We are hosting the first retreat for Syllabus V, our collaboratively-produced alternative learning programme. The weekend has been programmed by Artistic Advisors Barby Asante and Louise Shelley.
The weekend will be organised around three positions: Context, Knowledges and Togetherness.
We have planned this first retreat drawing from our own influences, contexts, our working lives and the urgencies we would like to attend to collectively.
Exercises and group conversations share affinities with dialectical methods of education, critical pedagogies, affective pedagogies, consciousness raising, workers education, ideas of cooperative organising, ‘unlearning’ and ‘the undercommons.’
Through critical, active spectatorship: watching, listening, thinking and talking collectively
We will propose to co-plan Syllabus V with you all, Syllabus as self-driven/ horizontalist/ anti racist/ anti- Empire/ experimental/ non-canonical/ independent/ critical/ dialogic/ inclusive/ subversive/ improvised/ co-didactic/ transformative/ emancipatory/
We look forward to spending this time and working together on the shape for Syllabus V
x Barby and Louise
The first day of the programme takes 'context' as its theme. The group will participate in a mapping excercise and active listening workshop and will also draw up a list of collective agreements for the coming year.
On Friday, the group will be joined by representatives from the partner organisations for a day themed around 'knowledges'. The group will be asked to present work and will also participate in a listening session that takes cues from the poet and scholar Fred Moten.
The third day of the gathering will be dedicated to 'togetherness'. The day will begin with a walk, before the group start to discuss the planning of the programme. What knowledges do the group want to invite into the conversation and where can those knowledges be found? After dinnner the group will engage in a series of 'Fake Therapy Excercises', developed by Denise Ferreira da Silva and Valentina Desideri.
On the final day of the gathering, the group will use a tarot reading as a method to address any problems, issues or situations anticipated by the group.
A google folder is available for the artists holding texts by Yvonne Rainer, Fred Moten, Precarious Writers Brigade, Pauline Oliveros and others. These are the references drawn on for the first retreat. This is by no means a 'reading list’ but more to share our influences and salute our sources.
Barby Asante is a London based artist, curator, researcher and occasional DJ. Her work is concerned with the politics of place and the histories and legacies of colonialism making work that is collaborative, performative and dialogic. Her artistic practice explores the archival, makes propositions, collects and maps stories and contributions of people of colour using storytelling, collective actions, and ritual, to excavate, unearth and interrogate given narratives. She resists the idea that the stories of "Other-ness" are alternatives to dominant given narratives, but are interruptions, utterances, presences that exist within, that are invisible, unheard, missing or ignored. By making these narratives visible, asking questions and making proposals she is interested in what these possibilities offer as we examine our present and envision our futures. Her current artistic research As Always a Painful Declaration of Independence : For Ama. For Aba. For Charlotte and Adjoa, is being realised in a series of project episodes. The project explores the social, cultural and political agency of women of colour, as they navigate historic legacies of colonialism, independence, migration and the contemporary global socio political climate,to think about propositions for their futures existence in a just world.
Barby’s recent exhibitions include, Intimacy and Distance, Diaspora Pavilion, Venice (2017), The Queen and The Black Eyed Squint, Starless Midnight (2017/18) and Declaration of Independence (2019), BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Arts. She is currently a Doctoral Candidate in CREAM (Centre for Research in Education, Arts and Media) at Westminster University. Barby has also taught on fine art programmes in London, Berlin, Gothenburg and Rotterdam and is currently Visiting Lecturer on Contemporary Practice at the RCA and teaches a programme on decolonial arts practice called How We Get Free on the BA Fine Art Critical Practice at Goldsmiths. She is a PhD co founder of agency for agency a collaborative agency concerned with ethics, intersectionality and education in the contemporary arts who are mentors to the sorryyoufeeluncomfortable collective. Asante is also on the board of the Women's Art Library and 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning.
Louise Shelley is the Cubitt Curatorial Fellow for 2018/19 where she is running a 15-month public programme working from the structure of Cubitt as an artist-run co-operative and how a gallery in this context can develop politicised and collective ways for working, pedagogy and presentation. Previous to Cubitt she was the Collaborative Projects Curator at The Showroom, London, where she ran the Communal Knowledge programme. Communal Knowledge was a series of collaborative projects to propose and activate approaches to critical engagement with The Showroom’s social and cultural surroundings. Louise is also a member of the Cinenova Working Group, a non-profit, volunteer-run feminist film distributor.