ART&CRITIQUE workshop, First Alternative Education Open-Day 2017. Photo School of the Damned.

Radical Pedagogy Research & Reading Group

Radical Pedagogy Reading Group Launch

Deadline: Friday, 15 Feb 2019
Event: Friday, 22 February 2019, 7pm – 9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Closest stations: Whitechapel / Aldgate East
Suggested donation £2, please book your place

Join us on Friday, 22 February 2019 for the first meeting of the Radical Pedagogy Research & Reading Group, we will exchange ideas, review the research questions and determine the syllabus.

ART&CRITIQUE workshop, First Alternative Education Open-Day 2017. Photo School of the Damned.
ART&CRITIQUE workshop, First Alternative Education Open-Day 2017. Photo School of the Damned.

Fuelled by economic crisis, austerity and the liberalisation of higher education, alternative art education has burgeoned into a full-blown movement in the last decade. But what is alternative art education? Who is it for and what is it alternative to?

There are as many different formats and models of alternative art education as there are alternative 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? How should alternative art schools be organised, structured and funded? Should alternative art schools challenge art institutions and the art market?

To send us your proposed questions, books, articles and films for the reading group please fill in and submit the form by Friday, 15 February 2019. Please consult the existing proposals in the Draft Reading List before you make your proposal. Your proposal will be published in the Draft Reading List but your personal data is confidential and used only for the purposes of this open call.

We welcome contributions from anyone who wants to join the research group and collaborate with us to develop a self-organised alternative studio programme. We welcome artists, researchers, educators, students and anyone who wants to contribute to the objectives of the research project. These include but are not limited to the following topics in the context of alternative art education:

  • modalities of art education in practice and theory
  • critical pedagogy
  • the neoliberalisation of art education
  • reform of formal art education
  • co-operative art education
  • creativity
  • practice and theory
  • epistemology and models of knowledge
  • skills and de-skilling
  • creative labour and precarity
  • alternative economies in art practice and art education
  • the educational turn in art practice and curating
  • institutional critique
  • self-organisation in art practice and education
  • peer-support groups
  • collectivity and collaboration

Preliminary research on this project was initiated in the summer of 2016 when we identified our research objectives, we went on to create the alternative art education resource page and organise workshops and meetings on self-organisation and alternative art education.

A forum and research project on alternative art education, radical pedagogy and self-organisation, with the practical aim of informing the development of a new alternative studio programme. The reading group will meet on the last Friday of every month, we plan to organise additional workshops, screenings and other events that will emerge from our research.

To book a ticket and send us your proposed questions, books, articles and films for the reading group please complete and submit the form below by Friday, 15 February 2019. Please consult the existing proposals in the Draft Reading List before you make your proposal.

Submission & Booking Form

Fields marked with an * are required

Please enter your research question on alternative art education. The reading list is organised along a set of research questions, to see the questions that we have already collected please view the Draft Reading List.

Please add the full citation including author, artist or film-maker,  publication, exhibition or release date, the title, publisher or production company and page numbers (maximum 20 pages) or time-code.

Please include an accessible, printable link to an online copy of the document or video that you have proposed. If the text is longer than 20 pages please select the relevant section (maximum 20 pages) and include the page numbers in the citation above.

Please describe what the text is about from your point of view. Why would you like to discuss this text in the reading group?

If you haven't already booked a ticket for this event please check this box.

Please allow 48 hours for a response. If you encounter any technical problems please use the contact form to get in touch with us.


If there’s anything you would like to see included here please use the submission form to send us your proposals by 15 Feb 2019. They will be posted here and we will use this list to collectively decide the syllabus for the reading group at the meeting on 22 Jan 2019.

[01] What is alternative art education? Who is it for and what is it alternative to?
  • Koszerek, Pippa (2001). Independent Art School Conference. Journal of Visual Art Practice Vol. 1/2 (2001), pp. 111-115. A report on the concerns and ideas exchanged at the Independent Art School Conference, by organiser Pippa Koszerek. Starting off in 199 as a student protest in Hull, it evolved into a conference and curatorial project on the question of what an independent art school would look like.
  • Pippa Koszerek (2011). Alternative Art Schools. a-n The Artists Information Company. Research paper on the background to alternative arts schools and contemporary issues within art school education, particularly in light of the shift from student as learner to student as consumer, with case studies of alternative art schools.
  • Ashill, Kathryn (2013). Symposium report: alternative art schools. a-n blog.
[02] What is radical pedagogy? Is radical pedagogy inherently decolonised? [TA]
  • Freire, Paulo (1996/1968). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum. A founding text in critical pedagogy, it critiques the traditional “banking model of education” and argues for a radical reconceptualisation of learners and teachers as partners in the learning process. The book is composed of 4 chapters, we can read it over four sessions together with an excerpt from one of the texts that Freire cites in each chapter as follows: PART 1: Freire, Paulo (1996/1968). Chapter 1. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum, pp. 25-51 + Hegel, Georg W. F. (1977). Lordship and Bondage. In Phenomenology of Spirit. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 111-119. PART 2: Freire, Paulo (1996/1968). Chapter 2. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum, pp. 52-67 + Sartre, Jean-Paul (2002/1939). Intentionality: A Fundamental Idea of Husserl’s Phenomenology, trans Joseph P. Fell. In The Phenomenology Reader, Dermont Moran and Timothy Mooney ed. London: Routledge. Originally published in Nouvelle Revue Francaise LII, Jan 1939 (one year after Edmund Husserl’s death). Sartre rejects traditional epistemologies and models of consciousness in favour of Husserl’s intentional theory of consciousness, namely that consciousness is always consciousness of something. Alternatively we can read Husserl, Edmund (2012). Ideas: General Introduction to Pure Phenomenology. London, New York: Routledge.
  • Grosfoguel, Ramón (2013). The Structure of Knowledge in Westernized Universities: Epistemic Racism/Sexism and the Four Genocides/Epistemicides of the Long 16th Century. Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge: Vol. 11/1, pp. 73-90. The article proposes that the epistemic privilege of Western Man in Westenized Universities’ structures of knowledge, is the result of four genocides/epistemicides in the long 16th century (against Jewish and Muslim origin population in the conquest of Al-Andalus, against indigenous people in the conquest of the Americas, against Africans kidnapped and enslaved in the Americas and against women burned alive, accused of being witches in Europe). The article concludes with a simple program which the author claims will change a westernised university into a decolonised pluriversity… [TA]
[03] Should alternative art schools try to emulate accredited MFAs or are they expected to radically re-imagine art education? In what ways is alternative art education expected to be different from traditional art education? Are alternative art schools expected to resist and reform institutional models of education and pedagogy?
  • Kenning, Dean (2013). Towards a Critical Art School. What’s the Point of Art School? London: Central Saint Martins, 25 April 2013.
  • Mabb, David and Suhail Malik (2017). Art Teaching: Dialectics of Practice and Theory. In Theory – Arts – Practices, Peter Sonderen and Marijn de Langen eds. Arnhem: ArtEZ Press, pp. 69-81.
  • Ault, Julie and Martin Beck (2006). Drawing Out & Leading Forth. In Notes for an Art School, Florian Waldvogel, Anton Vidokle, Mai Abu ElDahab ed. Amsterdam: Manifesta Foundation. Looks at recent changes in art school education, addressing different pedagogical models and ideologies inherent within them.
[04] What pedagogical models and practices could play an important role in alternative art education?
    • Bogue, Ronald (2013). The Master Apprentice. In Deleuze and Education, Inna Semetsky and Diana Masny ed. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp. 21-36. On Deleuze’s method of teaching, “The Deleuzian teacher, I hope to show, is both master and apprentice, a master apprentice engaged with the apprentice in their mutual apprenticeship in and thorough signs.” (p. 22) [NP]
    • Parnet, Claire. (2007). P as in Professor. In Gilles Deleuze from A to Z. Los Angeles: Semiotext(e). Video interview with Claire Parnet interviewing Deleuze. Deleuze speaks of his thoughts on teaching methodology. [NP]
    • Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty and Sarah Harasym eds. (1990/1985). Criticism, Feminism and the Institution: An Interview with Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. In the Post-Colonial Critic: Interviews, Strategies, Dialogues, Sarah Harasym ed. New York & London: Routledge, pp. 1-16. On the importance of writing and the relationship between practice and theory.
    • Semetsky, Inna (2009). Deleuze as a Philosopher of Education: Affective Knowledge / Effective Learning. European Legacy: Toward New Paradigms, 14:4, pp. 443-456.
[05] Can art be taught? What knowledge and skills do artists need?
  • Beech, Dave (2014). Teaching the Unteachable. Art Monthly 377, June 2014, pp. 8-10 (3 pages). On the difference between teaching art and teaching the arts, republished as “How to Teach Art” on Dave Beech’s blog.
  • Elkins, James (2001). Chapter 1: Histories. In Why Art Cannot Be Taught: A Handbook for Art Students. Illinois: University of Illinois Press, pp. 7-47 (40 pages).
  • Elkins, James and Cornelia Sollfrank (2008). Art Education Is Radically Undertheorized. An interview with James Elkins by Cornelia Sollfrank. Dundee: Dundee Contemporary Arts, Visual Research Centre. James Elkins talks about different historical models of art education and his own experiences as art student and art teacher.
  • Corris, Michael (2012). The Un-artist. Art Monthly 357 (Jun 2012).
[06] How can art education respond to the contradiction between traditional concepts of  critical resistance and aesthetic transcendence on the one hand, and the commercial demands of the culture industry? How can alternative art education respond to the training requirements for the model of the artist as social irritant and the entrepreneurial model of the artist?
[07] How can alternative art schools address class, race and gender inequality in the arts?
  • Kenning, Dean (2012). Refusing conformity and exclusion in art education. Mute (22 Mar 2012). Dean Kenning argues that art pedagogy can only be radical if it takes on the exclusions and market bias which are impoverishing educational culture. “There is, at the very least, a logical contradiction when art projects which claim to offer alternative models of education, fail to address the dominant corporate pedagogy that shapes the frame in which they operate.”
  • Hooks, Bell (1994). Teaching to Transgress: Education as a Practice of Freedom. New York: Routledge.
[08] How can alternative art schools address the structural inequality between learners and teachers?
  • Ranciere, Jacques (2007). The Emancipated Spectator. Artforum 45/7 (March 2007), pp. 271-280.
  • Plummer, Thomas G. (1990). Diagnosing And Treating The Ophelia Syndrome. Faculty lecture, Delta Phi Alpha, German Honor Society, 5 Apr 1990. Diagnoses the Ophelia syndrome as a state of dependence on authority. Ophelia does not have a mind of her own, especially when it comes to her own thoughts and feelings. Her father Polonius is only too willing to assert his authority and tell her what to think, discouraging her from thinking for herself. Plummer uses this relationship as a metaphor for what goes on in universities, workplaces and social contexts. He describes a series of different methods to overcome the Ophelia syndrome and maintain better relationships, develop self-confidence, live with uncertainty, question authority, think critically and take risks. On students’ agency. Could be read alongside Ranciere’s Ignorant Schoolmaster and the Emancipated Spectator, for a performative approach to the problem of inequality and disempowerment in education. Perhaps the exercises can be used as the basis of a workshop.
[09] How should alternative art schools be organised? Should alternative art schools be free, self-organised and inclusive?
[10] How should alternative art schools be structured and funded? How do alternative art schools get access to resources and what do they need to become sustainable?
[11] Should alternative art schools challenge art institutions and the art market?
[12] What would a cooperative art school look like?
[13] How do you bring a work of art to life as if it were a classroom? How can radical pedagogy help us to develop socially engaged art and participatory projects? [ST]
  • Bishop, Claire (2012). Pedagogical Projects: How do you bring a classroom to life as if it were a work of art? In Artificial Hells, Participatory Art and Politics Spectatorship. London: Verso, pp. 241-274. Following Irit Rogoff, Claire Bishop draws parallels between the reconceptualisation of students as participants and spectators as producers, highlighting the danger for these practices to become co-opted  into the neoliberal  ‘knowledge economy’. Following Felix Guattari, she considers the cross-disciplinary or transversal ‘double ontology’ of pedagogical art practices as a potential critique of art and its institutions. This potential for Bishop, is dependent on the success of these projects in both artistic and social fields, with the necessity of revisiting, questioning and reinventing both, or risk becoming ‘edu-tainment’.
  • Rogoff, Irit (2008). Turning. E-flux Journal #00 (Nov 2008). Irit Rogoff argues that the slippage between notions of “education”, “self-organized pedagogies” and “knowledge production” threatens to subsume the radical intersection of art practice and critical pedagogy into renewed forms of capitalist production, and specifically in the “knowledge economy”. Concerned that these practices  are in danger of becoming a style and losing sight of their original intentions, she invokes Foucault’s notion of parrhesia (“free, blatant public speech”), as a model with which to approach the educational turn in art.
  • Helguera, Pablo (2011) Education for Socially Engaged Art. New York: Jorge Pinto Books. I’m interested in finding out more about the relevance of radical pedagogy in collaborative community practices, including community arts and participatory art. [ST]
[14] What can reinventing the politics of knowledge production mean for art education? Art school as an institution of the common? [HB]
  • Neary, M. (2010). Student as producer: A pedagogy for the avant-garde? Learning Exchange, 1(1), n.p. Neary’s work transformed by personal ideas on education (as knowledge production) as it calls to question many assumptions about how we value and what we value when we consider intellectual labour. It also calls to question the relationships and institutional forms normalised in education so I think pushes boundaries that are not always visible. It was hard to choose a piece that was the most useful as the ideas are spread out across different texts and took me a while to grasp. [HB]
[15] How can radical pedagogy help us bring out arts practice outside art institutions? [YC]

Allan Kaprow (1993/1971). The Education of the Un-Artist Part 1. In Essays on the Blurring of Art and Life, Jeff Kelley ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 97-109. I am interested in discussing on how radical pedagogy can question/exceed the existing concept of arts more within everyday context – How socio-politically engaging arts practice transform a nonart into an art. [YC]

[16] How does art education produce social change? How can art practices and theories inform tactics for emancipation and individual and communal development? [ST]

Blake, Charlie and Jennie Stearns (2015). Art, Resistance and Demonic Pedagogy, From Parasite Capitalism to Excommunication. In Arts, Pedagogy and Cultural Resistance: New Materialisms, Anna Hickey-Moody and Tara Page eds. London: Rowman & Littlefield International. pp. 79-93. The text is a collection of essays that explore how the material processes of art practices constitute a methodological tool for a pedagogy that aims to empower individuals and communities and consequently creates social change. The essays are case studies that reflect on the concept of new materialism applied to art education. [ST]

[17] Can film be used as a radical pedagogic tool? [DO]

O’Neill, Deirdre (2017).  Radical Pedagogy, Prison, and Film. Emerging from Inside Film, a project that helps prisoners and people on probation make their own films, this is a discussion of the need for working class people to represent themselves and challenge mainstream stereotypes and assumptions about them. This project gives prisoners and those on probation the technical skills necessary to make their own films and tell their own stories in order to counter the ways they have been misrepresented. Film and television are key means by which socioeconomically marginalized groups are classified according to hegemonic norms, such groups can undermine these misrepresentations through their use of the media. [DO]

[18] Can alternative arts education create space for slowness/rest/wasting time within precarity? [KW]
[19] What would an artist to artist collaborative learning environment look like? What would its structure be, how would it function and what would its aims be as a community? [AM]
  • Watts, Jonathan (2015). There Goes the Neighbourhood. Page and Screen. Frieze, 26 Oct 2015 (17min). The film deals with gentrification in London over the years and offers an insight into how artistic communities or collectives use space collaboratively. I am suggesting these spaces, from the action of finding them, to taking up residency, to their operation exist as collaborative learning environments. Do you want to book a ticket? [AM]
[20] What can curatorial practice learn from radical pedagogy? [GG]
  • Sternfeld, Nora (2010). Unglamorous Tasks: What Can Education Learn from its Political Traditions? e-flux #14, March 2010 (12 pages) The text considers the political, and often unglamorous and tedious aspects of education that need to be embraced in order to really incorporate critical education into curatorial practice and create spaces of shared knowledge production and reflection. [GG]
Creative Commons Licence [ART&CRITIQUE] by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License