Since participating in a session called Pedagogies of the Periphery (organized by Rebecca Zorach) a few weeks ago at threewalls Gallery in Chicago I have been thinking through a lot of questions I have about the current trend of the school form as artist project as well as the call for the March 4th student strike. Once I compiled this long but incomplete list, I got kind of excited about all of the mostly grassroots energy it represents towards rethinking what it means to learn. At the same time I wonder who these art projects serve and if they have oppositional possibilities or are just another venue for people with privilege to socialize with each other and engage in “knowledge production”? Some other questions I have are:
What does this type of art practice say about the current conditions of both official education and/or art?
Although each project is different, does this trend indicate a growing critique of official education?
If so, what are the critiques (pedagogical, corporate, curricular, all/none/etc)?
In what ways are these projects different than official education? Is it the spaces they happen in? Different administrators? Content of courses? Cost? Openness?
What are the politics of the discourse of “openness”?
What constitutes participation in these projects?
What, if any, is the relationship between the impetus for these school art practices and the issues inspiring the student strikes?
There are many other questions to ask and discussions to have related to problems of education today….for now here is a list of school art projects, as well as other types of places where classes are offered to the public, and a list of free schools for young people…
Current or recent school/art projects:
The Anhoek School/ Mary Walling Blackburn, 2009-present http://www.anhoekschool.org/
The AS in the AS/Joanna Spitzner, 2009-present http://www.theasintheas.org/
Art School UK http://www.artschooluk.org/
Bruce High Quality Foundation University, 2009-present http://www.bhqfu.org
Colour School http://colourschool.org/
Copenhagen Free University http://www.copenhagenfreeuniversity.dk/ (ended 2007)
The Exploding School http://www.dismalgarden.org/pages/exploded_school_contents.html
Flying University/Red76/Sam Gould http://www.red76.com/fu.html
The Independent School of Art http://www.independentschoolofart.org
Informal University in Formation http://www.jackie-inhalt.net/index.html
Manoa Free University http://www.manoafreeuniversity.org/
The Mountain School of the Arts http://www.themountainschoolofarts.org/
Night School/Anton Vidokle, New York, 2007-2008 http://www.newmuseum.org/event_series/night_school
Pickpocket Almanack http://www.pickpocketalmanack.org/
Public Social University (organized by social practice students at Portland State University) http://portland.freeskool.org/?q=user/3541
The Public School, Los Angeles, Brussels, Chicago, Helsinki, LA, NY, Paris, Philly, and San Juan 2008- present-
A School of Decreative Methodologies, http://basekamp.com/about/events/school-decreative-methodologies
The School of Missing Studies http://www.schoolofmissingstudies.net/
The School of Panamerican Unrest/Pablo Helguera http://www.panamericanismo.org/index.php
The School of Walls and Space/Nils Norman http://www.kunstakademiet.dk/more.php?id=174_0_2_0_M41
Sundown Schoolhouse/ Fritz Haeg http://www.fritzhaeg.com/schoolhouse.html
Trade School/ Caroline Woolard, 2010, http://tradeschool.ourgoods.org/
United Nations Plaza/ Anton Vidokle, Berlin, 2006-2007
The University of Trash/ Nils Norman and Michael Cataldi http://www.universityoftrash.org/
In addition to these artist run schools, there are many initiatives/businesses/not-for-profits/self-organized projects that offer non-accredited and low or no cost classes to the public
Bluestockings Bookstore http://bluestockings.com/events/
The Brecht Forum http://brechtforum.org/classes
Experimental College of the Twin Cities: http://www.excotc.org/
Free University of Los Angeles http://www.freeuniversityla.org/
3rd ward http://www.3rdward.com/classes/
Toronto Free Anarchist University http://www.anarchistu.org/cgi-bin/twiki/view/Anarchistu
University of Openness: http://uo.twenteenthcentury.com/index.php/AboutUo
Alternative Schools within Schools Open to the Public:
Experimental College/EXCO at Oberlin College, 1968 – present, http://oberlinexco.org
Militant and Co-Research at CUNY Grad Center http://www.thisisforever.org/fall-seminar/readings
Free School at Hunter College, NY, Present
Free Schools for Young People
The Albany Free School http://albanyfreeschool.com This school was founded in 1969 and it is still going strong.
The Harriet Tubman Free School http://www.tubmanschool.org/
Brooklyn Free School http://www.brooklynfreeschool.org/ Their links page lists many schools around the world http://www.brooklynfreeschool.org/links/index.html
Some Historical Examples of Radical Schools I Found While Researching Social Movement History:
-During the student strikes of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, self-organized revolutionary seminars were set up in the schools while students were striking.
Documentation of a seminar that took place during a student strike at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago was made by Kartemquin Film Collective and is still in distribution: What The Fuck Are These Red Squares?
-At SUNY Buffalo one of the demands of the strike was the establishment of Tolstoy College/College F, an anarchist college, that was open from 1969-1983. Faculty were paid by the larger university.
-Liberation School for Women, a project of the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union
-Free School/Alt University was located in the War Resister’s Building at 339 Lafayette Street in NYC.
Katie Hargrave “Paolo Freire and Educational Models as Art Practice,” 4/1/2009
above image from new newspaper: After the Fall