Category Archives: CRITICAL STUDIES


Organised by School of the Damned

Sunday, 1 October 2017, 1pm-6pm
SET, 76-89 Alscot Road, London SE1 3AW
Overground: Bermondsey MAP
Booking via Eventbrite

School of the Damned’s FIRST 100% OFFICIAL UNOFFICIAL ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION OPEN-DAY, 1 Oct 2017. Flyer by Sean Roy Parker.

THE FIRST 100% OFFICIAL UNOFFICIAL ART EDUCATION OPEN-DAY is an informal open day exploring the plural experiences of alternative art schools and wider conversations of alternative education all together. An opportunity to get to know existing alternative art schools but also teach you how to DIY or DIT (Do It Together).

School of The Damned will use this day as the launch for inviting applications for 2018/19. Alongside this, alternative art schools or courses will showcase how they are unique through workshops presenting their individual identity; AltMFA, [ART&CRITIQUE], PACTO, School of the Damned, Syllabus, TOMA, Turps Banana.

For more details on each workshop please click the headings below or download the programme.

12:00 Welcome, tea & coffee
12:30 SOTD: Building an Active Archive

A workshop introducing ‘The Active Archive’: an online investigative tool for those interested in engaging with and facilitating alternative ways of learning. DOWNLOAD our page from the zine with an A4 poster.

13:00 Art&Critique: What is alternative art education?

Within the last ten years alternative art education has burgeoned into a full-blown movement, fuelled by economic crisis, austerity and the liberalisation of higher education. But what is alternative art education? Who is it for, and what is it an alternative to?

There are as many different formats and models of alternative art education as there are art schools, but in what ways is alternative art education expected to be different from traditional art education? Should alternative art schools try to emulate accredited MFAs or are they expected to radically re-imagine art education? What are the drawbacks of traditional art education and what practices are worth preserving? What alternative or radical pedagogies and practices would play an important part in alternative art education? What are the learning outcomes of alternative art education, and how should these be evaluated? How should alternative art schools be organised, structured and funded? Should they be free, accessible and self-organised? How do alternative art schools get access to resources and what do they need to become sustainable? Do alternative art schools have social and political obligations? Are alternative art schools expected to resist and reform institutional models of education and pedagogy? Should alternative art schools challenge art institutions and the art market? Should alternative art schools participate in political struggles of resistance against war, social injustice and climate change? What are the objectives of alternative art education?

Together we will address some of these questions, exchange ideas and discuss the future of alternative art education in a participatory workshop. Come along and bring your own questions and ideas to the discussion.

Download our zine page with an A4 poster in colour or black & white.

13:30 AltMFA

AltMFA is a recipe that we make up together, inventing as we go, using whatever ingredients we can get hold of – a cocktail of the personalities, passions and histories of whoever is at the meeting. Bring an ingredient to add to the strange salad we will be making together as we collectively transcribe the recipe for an alternative art school.

14:00 – 15:00 Lunch
15:30 Pacto: Radical Research Methods

Pacto would like to further explore how self organisation takes place. A workshop challenging the symposium to create a model for collaborative research.

16:00 Syllabus: Manifesto towards a Syllabus

Wysing Arts Centre’s Assistant Curator John Bloomfield will be joined by members Tom Smith and Frederica Agbah from Syllabus II and III to discuss the manifestos that each year’s group have drawn up. Composed during the first retreat of each year the manifestos are used to shape the ideals of the group and to lay down ground rules for the year ahead.

16:30 Turps Banana: Correspondance Course

Patricia Mulligan (Turps Banana) will be in conversation with Emily Woolley (SOTD) about her experience of the correspondance course and finding ways to practice and study post graduation.

17:00 TOMA: The Art Pub Quiz

TOMA invite you to form a team and take part to test your knowledge and forge discussions about alternative ways to educate yourself outside of the institutional system in 2017.

Part of Art Licks Weekend 2017

Critiquing the Crit

Saturday, 19 November 2016, 13:00 – 16:00
The Field 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Rail/Overground: New Cross Gate, Queens Road Peckham MAP

This three-hour workshop is designed to help you to get the most out of your group critique by taking ownership of your feedback. During the workshop you will consider the most important aspects of giving and receiving feedback/criticism and you will have the opportunity to design and test your own crit model for future use.

Josef Albers Preliminary class group critique. Bauhaus Dessau, 1928-29. Photo by Otto Umbehr.
Josef Albers Preliminary class group critique. Bauhaus Dessau, 1928-29. Photo by Otto Umbehr.

The aim of the workshop is to get us to think critically about how we give and receive feedback as well as creating a culture where it’s okay to try things out. What is a crit for? How do you feel when you receive feedback? We will start by sharing our experiences of giving and receiving feedback in the past. How comfortable have you felt sharing your thoughts with your peer group? How have your peers reacted to your comments? What do you think the role of the peer is in the crit? With these ideas in mind, we will devise our own crit models and test them in groups of 4-5 people. Please bring along a work in progress to participate in these micro-crits. We will wrap up by sharing our feedback and proposals for how we would like to conduct our crits in the future.

Sophie Barr is an artist and Lecturer in Cultural and Contextual Studies with a growing interest in alternative modes of art education. She is currently studying for a Doctorate in Fine Art at the University of East London and makes art in Wood Green, north London. You can find out more about Sophie and see some of her latest projects in her blog Intellectual Simulation.


This list provides a comprehensive bibliography for the Critical Theory in Contemporary Art Practice lecture and seminar series. You can use it as a further reading list or to locate references that are not in the handouts. Please click the headings for a drop-down list. Continue reading [CRITICALSTUDIES] BIBLIOGRAPHY

Critical Theory in Contemporary Art Practice

Patrick Mimran [2004] Billboard Project, New York. Photo Sophia Kosmaoglou.

Course Outline | Course Dates | Tutor | Fee-waiver | Reviews | Bibliography | Resources
Course Description

This course maps the theories and discourses that inform the production and reception of contemporary art, providing a supportive environment to develop your practice and articulate your ideas on the production, exhibition and interpretation of art.

Through lectures, seminars, tutorials and gallery visits the course will familiarise you with key concepts and historical transformations that underpin contemporary art production and reception. We will look at the impact of key philosophical, cultural and political discourses on art practice, and examine different theoretical perspectives and critical debates. You will extend and develop your ability to discuss, write about and judge contemporary art. You will be supported in contextualising your practice with extensive feedback in tutorials and workshops. You will also develop your skills in writing artist’s statements, critical reviews and/or exhibition proposals.

Course Outcomes

By the end of the course you will have a good grasp of the historical underpinnings and current debates in contemporary art . You will be able to develop, articulate and contextualise your practice. You will develop your writing and research skills and formulate research questions to guide your practice and research. You will be able to critically evaluate your own work, as well as that of others. You’ll be able to critically discuss and evaluate contemporary art.

Who Should Attend

The course will suit those wishing to develop their practice and research, prepare a portfolio, apply for a postgraduate degree in art or pursue a career in the arts. The course is open to everyone regardless of experience but it is particularly suited to those who have a background and experience in art and wish to develop their practice and extend their knowledge of contemporary art practices and discourses. The course will benefit painters, sculptors, print-makers, installation, performance, video and media artists, designers, sound artists, musicians, curators, writers and researchers.

For more information on the course, including the schedule, lectures and reading please download the Course Outline.
Upcoming Course Dates

Click on the dates below for more info and to book.

19 April — 14 June 2018, every Thursday for 9 weeks plus Saturday, 5 May @Kupfer

This course runs from 19 April to 14 June 2018, every Thursday from 6:30pm to 9pm for nine weeks, including off-site gallery visits on Saturday, 5 May 2018 from 2:30pm to 5pm. The course will take place at Kupfer, Arch 213, Ponsford Street, London E9 6JU. Please click the relevant links to book your place, or apply for a Fee-waiver Award. Please read the Learning Agreement before booking. If you have any questions please contact us.

From To Off-site Duration Location Fee Actions
19 Apr 2018
14 Jun 2018
5 May 2018 14:30–17:00
Nine weeks
(25 hours)
Arch 213, Ponsford Street, London E9 6JU
£ 250 BOOK
6—10 August 2018, MonFri, 10am—4pm for 5 days @Chelsea College of Arts UAL

This course runs from Monday, 6 August to Friday, 10 August 2018, from 10am to 4pm for one week. The course will take place at Chelsea College of Arts UAL, located at 16 John Islip Street, London SW1P 4JU. If you have any questions please contact us or the Chelsea Short Course Team +44 (0) 20 7514 6311.

From To Time Duration Location Fee Actions
6 Aug 2018
10 Aug 2018
10:00–16:00 Five days
(25 hours)
Chelsea College of Arts UAL
16 John Islip Street, London SW1P 4JU
£ 655 BOOK

Sophia Kosmaoglou is an artist, tutor, curator and founder of [ART&CRITIQUE], an alternative art education network based in London. Her current practice blurs the boundaries between art, activism and education to question the ontology of art and its social and institutional functions. She has a practice-based PhD in Fine Art from Goldsmiths and her research interests include institutional critique and the relationship between art and politics, institutions and independent organisations and collective practices. She has previously taught Critical Studies and Studio Practice on BA Fine Art Practice and Joint Honours courses at Goldsmiths and is currently a Visiting Tutor at Chelsea College of Arts. For more information please see


This course offers a great opportunity to spend significant time and thought on aspects of your practice in a stimulating group environment. I would like to thank Sophia for her commitment to the students beyond what I expected- providing us with a wealth of information, reading lists etc and regular, detailed personalised feedback, which made such a difference.Anon

I’ve been looking for a long time to find a course like this, it is a unique opportunity, no other place provides this course. Sophia is a brilliant tutor and I am so glad I participated. I look forward to the next course.Anon

There is a lot of material in this course. It could easily form the basis of a degree course either under or post graduate. —Anon

What an enormous pleasure and fascinating process this week has been, so open and yet demanding. I’m in my studio as I write. It feels like the place to be to think it through, and in my case ‘get on with it’. I have a stack of questions, and some answers now, about how to go forward. It’s exciting! Thank you Sophia for this fantastic course, for your teaching, feedback and whole approach. It is so helpful to receive your perceptive and knowledgeable feedback to shake things up, reflect and begin to put more focused ideas into practice. You set the bar high for all of us with astonishing commitment.—Anon