institutional critique, their practices are not overly concerned with institutional

markets and state systems, and engage and emerge through action with publics. There

Established educational spaces century were moved to address the limitations of the art education institutions which had emerged to date. Feeling underserved th

to develop specialized skills, some artists have taken to embedding their educational practice within educational institutions and curricula, through institutions as platforms for more independent projects, or establishing entirely new educational institutions.

Founded as courses within educational institutions through DePaul University in Chito create a pedagogical platform that would engaged the arts with public work, fostering practices of creative civic engagement. With initiatives throughout the city, the Institute acknowledges a wide community of participants that have been engaged by the project. develop arts and education programs that continue to provide opportunities and give voice to young artists, teachers, high school students, community residents, senior citifuturists, activists, poets, foragers, collectives, friends and university students.â&#x20AC;? A core ethic of the project was the development and sustaining of cooperative networks at both a local level but also an international level â&#x20AC;&#x201C; undertaking committed and engaged social faculty and student networks) to instigate conversations, exhibitions, and publications addressing how such work is done. School of Missing Studies 94

the Sandberg Instituut in Amsterdam. While housed within an educational institution, the time, public good) marked by, or currently undergoing abrupt transition.â&#x20AC;? The course is neither aimed at nor limited to those identifying as artists. Rather the core intention is to ing political, social, educational, and urban challenges. Similar in structure to the School of Missing Studies and The Stockyard Institute, The School of Walls and Space Arts in Copenhagen, Denmark. Led by Nils Norman, the School is a department with a to-one crits, seminars and talks). The School also integrates experimental pedagogical methods that are developed collectively with students. The School also shares a concepconcerned with creative engagement with public and urban space and the role of the artist as an agent within it, and both deploy an immersive, creative and collaborative participatory Field-trips, tours, walks and excursions are an integral component of the spaces, zones and ecologies of the city become the classroom â&#x20AC;&#x201C; parks, squares, plazas, ecological experiments, collective farms, housing projects, cooperatives, public artworks and other interesting or problematic urban planning developments. st

founded in collaborative experimental approaches to art education at graduate and posttion Streetwork: The Exploding School, his work seeks to utilize cities as a classroom. Rather than founding projects within a single institution as with The School of Walls and Space within the Royal Academy of the Visual Arts in Copenhagen, Denmark, many of ferent infrastructures and frameworks that are neither conceptually nor physically limited by the frame of an institution and inherently critique the project of neo-liberal education In recent years insurgent programs - summer schools, teaching cooperatives, free schools and transgressive and critical pedagogical methods have arisen in opposition to the privatization and general shift in education towards a sausage-factory model of education and corporate style campuses. These projects have been developed within and are informed by these valuneo-liberal policies in education and beyond.

Founded as projects hosted by educational institutions CĂĄtedra Arte de Conducta (Behavior Art School) multiple publics through workshops aimed at fostering alternative training in the role of the arts within the sociopolitics of contemporary Cuba. Focusing on action instead of representation, a central aim of the project was the transformation of space through engaged civic discussion, communicative action, and a progressive approach to education. curators, writers, scientists, dancers, former convicts, theater directors, scriptwriters, 95

ditional early aim was the establishment of an archive of resources in contemporary art – with special focus on social issues. Apart from the important example set by the project in regards to the relation between art and social action, Cátedra Arte de Conducta and archives), their location at understood and dependable locations, and easy access to these texts for participants. The development and sustaining of such resources retechnology). Apart from the intention of institutional critique and reformation from within resources. In this respect, Cátedra Arte de Conducta is an example of an independent project established in conversation with an established arts institution as a means of addressing and perhaps alleviating some of these resource needs. Similar to The Stockyard Institute for its use of an educational institution as a platform for experimentation and speculative research, colourschool was a project instituted

laborative colour consciousness through a variety of events including reading groups, performances, and installations among other activities.” The Art School in The Art School -

where members of the public are free to participate in a range of activities, discussions, workshops, and classes. An artist and an Associate Professor in Art, Design, and Transmedia at Syracuse University, Spitzner is also an alumnus of the Syracuse University the graduate M.F.A. experience of the Syracuse University College of Visual and Pereducational practice.

Third spaces Despite the vitality and critical rigor of experimental art education practices, artists in th st century sought to establish education practices beyond and without being fettered by the networks, social capital, and intellectual structures of art education institutions. Artists moved in both public and semi-public spaces

equally participate in creative and collaborative educational initiatives. Some third spaces wholly private nor wholly public. Other third spaces were established or constructed as new and emergent alternative institutional platforms for educational art projects.

Mai in Thailand. The Land was founded, however, with an ethic of anonymity and without 96

tain intentions towards community, towards discussions and towards experimentation

The land also operates as an open space for experimentation. While it has hosted projin systems of renewable resource, the land is not limited to artists projects. Around the land, experiments in self-sustainable architectural structures have been built over the last seventeen years. While not overtly stated as an education project, the land functions as an open space and platform that sustains creative and collaborative participation between university students, local villagers, and visiting artists in open-ended negotiations of the potentials of the land. Involving workshops and practical project work, there is an inherent immersive, pastoral educational imperative that is vital to the local community and open to all. Mountain School of Arts -

its founders, Piero Golia and Erik Wesley, and participants consider it a fully functioning school. The school meets twice a week where administration, faculty, and the student body work collaboratively to manifest and sustain the educational community. There is a formal application process, yet there are no fees for enrolling or attending class. Despite the university system and encourages involvement with other educational institutions.â&#x20AC;? .

metaphor for this as these revolutionists held court in the back rooms of bakeries, print shops, etc. The cultural undercurrent is perpetually condemned to tradition while holding onto a more orthodox notion of educational impetus. a portion of a commercial business into an open school, the Copenhagen Free University space, event space, experimental cinema, public archive, and a range of public engagement initiatives including mobile bookshops, propaganda units, and radio and television services. The Free University is an artist run institution dedicated to the production of critical consciousness and poetic language. We do not accept the so-called new knowledge economy as the framing understanding of knowledge. We promising, subjective, uneconomic, acapitalist, produced in the kitchen, produced when asleep or arisen on a social excursion - collectively. st century education art projects such Austria, the CFU is an example of a project that was a third space both in terms of its physical location as well as its political and conceptual intent, operating as a platform for the articulation of possible forms and terms of liberation. The CFU concluded its opera-

the issue of institutionalization. 97

tity and as a part of the concept of self-institutionalisation we have always found it important to take power and play with power but also to abolish power. This is why the Copenhagen Free University closed down at the end activities with a clear conviction and declare: We Have Won! Henriette Heise & Jakob Jakobsen

In its twentieth year this year, the Center for Land Use Interpretation


research and education organization committed to understanding the nature and extent gram with buildings in Wendover, Utah, a desert research center in the Mojave desert in Lebanon, Kansas, and a online land use database. CLUI has a wide range of proin agriculture, air and space, cartography, culture, defense and preparedness, energy, excavation, industry, information and communication, mobility and conveyance, waste and a platform for education and exhibition predicated on an ethic of open access to information, CLUI provides a third space for those seeking progressive, immersive, and self-directed educational opportunities within a creative and collaborative environment supporting speculative research. One of the longest running artist-founded institutions with a dedicated mission in progressive art education, Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto


century woolen mill on the river Cervo Cittadelarte is dedicated to being a space for experimentation and action without limits placed on process or development. One University of Ideas work in the world as taking a responsible stance in society. Today, UNIDEE is an annual, fourth month long, interdisciplinary program accepting applications for those interested in becoming resident-participants in conceptualizing, developing, and disopment of projects are undertaken in a spirit of collective experience. Participants attend lectures and presentations, interact with experts and the local community process, and experimentation of their projects. Beta-Local in San Juan, Puerto is to support and promote aesthetic thought and practice through their various arts and lich. As a form of collaborative participatory art, in La Ivan Illich the participating public suggests, requests, and creates courses and workshops. Articulated by the founders: 98

subcultures can cross-paths, share information and experience, knowledge and skills. The curriculum is formed out of the needs, interests and skills of its users, and as such is an experimental project, in an exploratory and experimental phase. We are particularly interested in creating a space for ideas that do not live comfortably within existing academic institutions, perhaps because they are ideas not often discussed in depth, or because they require an interdisciplinary approach or a new format. Costs for the courses vary depending on the resources required for the course, but where enrollment and tuition fees being paid through barter. Perhaps illustrating the growing cultural currency of educational art practice within found of a school under the name the Bruce High Quality Foundation University

education in the form of free classes, the school quickly gained the attention of proyears, the situation with student debt in the United States came to greater public

an open invitation to any and all who identify as an artist and wish to participate. Amongst a small group of young artists and creative mostly from the United States,

are the anonymous art collective. ously discussed for her project Cรกtedra Arte de Conducta in Havana Cuba has more Immigrant Movement International political movement addressing the growing concerns about the political representation and social conditions of immigrants internationally. The Corona Headquarters offer public workshops, events, actions and partnerships with local communities, immigrants, and social services organizations. In this way, the organization operates as a third space for immigrants seeking education and counsel regarding their situations and concerns as well as non-immigrants seeking to participate in the process of articulating, understanding, and addressing these issues. Supported by art institutions such as Creative Time and the Queens Museum of Art, it is a space where subaltern immigrant communities mix with established institutions but on the terms of articulating methods for their liberation. More recently founded, it is very worthwhile to mention Open School East, a study

broader project undertaken by Create, an organization dedicated to exploring the ways in which artists can contribute to and transform the lives of people in cities. The core ethos of the program is one of cooperation and experimentation amongst academic year. Rather than pay fees, the residents are expected to be active in developing and implementing public events in the building. The intention is that these cooperative and collaborative activities form the basis for an informal environment for sharing skills and knowledge amongst not only the artist-residents but also the local community.


Art spaces Artist studios were artists who initiated educational practices within their private studios. In the case

of free and public education, was predominantly private and associated with the middle class. The Studio Program for the Visual Arts

and continues to this day.

Exhibition platforms An important moment in the recent history of educational art practice and the platform of Manifesta 6 an experimental art school in Nicosia, Cyprus. Modeling their project on precedents such

Cypriot south. Planning for the project - the treatment of the Green Line in particular - met

situation and was imposing and projecting outside constructs that were felt, by some, to precipitated legal disputes with the International Foundation Manifesta. Undeterred by the political and legal turmoil, Vidokle proposed to bring the project to the historically divided Unitednationsplaza, took form. In the words of Vidokle: The structure of the school project was very simple: an informal, free unioccasional performances. The focus was on contemporary art. The length of the project: one year. It was open to all who came and projected its content Angel Nevarez), and online. The program was duration based. It was meaningless to come once; repeated visits were necessary to gain any value from the discussions. Vidokle found that the durational and temporary qualities of the project engendered amongst participants a certain ethic of responsibility for something that was beyond any directed education, Vidokle also very much conceives of the project as an artwork on its

tour to Mexico City before ultimately manifesting itself as the Night School at the New An additional example of a educational art practice project successfully realized in an 100

ARTSCHOOL/UK Reardon worked in collaboration with two spaces, Cell Project Space and the Whitechapel Gallery in London on a two-phase education and production project. Phase I was -

on the project website has been sporadic; however, there is an extensive list of people institutions, the ARTSCHOOL/UK may be deploying a similar artwork model alongside

Nomadic projects Sundown Schoolhouse, from Originally, the project was conceived of as an evolving educational environment growing out of a series of salon gatherings Haeg held at his geodesic home in Los Angeles, and ing programs again. Sometimes characterized as the personal school of chief student Fritz Haeg, the project in some ways can be framed as a large initiative in self-directed education and self-institutionalization through creative participation with local artists and

enced back to its origination in Los Angeles, establishing both a nomadic presence and a consistent aesthetic context for the presentation of alternative models for educational practice, predicated on public interaction, physical presence, connectivity, and responsiveness to place, people, and space. An example of an ongoing nomadic and multi-site project is The Public School. FoundDockray, The Public School is careful to publicly state that it is not an accredited educadactic initiative with no set curriculum. At its core, The Public School is a model that is easily replicable. Classes result from proposals from the public who either wish to learn something or teach something. Additional members of the public then can express in-

with establishing the online open text archive AAAAARG.org through which many useful educational texts and resources have become available. Over the last few years, there have also been intentionally nomadic and non-space-dependent education projects launched such as A School of Decreative Methodologies, The AnA School of Decreative Methodologies 101

walls, without curricula, in rupture with all notions that institute art and how it is taught. The initiative accompanies forms of usership disposed to sundering art from itself.â&#x20AC;? Its decre-

and aesthetic dimensions of cultural production. With small class sizes and variable tuition systems based on a barter system where students labor for the school in exchange for classes, it is designed to be an agile and mobile project whose location can be de-

The Silent University also shares a political sensibility

an autonomous and mobile platform sustained by and for refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants. With a core mission of fostering knowledge exchange, the project is led by a lecturers, consultants, and research fellows who have professional and academic training in their home countries but due to complications regarding their status are unable to practice their skills professionally. Through collaborative participation, groups of participants contribute to course development and research related to their specializations and for knowledge exchange and also to render visible the skills, knowledge, and experience hosted by The Showroom. Current and future iterations will occur in Sweden with Tensta In some situations, possibilities for physical mobility are curtailed. In such situations, models of long-distance education and knowledge exchange become crucial â&#x20AC;&#x201C; such as in Sada

broadly) in the wake of the wars in Iraq. Seeking to connect international arts practitioners and educators with young and emerging artists unable to travel outside of Iraq and often experiencing reduced mobility within Iraq, where possible Sada organizes short-term summer arts intensives in Iraq; however, given recurring instability and restrictions on immigration for visiting participants, telephonic media such as Skype and other conferencing applications are utilized to sustain virtual platforms and programs for sustained conversations and educational exchanges. Additionally, when possible or necessary intermediary sites though concerned somewhat more with establishing and sustaining platforms between Ava Ansari and Molly Kleiman. Working in collaboration with artists, curators, and writers in Iran and the United States, Ansaria and Kleiman organize long-distance workshops, ing both creative and collaborative participatory models, emerges as a temporary platform for sustaining ongoing exchange and knowledge transfer between artists, curators, and cultural producers between Iran and the United States. To date, the project has engaged with a number of art spaces in both the United States and Iran, such as Sazmanab Platform for Contemporary Arts, Silk Road Gallery, and Aaran Gallery, in


Conclusion In conclusion, I restate my mindfulness of the inherent tension of proposing these structures for thinking about arts practices which, in most respects, seek liberation from such consensus amongst practitioners and those concerned with and interested in the intentions, sensibilities, and implications of these projects. As a gesture towards alternative ways of articulating and thinking about these practices, I would like to pay homage to a dear comrade and colleague in Providence, Rhode Island, Peter Hocking, who through many conversations about the history and ecology of art education in New England guided me to the metaphor of an ecotone â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a transitional and liminal space between distinct ecologies or biomes. More than only a threshold, an ecotone is host to a unique and diverse ecology of life and activity that is only possible within its conditions. It is neither simultaneously emerges as distinct. Neither simply education nor only art, education as arts practice is a brackish ecology of praxis â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a third ecology sustaining conditions for pedagogical liberation.

I would like to thank Linda Mercandino and the entire Cittadellarte community for the invitation to conduct this research and the opportunity to author and share this text. I am also deeply indebted to Jason Waite for his belief, guidance, and provocation throughout the research process. I would also like to thank the contributions, insights, and advice from Jane Androski, Vasif Kortun, Peter Hocking, Abigail Satinsky, and Mark Tribe.



What is the meaning, the need, the aim of art education in such a landscape? Assuming that there is need for art education, what kind of places and organisations can provide environments and setting consistent with such need? How is the relation between aesthetics and politics being redefined and does this affect art education?


Answers from: a.titolo Antoniolli Alessio Benedetti Lorenzo Bonduel Charlotte Catanzaro Beatrice Checchia Viviana Deglâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Innocenti Andrea Girelli Francesca Guida Cecilia Helguera Pablo Martinez Chus Mazzotta Matthew Martini Federica Narula Monica Poi Ruggero Rifky Sarah Rinadi Carla Russel Ian Alden Setari Nicola Stealth Sugawa Sakiko Tiazzoldi Caterina Waite Jason


A titolo What is the meaning, the need, the aim of art education in the current landscape? When we started developing projects and programs aimed at the formation of artists, tem in Italy, especially when compared to the experiences of other European countries. portunities for artists, we can think back to how, in this precise historic context, it is not only art that needs education, but education that needs art. Without a doubt this insight is derived from over a decade of curatorship of projects for public spaces that imply a direct involvement of citizens. In particular, we refer to our observation of the potential of art as ity to shape an esthetic experience, and therefore a cognitive one, that is not attributable to the sphere of consumption. According to us these are elements of the inextricable relationship between art and the concept of democracy, as was postulated by John Dewey, where art is capable of generating imagination, critical thought and the understanding of our peers, as Martha Nussbaum asserts. As far as the role of the museum is concerned in this context, we note how currently it wields a power that goes beyond its pedagogic vocation, exercising a subsidiary function in respect to a school system that has progressively prefered technical competence over the idea of universal knowledge. Education for all has been replaced by a policy of privilege, founded on principles of census and meritocracy. This is an ideological frame, that of neo-liberal economics, within the boundaries of a general discrediting of the humanistic disciplines, in which art education is losing ground and relevance. This represents a global phenomenon, but these considerations take on a special urgency in our country, that reduces or altogether cancels the teaching of art history in secondary schools, thereby attesting little interest in its past and its vast artistic and historic heritage. We are witnessing the contraction of knowledge, but also way we imagine our future.

Assuming that there is need for art education, what kind of places and organizations can provide environments and setting consistent with such need?

South-Western Piedmont housed in an antique silk mill close to the French border, a geographical area often considered decentralized by the standards of cultural consumerism, we had approached our mission as a form of cultural responsibility. We have worked on debate regarding an educational turn of curatorial practice and the growth of the importance of the audiences in the museum, and of its increasingly reciprocal relationship with

entails actual social transformationâ&#x20AC;?. Our idea of Making-Museum thus placed emphasis on re-establishing a relationship between the art project and the economic and cultural a museum attracts. We tried, with the scarce economic resources at our disposal, to


experiment with the methodology of the public art program Nouveaux Commanditaires. Taking as its model the museum as a public space, and operating through meetings and workshops, a group of residents in the area took up the challenge of assuming the role

century. In this sense, the notion of education has been applied to the museum audience; an exAgonale ment of a dialectic game raised questions regarding the types of pedagogic interaction between the museum and its visitors. In Turin we have also experimented with an edu-

so preoccupied with how to participate, how to take part, in the limited ground that re-

context we are discussing, and as understood along the lines of a circular and mutual prospective, that does not presume the dispensing of paternalistic and unilateral knowlissues that occur at a round table, for example in the context of the Nouveaux Commanditaires project and at the same time a maieutic sphere distanced from the logic of entertainment. We think this is an interesting context for art education.

In our approach to art this relationship is of fundamental importance. It is not by chance ments and discussion, focussed on the Situationist International: the dialectic between its idea of politics and artistic practice understood as an instrument of intervention in daily tion of the notion of politics that took place on a social and cultural level in representative

rise of peer education and platforms for debate - comes to mind, which however are not the result of the mainstream but rather a manifestation of a generalized need. We also craftsmen enjoying worldwide, exponential growth. It is evident that this is an expression of a political dimension that leads to new models of citizenship that without doubt will


Alessio Antoniolli What is the meaning, the need, the aim of art education in such a landscape? this question without falling into generalisations and cliches. As I struggle, I ask if art education and socially engaged or participatory practices are perhaps a collection of shades of the same thing can play a role in society beyond - or outside of - its commodity status. Clearly, it is pertinent to ask how art can play a part in questioning the straight-jacketing and homogenising feeling of a mainstream context that conditions us to aspire to the same things. With this predicament, can we turn to art and its creative practices to potentially chalyes thinking outside of the box, helping us to better understand the situation in which we live and instigating us to consider what possibilities we have to be - at least - less passive. The question, then, becomes one of methodologies and approaches. As society changmovement works towards engendering fresh ways of thinking and aquainting us with new

Assuming that there is need for art education, what kind of places and organizations can provide environments and setting consistent with such need? trum of activities. This, as we have seen on many occasions, can end up in creating allencompassing or even alienating programmes that do more damage than good. Instead, I believe that a plurality of approaches, institutional settings and projects can better engage artists and community members, stimulating a programme that addresses the needs and interests of all involved with the sensitivity and means that are both relsmall) artists, community projects etc... have a role to play. This may be seen as a collection of fragmented and disconnected activities. However, while there is value in focusing multiple voices overtake one other or merge in order to be heard.

the growing interest in issues of identity politics, or the ways in which artists have tackled the archive, have further developed the way in which histories can be constructed, interpreted and presented. In many cases, research practices that incorporate such issues or, at least, show parallel trajectories to those of dominant cultures. This has impacted on art education by providing new tools and methodologies for engaging with social groups, mainstream but that attempts to map out a wider ground on which to live and operate. 110

Lorenzo Benedetti What is the meaning, the need, the aim of art education in such a landscape? Education in one of the central element in the art practice. In an embedded form education is a intrinsic element in each exhibition dimension. The layer of communication, tions and not only in the context of art academies. The relation between museum and art

of the art history throught the medium of exhibitions. De Appel is an art center that since Curaotors. In all this years is visible the importance of this kind of program and how it changed and developed in the course of the last decennia. The educational turn in central especially in the process of globalization in order to give the possibilities to spread more central part of the education is the changing relation with the audience and the develdevelopment of new form of creative forms of learning.

Assuming that there is need for art education, what kind of places and organizations can provide environments and setting consistent with such need? Education is a structure that alludes the communication and exchange of ideas and develop a vision of art. The educational platforms should develop always more in a interna-

practice of contemporary art. The developments of art schools and other educational program is in an increasing dynamic and it will be a central element for many countries placed in a new economical system.

In the last decade there have been increasingly changes in the esthetics of art in relation of the political landscape. What is a central issue is how the political responsibility for a stronger attention to the new research of art and culture.


Beatrice Catanzaro What is the meaning, the need, the aim of art education in such a landscape? In human History, the agricultural revolution set the threshold between cohabitation in small communities and the expansion of large settlements and cities, where bonds were not based on direct blood connections, rather on interests and imposed social orders. People invented stories, gods, laws, establishing a social order to provide the needed

in the shared imagination of thousands of people. ticular order not because it is objectively true, but because believing in it enables us to cooper-

I take here the license to state that eventually, the meaning of socially engaged art educa-

At the same time, it should be an invitation to sharpen the inner look at oneself drives and intentions, by asking that crucial question: why do I do what I do? Why, for instance, I am drawn towards participatory art practices and political engagement? What are my inner reasons and motivations?

Thus, in my probably idealistic perspective, the aim of art education is to peel the layers of an onion, in order to, on the one hand, understand the inner drives and traces of oneself and, on the other hand, to train imaginative and inter-subjective capacities that might allow us to imagine and embody new forms of social cohesion.

Assuming that there is need for art education, what kind of places and organizations can provide environments and setting consistent with such need? If I look back at my personal educational journey, I recall certain situations - I see the Art

of thrilling energy was there to warm up hearts and minds, regardless of degrees, scores or how memory is always selective and life experiences are constantly re-narrated. However, if we assume that art education is indeed a journey inwardly as well as outwardly and it demands a great deal of trust, truthfulness and commitment, then, rather then questioning the physicality of the place, I would enquire the soft-resources devoted to this endeavor. mind: conversations, empathy, mutual learning, collaborative practices, food, sharing ex-

Nonetheless, there are certain issues to be considered: the need of a recognized degree, 112

such as a diploma, especially in areas where education is an expensive matter or where Art is considered a pastime for girls; high fees and loans; carrier and job opportunities etc. All those are certainly practical challenges for a more explorative understanding of Art Education.

a more contextual and tailored approach. Having experienced educational institutions Academy of Ramallah, Palestine), I could observe peculiar needs and social pressures, contextual to the socio-cultural milieu of the place. Those elements, and many others, are inevitably negotiating the design of an educational environment. duties as mothers and wife, justifying to extended families their commitment to contem-

what ever she fancy and lives openly her sexuality etc.

an educational journey that can, on the one hand, truly involve the students, and on the other, reach out to the local community.

Power is an educational system that divides us into subjects and subjected. Nevertheless, it is an educational system that forms us all, from the so-called ruling class all the way down to the poorest of us. That’s why everyone wants the same things and everyone acts in the same way”. (From “We Are All In Danger” - The last interview with Pier Paolo Pasolini by Furio Colombo 1st of November 1975)

Assuming that politics is an imaginative practice devoted to design social order and forms of co-existence, thus the relation between politics and aesthetics is indeed constantly reArt Education has certainly transformed, for instance from the Maestro/Apostle structure, based on the notion of the artist as genius, to interdisciplinary approaches and mutual learning structure, where the teacher embraces the role of mentor and tutor. The transformation

In a conservative political establishment, Art Education can represent a threat and therefore be submitted to censorship and rigid study programs, while, in a neoliberal environment, Art Education is sometimes bended under the umbrella of the Creative industry. The potential of Art Education can also be annihilated by the internationalism of a nomadic approach to education, for instance through residency programs or international

economy that sustain them. And to consciously negotiate with those boundaries is probably the challenge.


Viviana Checchia What is the meaning, the need, the aim of art education in such a landscape?

his book Teaching Art in the Neoliberal Realm for art in such a system?â&#x20AC;? Theorists and teachers contributing to this pivotal publication do analyse the cynicism of the neoliberalized education market, and they propose possible alternatives that are more suitable for the needs and characteristics of art education. These alternatives represent, for me, the reason of being in art education. Art education can still provide tools and methodologies that help artists further develop their ideas and practice. On the other hand, it is important to acknowledge the shift we have witnessed in recent years: the incorporation of pedagogy into art and above all into curatorial practice, In his volume Curating and the Educational Turn artists, curators, critics, and academics provided a quite comprehensive response to this new dynamic of art re-orientation towards the educational. It is from this book that I mutate most of the references and arguments I use to position myself as a curator/researcher focused on curating knowledge rather than curating objects. Combining these two positions, we actually end up stating that this educational turn in curating can be a response to the neoliberal shift in academy. This suggests that the meaning, need, and aim of art education stands in something rather informal and more

Assuming that there is a need for art education, what kind of places and organizations can provide environments and setting consistent with such a need? settings for art education. Any place can be valid as or converted into a suitable location all which formats. Going back to Teaching Art in the Neoliberal Realm, I have to admit that while reading this book I actually thought that there is no space left for art education and that art education would be better of in non-academic platforms. are and will be huge and devastating if art departments really follow these new dynamics. In spite of its bitterness and cynicism, the book made me believe that there is still a place for art education, eventually moving outside of conservative academic platforms. -

art education, I would like to share an example of an attempt to get over this relationship by deconstructing it. 114

based in Graz. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Truth is concreteâ&#x20AC;? brought together art that not only represents and docuactivism that not only acts for the sake of acting but searches for intelligent, creative means of self-empowerment.

open forum, education and production were devoted to the movement of ideas and practices and to the unframing of these from the disciplines, protocols, and methodologies that conventionally manage them. -

economy in the current wave of crisis of capitalism. This results in innovative research modes based in practice and engagement as new political actors emerge from within grass roots movements. Art education should then become a platform for scrutinizing and rethinking the relation-


Andrea Deglâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;innocenti What is the meaning, the need, the aim of art education in such a landscape?

harmony with the enviroment around us. We need to learn art, because art can provide

Assuming that there is a need for art education, what kind of places and organizations can provide environments and setting consistent with such a need? kind of activities are more and more tiny; but the good news is that we can change things, we can build grassroot schools.

As I already said, politics usually refer to rationality. Now we need to change in a olistic way, to get back the contact with the right side of our brain. Human beeing sould be in the middle, with aesthetics, politics and economics all around.


Cecilia Guida What is the meaning, the need, the aim of art education in such a landscape? bution), the problem of a renewed educational system shows its chief importance, and -

patient research of the scholar – intended to be as an artist and a craftsman – is simply dead, and it was replaced by the modern Fordist model of University, as an assembly The Contest of Faculties with the Von Humboltian and the English colonialist ones) has been shaken by the global an administrator, the student into a consumer, and education from a time and a place for

and the subsequent option for evaluation criteria based on money, market needs and consumer satisfaction. On a more positive side, this lack of contents lays open the possibility for new places and new organizations, where the concepts of education, intellectual creativity, emancipation, responsibility, community can be completely revised. In this by the political and corporate world, more interested in the exact sciences) are currently and hideous crisis – in its dimensions, outcomes and length – you need imagination, an open mind, freedom of thought, ability to move away from predetermined patterns, will-

ex-ducere), rather than acceptducere), and hence give the due importance to the its, and to express himself in an autonomous way, rather than being shaped or molded by

as a precious form of experimentation and opens up new possibilities. An institution born

to be carried out conjointly by Universities, Academies and others), but also at creating active participants, rather than spectators, more capable of facing the new challenges posed by a changing world.

Assuming that there is a need for art education, what kind of places and organizations can provide environments and setting consistent with such a need? Nova Scotia, but only the contemporary equivalent of such things. We need the greatest 117

openness on the structural layout, the methodologies to be employed and the targets to be achieved, accepting the unknown. This is exactly what a University, an Academy, or School of Athens there were not only artists,

not only the dandy artist, but also actors, musicians, stylists, models, drag queens, etc. nessmen, journalists, etc. In Michelangelo Pistoletto Foundation-Cittadellarte, as well as in The University of Ideas project, artists live together with architects, economists, stylists, ecologists, educators, etc. What I want to say is that educating through art means with the post-structuralist methodology, which characterizes the contemporary artist, at the border or even outside


Undoubtedly, the present digital revolution allows for greater interaction and is a model users. Nevertheless, the Net functions as a model, and should be considered as such. An artistic institution, aiming to be engaged in the social context with an educative project, should look at the Net as a structural layout and an organisational set-up, should not have a unitary position, but a transversal one. This means it should interconnect a wide we should speak of Multiversity rather than University. In order to create new terms, new

workshops for production, development and strengthening of alternative subjectivities,

going beyond the academic study programme; for a continuous research of invention, of new directions, and of free self-expression, even in improbable situations.

Concerning the political dimension, I think it is implicit in what I said above. If it is necessary to reform from the root formation and its institutions, and to educate, starting from edge, that is because it is deemed that society needs to call into question both its traditional patterns, which are outdated and useless, as well as a way of understanding education, greatly depending on neoliberist policies and logics, in order to produce a new critical thinking and generate new actions. Today, we speak of a globalized crisis and a re-located world, pointing to the twofold attitude of unifying and contextualizing social, economical, political, and ethical phenomena; the Multiversity of art must necessarily deal with the historical condition we live in, which means having the fulcrum dense social networks, in order to create a constantly evolving community of people, a collective ethos of shared intelligence and civic responsibility. We need a new academic 118

pandedâ&#x20AC;? network of ideas, contents, processes that go back and forth from University, This is the reason why the most important challenge facing an artistic educative project is both about its temporal development, which must be long-term so that it can become part of life and get mixed up with every day occasions and places of learning and debate, and about its ability to have an impact on the public local sphere, through an ongoing dialogue and the active participation of citizens. We will just need to stop thinking of education as a consumption good, and start imagining it as an agent of political action and an activator of dynamics and aesthetical apparatus for social transformation. This is the novelty of the future.


Pablo Helguera What is the meaning, the need, the aim of art education in such a landscape? -

art professional) has been traditionally rooted in art history and art technique. mainly because art appreciation is a very passive way to teaching art that does not truly convey the importance that art can have in our daily lives, nor how we all in fact engage lies in that art schools, while providing a necessary and useful historical and techni-

truly connected to the outside world. Furthermore, the modern tradition of focusing on the inner exploration and construction of the self usually completely overcomes the very actual need to listen and become attentive to external social realities. So, if one were to assert needs and aims for current art education at the very least it should be to correct or counterbalance the shortcomings of those traditional forms of art education both for the public and for the artist.

Assuming that there is need for art education, what kind of places and organizations can provide environments and setting consistent with such need? Art Education from Noun to Adjectiveâ&#x20AC;? I stated that I believe that the only logical next step for art education is to be treated not as another discipline but as an all-encompassing meta-discipline in the university environment. For tution of art schools or universities for this purpose, as existing institutions are trapped in bureaucracy, incompetent teaching, tenure rules and economic interests. This has instead to be redrawn from scratch in the creation of new institutions. Same goes to mu-

places and explicitly in others. In terms of internal art world politics, I would say that art not) to trigger a truly transformative or emancipatory societal process, as it ostensibly is the larger goal of the education discipline. Instead art education in the art world tends to reinforce hierarchies of knowledge, not breaking them, because art is paradoxically detion, because it is implicitly believed that art is about revealing a secret code, not too dissimilar to hermetic societies of the past, and knowledge brings power. The best example


artist and then I can claim that knowledge has been produced? The phrase conveniently

similar rhetoric that appears to point to transformative, emancipatory gestures, but that

[addendum] In terms of how we can make art education a more prominent place in society, below is a recent response I gave to a questionnaire formulated by artist Luis Camnitzer on that topic: It is unfortunate that in countries like the United States arts education has descended to the lowest echelon of priorities in the school curriculum. That, for sure, needs to change. I also am a strong believer that art is a crucial activity that constructs knowledge and expands understanding on any other disciplines. However, as far as I know, I believe that those who are advocates for the expanded role of arts education have not made a strong enough case for, nor have perhaps resolved, the distinction between art making making is unequivocally a creative endeavor, creativity does not exclusively reside in art making. I believe it is a well-established that creativity is a critical element for innovation: creative working environments in companies and even corporations like Google appear basis, the experiments of bringing artists to companies to inspire or instigate innovation is when Claes Oldenburg was invited to be an artist in residence at Disney studios; while he ended up making many Mickey Mouse-related art works, the relationship did not go over well). Artists may inspire non- artists to create, but artistic process is usually so selfreferential that the communication with the outside world does not always happen. This leads to the painful criticism that true creativity has left the art world, and true innovation

ciplines. It can also be described as the power of ambiguity of art. The other is that art, as discipline-in-the-making, is in essence a practice that is critical onto itself inasmuch the thing that needs to be exploited the most in art teaching, and the most transferable quality to learn to apply outside of the non-art world.


Chus Martinez What is the meaning, the need, the aim of art education in such a landscape? Education is another name for presence, meeting, exchange, debate. The meaning of education is the meaning of the personal encounter where the work addresses the work, or a person a group, or a group addresses a group or two people meet or a series of all understand, or do understand but not quite or the name of the disagreement or the mood or the lack of a precise language that may appear but it is not quite there. Education does not name pedagogy, or a method, or a canon or a knowledge. It is like breathing, it names a function.

Assuming that there is need for art education, what kind of places and organizations can provide environments and setting consistent with such need? All what is informal and meets the human in a context where she or he discovers something outside a given frame is more of a context than anything institutionalised.

If aesthetics names experience and politics names belief, the relationship between the both is now undergoing a radical transformation that we are not quite able to name yet.


Federica Martini In such a deeply changing and complex landscape, the crisis of educational institutions and of education itself - challenged by emerging forms of knowledge production and distribution, and from changing geographies of labour and wealth - comes to us â&#x20AC;&#x201C; an institution born from art, rather than for art - as a question and an opportunity. Signs and practices of transition are apparent everywhere, drawing an emerging, yet tradictory at the same time. We are proposing to address the issue starting by 3 main questions that we drafted down. We will gather these wealth of views and inputs coming from your feedback into the background for the workshop and the follow up process, as described below.

What is the meaning, the need, the aim of art education in such a landscape? porary labour formats and increase chances of employability and networking. These same academic degrees are called into question by alternative initiatives that propose forms of collectivism as a means to create sustainable collaboration networks and counter labour models. The coexistence of institutional and independent positions is one essential contribution ent extents, an opening to alternative pedagogies. Quite often, they share methodologies and and independent art schools that the rigid and unchangeable classroom structure is brought into question and substituted with temporary sites that may be re-designed by teaching and This hybrid identity places art education in a privileged position to question forms of pedagogy, the role of self-learning, the race to professionalization and the relationship tempt not to act in Pavlovian response to the demands of the market and contemporary society, but rather as critical producers that broaden visions of labour and research, while also questioning the way these latter are performed.

Assuming that there is need for art education, what kind of places and organizations can provide environments and setting consistent with such need? The diversity of contemporary artistic practices indicates that the situations and organizations involved in art education must necessarily be many. We are experiencing today the coming back to age of past models of art education, such as rural art colonies, community-based urban knowledge platforms and trans-disciplinary research centres. On the other side, art educational issues are trespassing the boundaries of the cultural sphere and address new social agents and disciplines. the emergence of new policies in public funding, which scope goes beyond urban sites and come to include peripheral and non-urban areas. 123

In this context, independent art schools have come to age as new forms of artists-run spaces and, parallel to this movement, artists involved in social protests have actively contributed to the creation of alternative knowledge platforms. schools and research groups to pursue more collective forms of art education, each of as a research situation opens the possibility for museums, biennials and Kunsthallen to position themselves as active agents of art education. as well as both internationally and locally context-based.

This is for me a crucial, open question. I believe art education can be in itself a form of social engagement, depending on how it is performed. However, when talking with some

artistic production. The asnwer to this question should change, I believe, depending on a way of dealing with political upheavals from an aesthetic point of view. During the Per-

social emergency, artistic educational institutions can not operate in isolation from the real ground or act as mediators. The position of social movements indicates that in the midst of the upheaval, the only politically acceptable answer is being inside the protest. How, under which circumstances, in what institutional and non-institutional frame the issues raised by social protests can be debated and performed within an art educational organization is in my view the main critical issue.


Matthew Mazzotta What is the meaning, the need, the aim of art education in such a landscape? and communities they are physically located within, and the ones that their students are reaching out to, so that they are held accountable for the type of work they are proposing. Socially engaged artmaking has consequences as it mixes real world situations with SAE by such institutions as they promote their students to experiment with resources, community spaces, and the lives of members of underserved communities. It would be them as they go out and try to make work in other communities. munities involved are not being taken advantage of or become the victims of the art practice. It is also important that the learning and experiences that are practiced are not

shaping of the projects in their neighborhoods, towns, and cities. This direct participation from the community members can make the discussions richer, as citizens are exposed to platforms of dialogue that have been developed within SEA practices and can bring their unique perspectives to the conversation. This way, it becomes a learning experience

The institutions working with SEA, and the interventions that come from them, must not

and issues arise from the interaction. Upon the completion of a project, all the people involved, including the art practitioners and community members, should be invited to

Assuming that there is need for art education, what kind of places and organizations can provide environments and setting consistent with such need? -

The VAP, as an art program, is interesting because it starts with the premise of being located within MIT, which is a leading university with amazing people from all over world tackling many issues from a variety of disciplines, not just art. The program is based on the idea that having artists woven into such an environment and interacting, conversing work that is able to get deep into the issues of our times. Art schools that strictly teach art are important for understanding how to create and present work, about learning techniques and craft, how to critique work and cut apart concepts and ideas, understand how to show in the context of museums, galleries, and the public domain, and how to strategize in working with people from other disciplines. However, 125

trying to make art that crosses disciplines, at a strictly teaching art school, cannot provide direct access to people from other disciplines. This is where these schools can fall short. At VAP, the program was based on the understanding that every discipline has its own unique language and its own set of goals, principles, philosophies, inertia, etc., and as an artist at MIT, you had the chance to begin a relationship with someone from these other

ducing a whole new set of conversations.

create problems, as dynamic solutions rarely get developed from a place of isolation. A more sensitive approach considers many points of view and develops a new platform for dialogue that many disciplines can begin to approach and contribute to, so that the discourse around an issue can become more malleable and sophisticated. The issues the world faces are amazingly complex, as we know, and need entry points for many points of view to loosen them up to begin to tackle them. For artists, I think it is about becoming interdisciplinary, cross-disciplinary, and trans-disciplinary in our pro-

is so interconnected socially, politically, spiritually, psychologically and environmentally.

planning protests and trying to spread important messages through being visible on the ally never thought that protesting on the street with signs, symbolic actions in public, and provoking heated and unwanted conversations with people walking by was the best

would make this world a better place. Early on in these days of protesting, I realized that the aesthetic of this type of protest, with signs, slogans and marching in the street, was a very polarizing one. The common image of the protest was a group of discontent people banded together under one ideology with little physical space for more involved conversations. We were always occupying other space that was not meant for calm and comfortable discussion. With this type of protest, I often felt like we looked like a bunch of angry people who were up against the wall with no way to move forward except through a huge ugly battle. I knew back then that the solutions to the problems that we encounter in life are much more complex than just holding an ideology in the face of those who might disagree or have not fully examined the situation and come to their own conclusions. So, years later, still being

others; the same engagement that I was searching for. I remember seeing part of a poem


judged and swamped in words and attitudes. A place where there is actually time to think and act human again towards each other. In my work now, I try to create a space like the one Rumi writes about, a space devoid of overt political themes. A place that does not provoke anger, cause people to be fearful and instinctively protective of their cultural and personal histories, but rather a place where people enter into the space out of curiosity and of their own childlike interest, on their own terms. I think about the artwork and spaces I make as fruit. Many plants produce fruit, which is designed to be colorful, attractive, sweet smelling, shiny, tasty, and accessible. However, plants do not produce fruit just to be attractive so that animals eat it. Fruit is designed in such a way that when an animal eats it, they also eat the seeds of the fruit. These seeds are where the information of the plant is stored and ready to be planted and grow in other areas of the world. So by attracting an animal to eat the fruit, the plant is actually transferring and disseminating information and knowledge in a symbiotic process of outreach and renewal. I design my artwork with the same strategy as fruit. I try to create spaces as spectacles that are whimsical, colorful, wondrous, and accessible to create a situation that pulls people into the piece through their own curiosity and interest. However, much like the fruit, my artwork is not just a spectacle, it is designed so that people are brought into a new experience and start to interact with each other and their surroundings in a new way. They become part of a situation which is unrehearsed and provides a springboard for starting to exchange experiences and ideas. A place where people start to make new stories and gain new perspectives in the places they knew so well. My work is about creating space for new conversations that are just under the surface, but have not had the time or space to occur.

spaces like these, where people do not have agendas or something they are trying to prove, but spaces that are actually about experiencing something new without preconceived ideas and sentiments; a moment for open ideas and experiences.


Jasmina Metwaly nizations can provide environments and setting consistent with such need?

Imagination is not cheap and not everyone in this country is allowed to imagine. Imagination dimension of a variety of positions that were taken at some point in history and those of today, are turned into brands and have been appropriated and at times misused by institutions that capitalise on them creating neo-liberal systems of education that contribute to the very same it could work as a reminder that we should probably look back into a few things, few people that have been contributing to creating a more collective approach to the understanding of

to be seen within the wider context of what this wide range of practices mean today and look into the core problems of education within the public space. I come from Egypt where although it will take years, perhaps generations to establish a long-term change, it is important to practise the idea that at the very core of social change

and in a vacuum, having no intention to allow openness to the potential forms of critical thinking, or any kind of risk taking. Perhaps resuscitating old models and/or attempting to re-enact the spontaneous is redundant, but I believe that an attempt to map previous practises of self-organisation, collectivity and crowd formation can help us imagine.

Degree Debt Market Academicism Free-form Labor production Creative Experimentation Interdisciplinary Social Practise Art activism Neo-liberalism and artistic avant-garde Pinot Gallizio John Cage 128

Free University of Copenhagen Campus in the Camps Aaaaarg.com Mosireen Mass Alexandria


Monica Narula Landscape The art of the future is already present in our time. The question of what that art is and can be is open to transformation. We may not see it when we come across it, but we will know it when we are changed by it. The language of contemporary art cannot be understood through any particular culturalhistorical idiom, or through any particular clusters of style, media or forms. To survive, contemporary art has to inhabit a landscape of translation where works, processes and laying every history, every myth, every truth and tradition open to play. In this process, there may be misreadings, but they need not be feared. Misreadings of intention, of meaning, of authority may all open up new possibilities.

Meaning What is the meaning of meaning ? This is the most important question. What do we mean found when the education of the artist is not seen as a training in technique, style and mannerism but in the transformation of her work into a sensuous, rigorous and playful philosophical exercise. that she may occasionally produce, then the meaning or purpose of the artists education may be partially redeemed.

Need The education that the artist needs cannot be instilled from the outside. Artists are autodidacts. They know what they need to know. And they will want to know what they need. They may need to know - everything - from mathematics, to biology, to political economy, to ethics and astronomy. And then they may realize that what they know is not need to do art. The artist willingness to trust the unknown and the unknowable is what makes them purArtists need an education in getting to be on intimate terms with the unknowable.

Aim has nothing to do with mistakes. Artists need critics, not examiners. Artists needs threshold challengers.

education? The relation between aesthetics, politics and art education. study anywhere, at any time. The global resources for making this possible exist, they are not being realized because art is not a political priority. This needs to change. Art schools need to be mobile, they need to travel, they need to be built like guest houses

They need to be a heterotopia entangled and confused between a philosophical sympocaravanserai, a tea house and a gymnasium. Most importantly, the only true art school should be a free art school. It should cost noth130

any form of practice or discipline. For this, society and politics as we know it may have to be dismantled, and reconstructed having good art schools. Capitalism should be transcended because it is an obstacle to the formation of really good art schools.


Ruggero Poi What is the meaning, the need, the aim of art education in such a landscape? cause this implies having to lift people to a higher level. People has often wanted to discipline nature and human potential, considering it a de-

As with every human aspect, many variables need to be considered when it comes to education, what we can do is to plan artfully an environment suitable for the blooming of any vocation.

with individual and collective work. We should create a balance between vocation and pro-vocation, two important and necessary alternate currents, energies which allow oxyWe should untie the standardized laces which the traditional educational system has It is therefore useful to bring concentration back into the work, into the operating, distracted by hidden schizophrenic impulses pretending to be urgent. Here we are, decomthe complexity and give it back to the community as basic and genuine food.

Assuming that there is need for art education, what kind of places and organizations can provide environments and setting consistent with such need? Aggregating small, sleek and vital local communities. Creating islands of reflections with no tele-informatic buzz to distract and de-concentrate people. Granting deep experiences able to respect the person and his or her own times. Allowing a growth which is not improvised but deposited in the course of the educative process. What allowed men to develop culturally? Making the hand an instrument for the thought. Representing, narrating, communicating, bequeathing. Taking the experience out of the individual to turn it into a heritage for humanity, at this point authentically global and widespread

Education is politics. Planning education means giving society an architecture. Any vital, active and shared form of education is far from the anaesthetic forms that we have experienced and that have structured passivizing democracies. Assuming responsibility of education means making aesthetic politics.


Art Education To For the occasion of the workshop Social Practice and Education in Contemporary Discourse, the University of Ideas (UNIDEE) requested responses to the following set of a short questions:

in such a


and organizations can provide environments and setting consistent with such need? -

art work is a school.â&#x20AC;?

we create. Art education can only be viewed within the larger framework of education at large. And education in the formal sense of schools, universities and academies, have traditionally been intertwined with the economic realities that bring them about, inform, restrict and make them possible. dardizing it, making it more measurable, and more controllable. In his excellent discus-

ultimately seeks a balance between them. The question does not concern which activity should be eliminated, but rather which one should inform the other.â&#x20AC;? The question of how this balance is achieved, within or outside traditional school structures, applying which pedagogical ideas and methods, and how this can be made sustainable are the equally bound to asking what is art education and why do we need it.

our discussions would often center on what we hoped the programs would achieve and how our engagement with this grew and changed with every new cycle. To me, the prito the formal university or academy) should not be solely focused on crafting the conditions that make art making possible but rather to incite ways of thinking that exceed strict and for further specialization through practice. To make space to imagine things a little the world through art, and art through things. There is a looming expectation that art education is supposed to help artists get on track and onto a career path, transitioning to professionalism. When, to some degree art can 133

be best understood as a vocation and not only a means to a livelihood. If the outcome of a solid art education is being better persons, in the meaning of curious, informed and more laterally engaged with their subjects of interest, this does not necessarily translate into a fast track of better income, success or recognition, but might provide alternate tools to

Despite the high cost of schools, there is a proliferation of art education programs. In parallel, between formal and self-organized institutions, and quite a number of artist-run schools. Art spaces, artist-run schools, but even universities are able to open themselves up to forms of learning and exchange that bypass the set codes and customs of well-trod ways beyond singular disciplines. The premise of asking where art education should be taught, can be altered by addition a proposition at end â&#x20AC;&#x201C; even if grammatically incorrect â&#x20AC;&#x201C; asking:

At Beirut was loosely dedicated to thinking about art and pedagogy, working closely with a number

The program grows out of realization that there is a rift between the nascent institutional The surge of new initiatives, collectives and institutions that emerged, grew out of emergency, and immediate urgency, while others empowered by the new space that the political shift seems to have facilitated. All of these institutions constitute a resilient front and an alternative infrastructure that works toward social justice and civic responsibility, freedom of expression and research ogy, human rights and new media. This alternative infrastructure, however, is extremely fragile, informal and in constant change, with motivations ranging from economic, legal and political issues to more vocational and ideological ones. tively marginal community. Their collective role for knowledge production remains largely

users, in imagining and implementing novel forms of political socialization and strategic

how we understand institutions and their political potential. The program aims to look at matters of legality and legitimacy, economy and ownership, infrastructure and language, but rather an institutional clinic that draws together a number of young fellows interested ways of learning, organizing and sharing knowledge. During the program, we will engage with theory, trying to locate these institutions within a broader spectrum of history, geog134

raphy, politics and other contextual viewpoints. The aim is to learn by doing, by analysing and engaging more closely with organizations, so as to gain access to the practical and

We are and increasingly will be reliant on organizations of civil society to gain back a political agency toward this much-needed social and cultural transformation. If we want change, we need to imagine it.


Carla Rinaldi What is the meaning, the need, the aim of art education in such a landscape?

what they experience?â&#x20AC;?. I believe these are the key questions that children constantly ask themselves, while they attend our schools as well as after they leave them. spheres of reference in their daily lives. It is a task that involves making connections, giving meaning to these events, to these fragments that are gathered over the course of many and varied experiences. The search for the meaning of life and of the self in life is born with child, and this is why we speak of a child who is competent, strong.

a piece of life. For us, these meanings, these explanatory theories, are extremely important and powerful in revealing the ways in which children think, question, and interpret reality and their own relationships with reality and with us. phors that distinguishes the experience of Reggio Emilia. It is also the genesis of creativity, relational creativity. Art has become too separated from life. The disciplinary developments of the sciences such as -super-specialization -compartmentalization and fragmentation of knowledge. Instead of applying corrective measures to these developments, our system of teaching ment), to keep the disciplines separate, to consider art and creativity the expression of a few elect, relegated to museums or places that ensure that its subversive power is conIn school, we are taught to separate that which is connected, to break down rather than compose, to eliminate all that which brings disorder or contradictions to our intellect. For this reason, we must also reconsider the relationship with art as a relationship with

For adults and children alike, understanding means being able to develop an interpretive

they represent something more than simply an idea or a group of ideas. They must please aesthetics of knowledge). In representing the world, our theories represents us. Our theories â&#x20AC;&#x201C; if possible â&#x20AC;&#x201C; must also please and be attractive to others. Our theories need to be listened to by others. Expressing our theories to others makes it possible to transform a world not intrinsically ours into something shared. pressed, to be communicated, and thus listened to, in order to exist.


Assuming that there is need for art education, what kind of places and organizations can provide environments and setting consistent with such need? I would say that more than a need for art education there is the right to be educated to the art, or, even better, to the artistic languages, in as much as the artistic process is a process of freedom, creation of new relationships in and of reality. The artistic languages have an explosive power when proposed within learning and knowledge building processes. Crossing the boundaries that distinguish artistic processes from the scientific ones, it is necessary. The school, the new school, can raise only if art and esthetic become engines of a deep re-

Not because everybody needs to be an artist but because everybody deserves to be freeâ&#x20AC;? Gianni Rodari said (XX century Italian writer)

What I have described so far, allows to understand how art can contribute to many democratic processes, in as much as people freedom become real in active and democratic contexts. knowledge and, for this, of democracy.


Ian Alden Russel What is the meaning, the need, the aim of art education in such a landscape? The meaning of art education in my work is a process of liberation from traditional educational strictures that constrain and at times undermine alternative potentials for self and group actualization. Art education, for me in general, is a committed effort to critical reflexivity and self awareness in order to actualize an honest presence in the making of work. I also feel art education brings a certain ethical and economic cational environments do not is a sense of group critical support. That is the exploration of self with others and amongst others â&#x20AC;&#x201C; simultaneously both radically individual and social. The models of education that dominate most educational institutions were established

Emilia), and following the thought of Pablo Helguera, I believe it is within this tradition of critical alternatives that current movements in art education have been emerging over the last twenty years. The need for this is clear, since it is no longer a statement from the periphery of educational theory. Recently, there has been an urgency within many

need for a complete reconceptualization of education in relation to faculties of human making, expression, thinking, etc.). While I do not propose this as the correct application of art education, I feel it is a strong demonstration of the broad-based consensus for educational reform. An important aim of any such reform is the exploration and articulation of alternative models. Theories and critical insight only begin a conversation. The manifestation and testing of alternative models is crucial, and the critical rigor and ethical awareness with which artists approach work place art education on a unique platform to offer tentative solutions. It should also be understood that these processes of articulation, demonstration, and exploration may not be best accomplished in the art education today can be a fertile ground in which to propagate ecologies of practitioners who integrate this approach to an ongoing critical reformation of education into their work, life, and community.

Assuming that there is need for art education, what kind of places and organizations can provide environments and setting consistent with such need? As the methods and structures of these initiatives are diverse, there are a range of places and organizations that can participate in these initiatives. Additionally, as some forms

be overlooked where necessary, and in this respect, locations in traditional venues can within these institutions. Additionally, there may be community groups or members that do not have ready access to or transport to any such venue, so the value of exploring alternative spaces such as mobile meeting spaces that could be brought to underserved communities may be of use. 138

Traditional venues might include: Universities, schools, galleries, museums, theatres, performance venues, Community venues might include: Libraries, community centers, religious assembly halls, social work organizaSemi-public and public spaces might include: Alternative spaces

I suggest that there is an emergent public awareness of an inseparability of aesthetics

general public might not be overtly aware of the relation between aesthetics and politics U.S. presidential campaigns, their cohesive, and rigid style, design, and brand message as well as the grassroots design response to his candidacy and campaign manifested an awareness within the general public of the vital interdependency of aesthetics and politics. In this sense, it could be suggest that the general public may be less readily festation of political platforms. garding how things look, sound, feel, and take form, and their social and political implications. This awareness makes it necessary to consider aesthetics as a form of emergent tentional or not) generate political platforms. For art education, this requires a vigilant and around space, place, ethos, manner, dress, food, and many other elements which constiwithin the aesthetics of art education is an important consideration within these initiatives.


Nicola Setari What is the meaning, the need, the aim of art education in such a landscape? tion stems from the realization that in our technologically advanced societies we face extreme poverty at the level of the social imaginary. In other words, there is a need for visual cultures that are not hegemonized by the media and by the banality brought about by making to a social practice entirely functional to the sphere of commerce and entertainment. As such art education means a sort of copernican inversion in which all huemancipatory and liberating force of art. Art education is an alternative to the rhetorics of higher education.

Assuming that there is need for art education, what kind of places and organizations can provide environments and setting consistent with such need? All art institutions, and more importantly art organizations, can provide temporary or permanent environments in which the stakes of their exhibition programs can be transformed into opportunities for art education. New alliances with institutions traditionally dedicated to art education can generate spaces on the fringe between the retreated areas of academia and the socially engaged spaceof exhibition making. In particueducation. these programs will remain meaningful only if they actually shift from in most cases being garages for artists, to providing actual opportunities for social interaction with the places where they take place and ideally for courses and encounters that can help younger artists shape and mature their artistic practice.


One Socially Engaged Artist and University of Revolution

movements, and activism dealing with unequal urban development, police brutality, and others. While she still actively engages with above groups, she has developed interest in about political change through creating forms, such as actions, situations, relationships, the University of Revolution three years ago, with an education that prepared her to be a

Clear Political Goal brings about, her political goal is explicit: she wants to eliminate capitalism and replace it with a system that is not yet properly named. This new system will be a revised version of socialism, combined with decentralized and direct democracy. She believes this new system and subordinate policies will bring about not only equal distribution of wealth and opportunity, but also a more convivial, warm, fun, kind, and caring environment in the world. While in school, much time was spent on understanding and analyzing how capitalism works at both a global and local level. She was also fascinated with classes focusing on the failures and successes of socialist models in history. Understanding what is wrong and what works well, she is now interested in further theorizing a new economy and social model, and testing out the idea in real life.

Ultimate Amateur Her weapon is in-depth understanding of the world. She does not have any expertize, at

state of in-between-ness as a vital aspect of SEA.While she is not a specialist in a conventional sense, she does have a wide ranging knowledge of history, religion, geography, ies, science and psychology, and is equipped with basic skills, including writing, drawing, sculpture, video making/editing, designing, playing an instrument. She is also well equipped for maintaining day to day life, with sills including cooking, basic carpentry. She

people for help and to collaborate, a foundational aspect of SEA practice.

Expert in learning She is also an expert in learning, and this is important especially if she is going to participate in SEA practice internationally. She might need to learn about labor related laws in an attempt to help unionize immigrant workers from eastern Europe in Italy, or the policies 141

related to the state housing in New Zealand to form a state housing tenant organization/ community center, or knowledge in social entrepreneurship to set up a exchange based barter station in Thailand.

Expert in compromising She is really good at compromising. And that is not a bad thing, she was taught at school. -

negotiations.She is aware that art, activism, and academia alike see the act of compromisof withdrawing oneself into a segregated and protected sphere for the sake of remaining pure and radical should be also challenged on the basis of whether it makes actual political change.That said, she is absolutely careful about political and economic complicities and the risk of being co-opted, as SEA is very often used for promoting neo-liberal agendas.

University of Revolution only in SEA practice. The aim of the University of Revolution is to bring about revolution,

education for students, but everyone involved in the organization believes its existence should be a living experiment, and mirror the revolution it advocates for.

University of Revolutionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s unique program derstanding that SEA practitioners need a diverse set of skills as well as knowledge, the emphasis on acquiring hands-on skills, including home economics.

Strong focus on Home Economics University of Revolution are required to take a series of home economics courses coverrelated to domestic labor have been gradually decreasing as a result of a highly advanced capitalistic society in which these skills are reduced to mere unpaid labor. An emphasis on the value of skills and activities related to domestic labor should not be undermined by the argument that they promote eco-capitalism, but should instead be understood

revolution. - Home economy classes also give students a chance to directly implement revolutionary thinking to revolutionary practice. Thinking about life after revolution means re-thinking every habit that makes up the contemporary life. One class focusing on cleaning teaches students how to clean the house, university classrooms, and streets without relying on consumer cleaning products.


Focus on survival One is to encourage students to be self-sustaining through practicing sharing and barter so that basic expenditure is modest. Another is to encourage students to have a second SEA is about making change not about making money or advancing oneself in art world by doing it. And even if they are paid, most likely by public or semi-public institutions, this only covers expenses for a limited duration from few weeks to three months. This reality to develop skills, including carpentry, farming, cooking, design etc. that allow students to continue their practice.

Outside activities All students are required to team up with local community/activist organizations promoting social justice. Although maintaining criticality towards any organization students work with is important, distancing themselves from activism means weakening social moveunderstand and overcome the tension between art and activism, which often arises due - Students will work with one or two organizations throughout their four years, learning about a local issue in depth as well as about diverse approaches in problem-solving and raising awareness. This community engagement enables students to become equipped with skills related to administration, necessary for SEA work in the future.

Conviviality: We are what we eat and how we eat The University of Revolution considers food as a vital part to be shared by and to nurture everyone involved in the University. Lunchtime normally takes two hours followed by naptime. Every student as well as teacher takes turn to serve people in the cafeteria. Its ingredients come mostly from the University farm as well as local suppliers.

Laboratory for theorizing new world This laboratory functions as a think tank to theorize a new ideology and policies. It also works on actual methods for gradual elimination of capitalism with aim to make the transitional period fun and smooth. The laboratory acts as consultants and helps governments as well as institutions that are in the process of abandoning capitalism and moving towards a new system.

University of Revolution as a community center sphere, the University is open to all community members. The University of Revolution has spaces for community groups to hold meetings, and our students work closely with them. Also the University holds farmers market in its backyard every weekend as a place to enjoy fresh products.

Cultural programs The University offers an extensive cultural program ranging from music and performance shows, exhibition, poetry readings, film screening, comedy shows. It is open to the general public.

neo-liberal capitalism economy with socialism with strong focus on direct, decentralized 143

democracy, it also acknowledges that we are living in a transitional period where the University cannot implement all these ideals. The University of Revolution is not perfect. That setbacks in terms of its revolutionary status and the capitalistic relationships it has with outside world. - The University reports its founding sources every year. When questionable/ unethical isof labor rights etc.), the University is responsible for quickly investigating it and terminating the relationship if necessary.

Labor practice

is applied to all University workers. - Workers are able to choose whether they wish to work full-time or part-time.

- Every year each full-time teacher takes turn and act as an acting director. cided at general meetings in which every student as well as worker participates. garden, technology, workshops etc, that work and make decisions on a day to day basis and report their progress to the general meeting.

Sliding scale tuition Ideally studying at the University of Revolution should be free of charge to all students. hard to do so. This means we must compromise. Tuition varies from students to students


Caterina Tiazzoldi What is the meaning, the need, the aim of art education in such a landscape? As professional and educator at Columbia University, Politecnico di Torino, Domus Academy, Ied Torino-Milano and Polo Formativo at Federlgeno, I recently participated to symposium Remixing Art Education Symposium at The Teacher College at Columbia University . The symposium was addressing the issue of a teaching & learning in art higher education re-evaluating, critically exploring, re-assessing and revitalizing instructional models and pedagogies that are creative, critical, and adaptive I approached the topic by focusing on the meaning of transferable knowledge â&#x20AC;&#x201C; i.e what it meant to teach and especially what it meant to learn. Who is Learning? Who Is Teaching?â&#x20AC;? Pedagogy in art and architecture education can bee interpreted as an iterative process between traditional educational institutions, spontaneous schooling initiatives, education, professional practices and manufacturers. How can we develop and implement critical and creative pedagogies meaningfully?

backgrounds, education can be understood as a tailor-made Transfer of Knowledge. proach the technique to implement their idea; how to technically implement them. Or on the opposite you can teach them to see how their agenda relates with a given cultural shops. Manufacturers can learn from your student how to use new software, how to make new use of their machines. In my experience the common constrain or a technique have always generated a good platform to start to work on to focuses the energies. For examin Torino with a group of American Architecture Students. We started to use our manufacyoung digitally born generation. From the other side our manufacturer had the know-how of the tradition of a profession. We started an Iterative process between understanding of manufacturing techniques and the development of news idea and solution compatible with a range of given techniques. What we ultimately achieved in this way was a series of proposals that were globally recognized for their innovation. The manufacturers apprentices were very surprised to see the machine they were using daily becoming so powerful. The students were impressed to see that the implementation

of a temporary narrow common ground.

Assuming that there is need for art education, what kind of places and organizations can provide environments and setting consistent with such need? In the book 1000 years of Non Linear History, Manuel Delanda explores the relation be-

The topic of the book is to identify the right proportion between the role and propulsive 145

local cultures formal grammar conquistadores time, Delanda engaged the delicate equilibrium between

Art & Design educational platforms always need to face a similar dilemma. How can institutions provide a structure to help students and guests to move beyond their daily horizon? how to provide this support without patronizing the intellect of individual persons? What is the relation between a bottom-up cultural process and art education institutions? As director of the research lab NSU at the school of architecture at Columbia University I had the chance to witness an to participate to the creation of a double-speed education system. The interdisciplinary lab NSU, inherits its design methodology from cognitive science combinatorial method has permitted NSU to work on concrete pedagogical and practice

approach of a top town / bottom up education.

In a complex-structured city in which the interactions among parts intensify; in which the number of decision makers and cultural scenarios overlap, interconnect, and sometimes collide; in which the temporal dimensions of the citizens are dissimilar; in which local and global, physical and virtual dimensions co-exist, it is necessary to identify a new aesthetic of the art practice.

Tiazzoldi Studio and the research lab Non Linear Solutions Unit at Columbia University focus on the development of a conceptual methodology that responds creatively to the complexity of todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s society.â&#x20AC;? Caterina Tiazzoldi 2006

relation between artifacts and social or political implication is very direct. A construction need a location, a budget, a client. A project needs to respond to some security, systems and urban rules. Rarely architects can develop their work in an autonomous frame. decoration. economically sustainable and recognized as beautifulâ&#x20AC;? projects. My interpretation would be that aesthetmaterials) it is meant as the creation of a project as an ecosystem, an idea of humanist optimization. A vision in which design, production and future vision create a holistic balance. When we approached the project of the co working Toolbox we were envisioning the transformation of the professional environment of the city of Torino. Our vision was also question also how the professional of the future professional of the work will change. How the question that we could raise for Torino inhabitant could become global questions. 146

How this idea could be implement in a space that would really promote people interaction. What people really need to start to socialize and cooperate. What is the relation between the space infrastructure, and the people behavior? sign by contaminating a traditional co working with a corporate infrastructure modulating shared spaces and privacy. The social Cave developed for the Milano Furniture Fair was challenging the limit between social and virtual socialization. The creation of a physical environment permitting to mix social and virtual socialization permitted the public to spend to appropriate a pubin the digital environment. This idea of aesthetic as humanist sustainability can be found in the project Onion Pinch evolutionary geometries explored in the international research environment as a tool to emphasize the tactile propertty of a local material the cork. to invite people to interact to touch and move through. In this way a physical device embedding an aesthetic of humanistic optimization permitted to re appropriate the public space of a subway station. The project becomes redeidentify by design the type of everyday gestures in a given space that will permit the re appropriation of a communal identity and shared environment. Aesthetics as holistic and humanistic ecology is also present in the Whirlers, Land Art Turbine project that is going to be presented at the Renisla Unesco Conference trans-


Jason Waite What is the meaning, the need, the aim of art education in such a landscape? and capital-driven environments of academia in Europe and North America with similar ingly there is an urgency for a related but distinct type of pedagogy, recent histories of art and its environs. The research and collection of diverse narratives of those who helped formed such rich ecologies is a crucial task in establishing a contextual logos between generations of practices and spaces. Traditional art history departments in many places

themselves are based. As a consequence students are trained to develop a hyperopia that allows them to discern distant movements, while blurring the local into derivative assemblages to assuage their farsightedness. Moreover traditional art history itself tends toward a tautology that is largely not capable to handle the interdisciplinary nature of music into temporary patchworks to address pressing concerns, only to reconstruct a

Assuming that there is need for art education, what kind of places and organizations can provide environments and setting consistent with such need? Some of the most innovative approaches to new methodologies in histories as well as tory - where the discipline does not exist in the universities. In Indonesia where anthropology, archeology, history, and political science all overlap to address the various facand Indonesia Visual Arts Archive have emerged to collaborate with communities and artists in holistic approaches that embody and putting into action a variety of these urgent histories. KUNCI undertakes skill sharing workshops to teach communities the tools to make their own oral histories as well as the knowledge to undertake archival which themselves partake in visual culture while at the same time extending the epistemological horizon. These experimental form extend not only horizon of art production can activate political agency.

separated into its own institution. IVAA has both been collecting a wide diversity of material and established an artistic database online. Presently it is actively pursuing and but also develops knowledge production through the collaborating with artists and curators to creatively intervene in the collection and develop traveling programs. These living and embodied histories are able to be mobilized to fasten together the missing links of relations across the archipelago.

lay the ground for contextual logos to emerge. 148

A dual movement has been ongoing, the aesthetic unworking of the political and a diametbeen increasingly been a catalyst for new forms in art and the social. The most dramatic as being indistinguishable from life itself. The multitude of quotidian individual actions that coalesce into a recognition of their wider implications, and an aesthetics composed of a sequence art education acts as a form of retooling the subjective and collective way of life art and education is decoupling their relationship from a singular entity into a series of nesting concepts. A shift to the ontic terrain asks the broader increasingly more urgent question



a.titolo so, Lisa Parola, Nicoletta Leonardi, Luisa Perlo. Since its foundation a.titolo has focused on artistic practices that face the social, political and cultural dimensions of the public realm. a.titolo curates and pro-

workshops and training programmes developing an interdisciplinary dialogue between the visual arts and the urban and social sciences. Its activities are carried out working closely with artists, curaplanners, social workers, public institutions and other organizations tural mediators of the Nouveaux Commanditaires programme for the production of works of art commissioned by citizens, promoted by the educational platform situa.to, aimed at developing art and design interventions, and narrative projects in the Turin metropolitan area through a learning-by-doing methodology based on observation and listening techniques. a.titolo is currently the artistic direction for the visual arts of the cross-border European project Acteurs Transculturels and co-curator of We-Traders. Swapping Crisis for City project, promoted by Goethe-Institut, which includes exhibi-

Alessio Antoniolli Alessio Antoniolli is the Director of Triangle Network, a global network of artists and grass-roots organisations. He is involved in running, fundraising and strategic planning for the Network, as well as working with new partners on developing projects such as residencies and instigated the Knowledge and Skills Sharing Programme, an ongoing series of professional development and training opportunities for artists and arts coordinators within the Triangle Network. Alessio is also the Director of Gasworks, London, where he leads a programme of residencies, exhibitions and participation projects focusing on emerging UK and international artists and practices. versity of London; specialising in issues of internationalism, diversity and cultural policies in the visual arts in the UK.

Lorenzo Benedetti

Middelburg, in the Netherlands, and curator of the Dutch Pavilion th


ratorial Training Programmeâ&#x20AC;? at De Appel Foundation in Amsterdedicated to sound in visual art. He has been the director of the art centre Volume! in Rome and a curator at the Museum Marta Herford, in Herford, Germany. He was guest curator at La Kunsthalle in Mulhouse, France where he realized the exhibitions La Notte, The Garden of the Forking Paths, and Les sculptures meurent aussi. His recent projects include Eurasia, Geographic Cross-over in Art, Mart, Rovereto, Italy; Cabinet of Imagination persmuhle, Duisburg, Germany. The Third Tiger Mark Manders, Olaf Nicolai) Camere, RAM, Rome. Some of the recent exhibitions at De Vleeshal are: Nedko Solakov, Jimmie Dur-

writes regularly in magazines and exhibition catalogues.

Charlotte Bonduel tor of Janus. She is currently working for the architecture department at the

Beatrice Catanzaro lic participation and situations of mutual learning. She has been researching and producing works throughout Europe, the Middle East and India. She has collaborated as visiting artist/tutor with the Unidee Artists in Residency International Program at Cittadellarte â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Fondazione Pistoletto for several years. Her work has been seum of Rovereto), Fundacao Gulbenkian in Lisbon and the Espai In 2010 she moved to Palestine, where she currently teaches at the International Art Academy in Ramallah (Palestine) and initiated the participatory art project Bait al Karama in Nablus, the ian cooking school and run entirely by women. www.baitalkarama.org

Viviana Checchia Viviana Checchia is a curator, critic, and PhD candidate at Lough-

arts organization devoted to developing critical discourse around contemporary social, political, and economic issues. 153

sisted in curating Abstract Cabinet Show and Liam Gillick Two Short Plays National Network: A View - Limited Edition Prints and Print Portfolios at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Her projects as an independent curator include In Dialogue, a project co-curated with Heather Connely and Rhiannon Slade at NotThere’s something to this (but I don’t know what it is) -

at Moscow Summer School by V-A-C Foundation. She participated in the European Course for Contemporary Art Curators organized

the ICI Curatorial Intensive sented Narratives at CCA Derry~Londonderry. Together with Anna RESEARCH AWARD which research took place in the United States.

Andrea Degl’Innocenti -


in politic, economic and social changes.

Francesca Girelli Francesca Girelli is a curator and producer working for Arthub

With a background in the art market, Francesca moved to China in also collaborating with Ramdom Association in the development of

Cecilia Guida -

Fine Arts Academy and of Communication Process Analysis at Florence Fine Arts Academy. She is specialized in the relation154

ship among participative artistic practices, new technologies and contemporary public space. She has curated exhibition proj-



and articles have been published in international books and magazines. Her book Spatial Practices. Funzione pubblica e politica dellâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;arte nella societĂ delle reti She is member of the IKT - International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art. She collaborates with Cittadellarte - Fondazi-

Pablo Helguera tography, drawing, socially engaged art and performance. Helpedagogy, sociolinguistics, ethnography, memory and the absurd, in formats that are widely varied including the lecture, museHis work as an educator has usually intersected his interest as an dialogue, and the role of contemporary culture in a global reality. of Panamerican Unrestâ&#x20AC;?, a nomadic think-tank that physically crossed the continent by car from Anchorage, Alaska to Tierra miles, it is considered one of the most extensive public art projects on record as well as a pioneering work for the new generation of artworks regarded under the area of socially engaged art. He is author of various publications, amongst which the seminal


Chus Martinez art history. Currently she is the Head of the Institute of Art of the



her tenure as Director of the Frankfurter Kunstverein she curated solo exhibitions of Wilhelm Sasnal among others; and a series of group exhibitions including Pensée Sauvage and The Great Game To Come dency Program for international artists, art writers and curators. an Otolith Group monographic show, and an exhibition devoted to television, Are you ready for TV the Deimantas Narkevicius retrospective exhibition, The Unanimous Life cluding numerous catalogue texts and critical essays, and is a regular contributor to Artforum among other international journals.

Federica Martini A curator and researcher, she was a member of the Curatorial Departments of the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art

Public Spheres at ECAV, Sierre. Recent projects include: Taking Time Vague Terrain—0° latitude-longitude Gleisdreieck Royal Garden 4—Rivières Tourists Like Us: Critical Tourism and Contemporary Art Pavilions/Art in Architecture Just Another Exhibition: Histories and Politics of Biennials

Matthew Mazzotta The architecture of social space: Creating spaces of critique with-

relationship between people and their environments, as well as between each other. His practice is conceptual and manifests as participatory public interventions that aim at bringing criticality and a sense of openness to the places we live. These socially-engaged interventions allow for a re-entry of the physical and metaphorical 156

landscapes of our lives by provoking conversations around exploring the local, questions of ecology, public involvement, community building, artist sensibilities, science, and dissecting the systems that one-way exchange of ideas and allowing people to contribute in a more tangible way to their own environment. Matthew works in a transdisciplinary fashion, collaborating with community members, laborers, academics, engineers, builders, activists, artists, poets, and anyone else that is willing to be involved in something experiential and participatory. His work has been recognized and awarded both nationally and internationally and has also found its way into ery Channel, and Wired and Science Magazine to name a few. Matthew received an undrergraduate degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Masters of Science in Visual studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he

Jasmina Metwaly video collective / www.youtube.com//Mosireen. She studied painting in Poznan where she focused on time-based works with strong correlations to painting. She is interested in the points of intersection/division

Rotterdam; Kings Gate, London; Virtual Museum CASZuidas,

references to painting. Her work also challenges the language of documentary activism. several locations her works contextualize and question the form in which the image occurs.

Monica Narula Raqs Media Collective. India gupta) of Raqs Media Collective, who have been variously described as artists, media practitioners, curators, researchers, editors and catalysts of cultural processes. Their work, which has been exhibited widely in major international spaces, locates them in the intersections of contemporary art, historical enquiry, philosophical speculation, research and theory â&#x20AC;&#x201C; often taking the form of installations, online and work in Delhi, closely associated with Sarai-CSDS, an initiative for inwere members of the editorial collective of the Sarai Reader series. 157

works in the intersections of art and education by activating spaces for critical thinking and collective action. Olascoaga is a Curatorial Research Fellow at Indpendent Curators International, was a Curatorial Fellow at the Whitney Independent Study Program

Director for SITAC X the International Symposium of Contempo-

public cultural center created through the collaboration of Coppel Collection, local government, and civil organizations. This program is dedicated to integrating ecological education and contemporary art, while engaging local communities. Her main research is focused in critically assessing the productive tension between utopia and failure of intentional community models, developed in Mexico in past decades.

Ruggero Poi

Fondo Ambiente Italiano -Responsible Educational Department Cittadellarte-Fondazione -

Conception and coordination:

ect by: Associazionedidee, Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto Contemporanea Lecturer and teaching:



-Cooperative Learning Course, for Genova Public School teach-

Projects: C.R.E.M.I.T. Università Cattolica di Milano, Unità Forlanini di Mi-

-Conception and coordination Zonarte, a project by: CittadelContemporanea, Fondazione Merz, Fondazione Sandretto Re -Conception and coordination of Family Events in: Festivalletteratura di Mantova, Festival della Mente di Sarzana, Festival Festival dei Saperi di Pavia, Manifesta 7 Trento, Remida day Udine, Remida Day Torino, Fiera Ecomondo di Rimini, ExposTorino, Domenica del Fiorentino Firenze, Trieste Immagina.

Sarah Rifky is a writer and curator based in Cairo, Egypt. She is co-director of Beirut.

Carla Rinaldi She was born and she actually lives in Reggio Emilia. She graduas pedagogist at Reggio Emilia Kindergartens and Preschools Di-

founded the National Group of Kindergartens and Preschools and

Children Foundation – Centro Loris Malaguzzi. She took part in many projects with Universities of Harvard – Project Zero, New Hampshire, Stockolm, Milan, University of Chicago and with Lego, Alessi, Sony and Ikea. 159

Curriculum for children from 3 to 14 years old and to evaluate the

the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. She was visiting

conferences in Italy and abroad. She also wrote fro many Italian and International magazines and publications; her writings have been published on the monograph In dialogo con Reggio Emilia

Ian Alden Russell Ian Alden Russell is a curator, designer and professor based in Istanbul, Turkey. He is currently Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art and Curatorial Practice at Koç University. He is also

works by Taryn Simon, Paul Ramirez Jonas, Sarah Morris, Kerry Tribe, Rob Reynolds, and Dawn Clements. He previously curated the premiers of The Strangest The Ashes Series Jin Shan’s My dad is Li Gang! where he completed undergraduate and doctoral research at Trinity College Dublin, studying the relations between modern and contemporary art and archaeology. While apprenticing as an art technician at the Douglas Hyde Gallery during his doctoral research, he established a career as an independent cura-

established artist residencies and served as curator of the David

Istanbul, Turkey to join the faculty of Koç University and undertake a curatorial project with Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan He is the author of many publications on contemporary art, archaeology and heritage, including Art and Archaeology Unquiet Pasts Images, Representations, and Heritage volume entitled Art/Archaeology a web and social media presence. He received his Ph.D. in History from Trinity College, Dublin and has held research fellowships at the University of Notre Dame,


Nicola Setari and writer. He will curate Contour 7, a biennial of moving image in Mechelen Europe project launched by the European commission this year. The Logbook co-edited by him and he served as dean of the dOCUMENTA

Europe to work on several artistic projects in the exhibition. cross-disciplinary art magazine Janus

co-editor of GEO-graphics: A Map of Art Practices in Africa, Past and Present rica included a traveling exhibition on the African continent. porary art with a focus on iconoclasm. He holds a PhD in the Hisis professor of Visual Anthropology at the New Academy for Fine Foundation for Contemporary Art in Paris.

STEALTH.unlimited Neelen. Through intensive collaboration with individuals, organisations and institutions, STEALTH broadens the understanding of what architectural and urbanistic engagement can be today. Their work connects urban research, visual arts, spatial interventions and cultural activism â&#x20AC;&#x201C; to mobilise thinking on shared STEALTH made numerous investigations into the complexity and inconsistency of how contemporary cities develop, starting from

a substantial impact on their understanding of the capacities of citizens to take urban future into common hands. They co-curated in recent years a/o the Dutch Pavilion at the -

sion for a schoolyard in Sweden, in Gothenburg they initiated a lab they built a cultural development node out of recycled ma-

Serbia, with whom they currently explore both the potential of 161

take a critical look at the massive foreign real-estate speculation the with Juan Esteban Sandoval the research exhibition A Life in Common at Cittadellarte â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Fondazione Pistoletto, looking into the key aspects of urban life.

Co-founder of Social Kitchen, a social and cultural center in Kyowhere she developed collaborative art project focusing on the -

is underpinned by long-term projects with an emphasis on collaboration. These typically take shape around social relationships,

work aligns with resistance to the impact of local and global injustices, and to inequalities created by capitalism.

Caterina Tiazzoldi Caterina Tiazzoldi is the principal of the award winning interdisciplinary architecture and design practice Caterina Tiazzoldi Studio spatial performativity. The Studio provides architectural design, urban installations, public art and, exhibit design. tive design solutions through the strong interaction between professional practice and the research that its principal Caterina Tiazzoldi develops as director of the research lab NSU at Columbia University. Caterina Tiazzoldi Studio has been internationally recognized c for its innovative of space and design concepts such as the Social Cave, the Instant Installation, the Co-working Toolbox, the Illy Shop and the Onion Pinch, a playground in the Lisbon subway station. The studio was winner of the Museum of Memphis Art Lab Competition, of the Architecture Rivelate Doing and Undergoing Com-

tival, Temporary Museum for New Design, International FurTorino World Design Capital. 162

Caterina Tiazzoldi Studio has been featured in several international magazines and books such as Domus, Elle Decor, Frame, Icon, Interni, Wall Paper, Interior Design, La Stampa, La Repubbli-

In addition, Caterina Tiazzoldi teaches at GSAPP Columbia University, Politecnico di Torino, Ecole Superieur Nationale Milano, Domus Academy.

Jason Waite ory in Utrecht, the Netherlands. He was the co-curator of the 4th of the mobile platform the International Guerrilla Video Festival that engages moving image and the urban/social environment curator of The Real Thing? at Palais de Tokyo, Paris and Maintenance Required


Giulia Cirlini Giulia Cirlini is Master student in World Heritage and Cultural Projects for Development and is currently working at Cittadellarte on the project Geographies of Change and as assistant for the technical and logistical organization of this workshop.

Juan Esteban Sandoval Cittadellarte - Fondazione Pistoletto. He has exhibited internawhich uses contemporary culture at large as a tool for the social tion of the city.

â&#x20AC;&#x201C;Fondazione Pistoletto. 163

exhibitions in other locations, such the MuKHA in Antwerp, San Modena, MAXXI Museum in Rome, among others. He co-curated two editions of the seminar Methods- research project on art-society relation and two workshops of shared interdisciplinary planning, in Venice and in Gorizia. He co-curated the exhibitionCittadellarte.sharing transformation for Kunsthaus in El Puente_lab -

which aims to develop cultural projects on a local level, building bridges of communication with artists and experts through a strategy of international cooperation. The projects developed by they are carried out, using artistic creativity as a tool of activation of cultural projects that initiate, facilitate and / or accompany processes of education, communication and urban and social transprojects with international artists in the Moravia neighbourhood in Daniel Urrea Peña and Alejandro Vásquez Salinas

Linda Mercandino Fondazione Pistoletto. She graduated in Sociology from the Università Statale di Milano - Development for the local community Past experience. Vice Consulate of Italy - Providence - vice consul assistant, organisation of events and coordinator of practices of Italian residents in the state of R.I. Director Radek Sikorski. N.A.I. an international organization dedicated to revitalizing and exobjective was to strengthen Atlantic cooperation in the post-cold war world by bringing together Americans and Europeans.


Paolo Naldini

on urban derelict buildings and lands, in connection with the University of Architecture, which basically was a way to make good use of my nights spent wandering as a sleepless student in a sleepy city or, more poetically, to explore issues of transiency and void as an engine. -

a great life experience, but surely not my cup of tea. From Sherily), I came back with a probably pretty peculiar understanding of how an international business tackles the issues of Control and Century stone cottage, the notion and techniques of inneristic powerful tool to feel oneself conscious of being where one is, of the surrounding context and of the inner self, and sharing it by

I founded a web project dedicated to exploring creative collabora-

I write texts and often talk in conferences on Art and Society. My thing with words has recently brought me to create the word of the concept of democracy along the lines of concrete experimentation, of direct and working commitment, open and ongoing which refers to all those practices and methods that focus primarily not on the power of the people, but rather on what people do in and of public space, the things they create practically as urgent



Art & demopraxy by Paolo Naldini 1. See geographiesofchange.net, an online repository of change-making initiatives, set up and conceived by Cittadellarte as a source of inspiration, as an educational tool, as an advocacy instrument and as a networking utility. 2 MIT Press. 3 4


same token, the IMF has recognized that inequality slows down economic growth,

UN Habitat for a better urban future, Concept paper to UN World Urban Forum, Medellin, March, 17th 5. Charles Esche, Curator and writer, Director of Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherbecomes visible as part of something else; interview by Matteo Lucchetti, Visible curator. 6 -

vidual and collective at the same time.” translated from website www.contropaesaggio.it 7 common 8 9

The Theory of Communicative Action. -

10. The Empathic Civilization - Jeremy Rifkin

Some questions towards a discussion on university crises and their alternatives by Federica Martini 1. Noam Chomsky, The Function of University in Times of Crises Chomsky on Democracy and Education 2. See Christophe Charles, Jacques Verger, Histoire des universités, XIIème – XXIème siècle Cultural Studies, un’introduzione 3. I refer here in particular to the following histories of the University that I consulted in the preparation of this paper: Christophe Charles, Jacques Verger, Histoire des universités, XIIème – XXIème siècle, cit.; Charles Haskins, The Rise of Universities The First Universities: Studium Generale and the Origins of University Education in Europe Sigmund Diamond, Compromised Campus: The Collaboration of Universities with the Intelligence Community, 1945-1955 4. See Dipesh Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical 5 168

Standing”, in Times Higher Education


6. See Maurizio Ferraris, Una Ikea di università. Alla prova dei fatti 7


Les Héritiers, les étudiants et la culture, st

8. Joel H. Spring, A New Paradigm for Global School Systems: Education for a Long and Happy Life 9 10 Diacritics 11. Ibid., p. 3. 12. Ibid., p. 11. 13. Ibid. 14. Ibid. nd 15 16. Raymond Williams, Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society, Oxford: Oxford 17 nd

18 nd

19. For anarchist pedagogies, see the case on the Modern School in next paragraph. 20 nd

21. Ibid. 22

The Guardian nd

23. Noam Chomsky, The Function of University in Times of Crises, cit. 24. This remark goes along, as shown in the previous pages, the assessment that moti25. James J. Farrell, The Spirit of the 1960s: Making Post-War Radicalism 26. See Francisco Ferrer, The Origin and Ideals of the Modern School, Albany: Kessinger 27. The Whole Earth Catalog 28. Paolo Freire, The Pedagogy of the Oppressed 29. Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society


30. Marianne Enckell, Le Refus de parvenir 31 Josiah Warren: The First American Anarchist (1906), http://dwardmac. nd


The Rise of the Global Left: The World Social Forum

and Beyond pages/pt/livros/the-rise-of-the-global-left.php). 33. Alice McIntyre, Participative Action Research 34. Maurizio Ferraris, Una Ikea di università, cit. 35 36. Alison Lurie, The War Between the Tates 37. Don DeLillo, White Noise 38. AM Homes, May We Be Forgiven: A Novel 169

39 40. Gregory L. Ulmer, Electronic Monuments

by Ruggero Poi REFERENCES

Creating democratic classrooms: The struggle to integrate theory and practice The moral contours of teacher education

M. Gallagher, P. David Pearson, Discussion, Comprehension, and Knowledge Acquisition in Content Area Classrooms

S. Khan, La scuola in rete. Reinventare l’istruzione nella società globale

D. Meier, The Power of their Ideas: Lessons for America from a Small School in Harlem,

D. Meier, Educating a democracy: Standards and the future of public education

M.Montessori, Educazione e pace Coping with TV: Some lesson plans Rethinking our classrooms: Teaching for equity and social justice Teaching how to read the world and change it: Critical pedagogy in the intermediate grades

La Escuela Fratney: A journey toward democracy. In M. W. Apple & J. A. -

C.Pierce, America’s schools: How bad? What next?

D Pink, Drive. La sorprendente verità su ciò che ci motiva nel lavoro e nella vita, Etas,

R.J. Starr, Building An Ethical School: a practical response to moral crisis in schools,


A. Stoll Lillard, Montessori: the Science behind the genius

The Educational Turn: A tentative history and taxonomy of artistfounded education projects by Ian Alden Russell REFERENCES

Education MIT Press: Cambridge. October

Relational Aesthetics

Issues Regarding Their Establishment, Curricula and Place in the Communitiesâ&#x20AC;? in Lindy

Art and Social Change: A Critical Reader Publishing: London. Pablo Helguera. Education for Socially Engaged Art Strokes of Genius: Contemporary Iraqi Art Art School: Propositions for the 21st Century Curating and the Educational Turn tions/De Apel Arts Centre: London. Michelangelo Pistoletto. Omnitheism and Democracy Jacques Rancierre. The Ignorant Schoolmaster

Strokes of Genius: Contemporary Iraqi Art The Shape of Content Living as Form: Socially Engaged Art from 1991-2011 Press: Cambridge. Frieze Colin Ward and Anthony Fyson. Streetwork: The Exploding School



Profile for Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto

Unidee Reader 2014  

Socially Engaged Art Pratices and Education in Contemporary Discourse.

Unidee Reader 2014  

Socially Engaged Art Pratices and Education in Contemporary Discourse.