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This blog is written by Wysing's Director, Donna Lynas, and is about some of the things happening at Wysing, or influencing what happens at Wysing.

Tag: alternativemethodsliveblog

Alternative Methods Final Entry  26 July 2014

Well it’s been hot and sticky, but as always worthwhile:
Sally Tallant brought the debate raging into the political arena, as did Leah Gordon, curator of the Ghetto Biennale, with her funny diatribe on the inconsistencies of putting on an arts event in a place dominated by hustlers, the law of the ghetto and a violent neo-liberal government. Florian Roithmayr and Dr Matthew Cheeseman discussed the art of showing nothing while The Silent University, Intoart, The School of the Damned and Open School East revealed what community art looks like in the twenty-first century.

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Alternative Methods Entry 13  26 July 2014

Inspiring talk about The Silent University for academic asylum seekers by Ahmet ögüt
A not-for-profit university set up for academic asylum seekers who have no work papers to give lectures, consulations and workshops in any language they choose. Some have to have their identity protected while waiting to receive visas.
They have created libraries, conventions, talks in the Dutch parliament as well as staging lectures at Tate Modern.

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Alternative Methods Entry 12  26 July 2014

Tacit-knowing as discussed by Dr Matthew Cheeseman and Wysing studio artist Florian Roithmayr.
Florian became interested in the Hungarian theorist Polanyi after spending time working with a concrete beautician in Germany.
A concrete beautician is a craftsman who comes along after a building is constructed and beautifies the concrete so that it is perfect. “I learned a skill that no one will ever notice, because it is not supposed to be seen. There is no outcome, and so at the end of my time as his apprentice I had nothing to show for it.” Florian asked the question: “So what was I looking for?”
At this point Florian began to look at Polanyi’s theory of tacit-knowing.

Dr Matthew Cheeseman gives an example of tacit-knowing:
It is very difficult to describe to someone how to ride a bike. I could work out a mathematical equation about how to ride a bike, but we all know that wouldn’t help us ride a bike

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Alternative Methods Entry 11  26 July 2014

Rob Smith and Frank Abbott discuss the forthcoming Expanded Studio Project, a collaboration project between Primary in Nottingham and Wysing in Cambridgeshire.
RS: When the project begins we will have a grand draw, like the lottery and pull names from a hat to decide who will collaborate.
FA: Expanded Studio will act as catalyst, to share knowledge and challenge establish ways of working in a studio.
Why Wysing and Primary? In 2013 Smith and Abbott co-incidentally invented the same method of drawing names from a hat to implement a studio system.
Abbott shows the film ‘Old Skool Breaks’ about a group of artists who were invited to come up with different ways of collaborating in Nottingham.
RS: A similar thing happened at Wysing because we felt we were missing a sense of community and collective action – what could we do as a group of artists to change this? So we set up collaborations between each other.

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Alternative Methods Entry 10  26 July 2014

Performance talk by Intoart artist Ntiense Eno-Amooquaye - a poet, performer and artist, who explores the relationships between the three mediums. Talks about her research practices and how she approaches an exhibition.

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Alternative Methods Entry 9  26 July 2014

Ella Ritchie introduces Intoart, a London based art collective for people with learning disabilities based in Clapham.

It began because there was a need in the community. There was nothing happening in this area. Often Intoart start with a conversation with the institution involved and then try to circumnavigate it. Intoart believe in the visibility of the artists themselves and to put them in a position of leadership. They work with artists for an infinite period of time.
The intention is to support them to work for themselves and in their own interests. Many of the people they work with they have never been to a museum and there is a clear educational strategy.
Mentoring and leadership is key. Some disability artists are also asked to be artist mentors to other local people who have a disability. This is done only if it fits with the practice they do, not because they have a disability.

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Alternative Methods Entry 8  26 July 2014

First ghetto biennale very exciting that it actually happened. It felt revolutionary. By the second, the earthquake had happened and the insertion of NGOs into the community became a huge issue.  Gordon was working in an extreme political situation, there were kidnappings and the slum itself is an incredibly hierarchical place. Gordon was also aware of her colonial status.
By the third biennale they decided to ban the lens, as the ethnographic gaze from western artists disconcerted them. During the third biennale, three Haitian youths kept photographing the white visitors, telling them to look sad and happy as a reference to the way NGOs and artists had used them.
Banning the lens meant a lot of performance artists. Hiroki gave a workshop about Arte Povera – the Haitians were excited that artists could make money out of junk.
A guy from New York taught them how to make crates the western way, so that they could ship their art abroad.
A vicious neo-liberal government and very interested in capitalizing Haitian popular culture, which consists of them re-telling their history and it is worrying that this could become sanitized.
For the next biennale they are looking at bringing people from the global margins to the metropolitan margins.

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Alternative Methods Entry 7  26 July 2014

Leah Gordon co-director of the cross-cultural arts festival, the Ghetto Biennale, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
She is very funny about the type of artist who came to Haiti:

Put out an open call, they had no funding and they got 150 applicants. There is a lot of class immobility – artists have to pay to get to Haiti and pay for their own room. They attracted de-authorised, de-materialised artists interested in institutional critique. Haitians were disappointed not to get Damien Hirst and Jake and Dinos Chapman. One of the artists, Bill Drummond was very upset that when he asked the Haitians artists what they wanted, they said to have a big exhibition in New York.

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Alternative Methods Entry 6  26 July 2014

Question for School of the Damned and OFS: What is the potential of people coming to the schools that don’t have an arts background, and will that change your approach?

Sara NF: I can’t predict what might happen in the future

Lucy Beech: There are a number of people at OFS who don’t have art training and its been very important for them to be involved with those who have. Important not to shy away from certain conventions of the art education system that work. Its not about emulating the system but about engineering change.

ST: I find it very moving seeing people taking the situation into their own hands. But I haven’t heard an articulation of the politics – it’s around class, access to education and the politics of learning. The questions are about access. How the institutions do and do not exclude people.

AC: We have had discussions with radical arts organisations that operated in the 1970s, and we understand that we should make ourselves accessible to all. We want to be a radical 21st century arts center open to all.

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Alternative Methods Entry 5  26 July 2014

Sara Nunes Fernandes discusses the School of the Damned together with Ruth Angel Edwards and Emilia Bergmark.

It began two years ago as a rant on Facebook between friends about how they couldn’t afford to do an MA. Someone offered them a free space at the Horse Hospital for every last Sunday of the month.
So they started to meet.
They devised a structure around this once-a-month meeting.
Sara describes is as organised anger
Each month three people would present their art work and someone would give a half-hour lecture
They invited artists, curators to talk and paid them back by labour exchange.
Everyone put £50 in a group kitty for press material for the whole year.
It lasted on year. Had a degree show, and then began to be invited to talk about the project.

After that they began asking what the future of the school would be?
The students were devising the structure and the original members didn’t want to control the structure after leaving. So they handed it over to any artists who wanted to apply. They had 15 spaces and 15 people applied so they didn’t have to reject anyone.

Second school of the damned was different because they were not a group of friends.
It took time to get to know each other.
They asked questions about how they repositioned themselves as different to the year before.
They re-wrote the manifesto and talked about changing the certificate from an MA to a PhD

For the future?
They want to avoid lapsing into a proper educational structure.
They would like to spread regionally like a virus and raise a conversation about arts education.

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Alternative Methods Entry 4  26 July 2014

Co-founder Anna Colin discusses Open Studio East (OSE) in Islington.

Group of curators, producers and critics wanted to create an open study program that was outward facing and responding to the environment. It is housed in a former library in De Beauvoir Town, Islington.
The organisers wanted to tackle the rise of tuition fees. At present OSE is open to 12 artists. Many of the people on the program could not afford to do an MA.

They get a free studio in the former children’s library.
Tuition 2 days a week
Time to develop a project.

Artist Lucy Beech who was on the program says it is a flexible course; the students (called associates) are instrumental to the teaching and bring their own experiences to it. They are vocal; there is a conflict of disciplines that creates interesting dynamics.
AC: we invited writers, curators etc… who inspired us to come and talk. 40% of the course is open to the public – important – what happens when someone comes in and disrupts the organization.
The associates started to dictate who should come and talk and how they wanted the course to evolve. They were given the budget. The associates were pro-active and got their learning out into the public. The associates had to share their research; it is not a cosy institutional environment.

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Alternative Methods Entry 3  26 July 2014

We need to take responsibility for our educational system. We need a range of arts institutions, it is important to have an ecology that works across the UK.
Sally talks about the contrast between her experiences of working in London and Liverpool. It led her to ask questions about the value of art when you are not working in a place that is saturated by the art market.

Now she asks the question:
What is necessary here in the place where you are making art?

Worked at The Serpentine Gallery for 10 years. Change is a slow process; it takes about three years to develop things. She had been invited in to tackle the problem to elevate the work done in the education department. She set up projects in the local communities that lasted longer (sometimes three years) than the six-week exhibition program.
Set up The Centre for Possible Studies – host residencies, grew into a research space, commissioned artists over long periods of time.
She then went to direct the Liverpool Biennial

Liverpool has a large population in decline. It has the highest percentage of households with three generations who have not worked for a living.
Liverpool is paralyzed by its past, a nostalgia for the docks and The Beatles. There is also a thirty-year construction plan, which is going to totally transform the city.
So how does the biennial help the community deal with this?
Biennials are difficult beasts. The problem is:
How you work in a local context and at the same time perform on an international stage?
Tallant re-branded the biennial as the UK Biennial of Contemporary art – much easier to approach funders if it’s called UK rather than Liverpool

Ends on a quote by Doris Lessing
Whatever your meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.

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Alternative Methods Entry 2  26 July 2014

Sally Tallant starts with a quote by Margaret Mead:
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed its is the only thing that ever has.

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Alternative Methods Entry 1  26 July 2014

Live blog by Jessica Lack.
Well, here we are again, out in the bucolic wilderness of Wysing, for the fourth Futurecamp event. Today’s session asks what the future holds for arts education, a timely topic as the country emerges beleaguered and battle worn from four years of Michael Gove’s ideological war on education. Cuts in funding and a political climate that questions the relevance of an art education has resulted in a dire situation. But all is not lost, from Joseph Beuy’s Free International University to the Anti-University in London, artists have always sought to create alternative revolutionary educational practices.

So what of our speakers today? First up is the Director of the Liverpool Biennial Sally Tallant, an old tutor of mine, and someone who has served on the front line of arts education during her time at The Serpentine Gallery. As always, I shall be keeping you updated as the day progresses.

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