Taking care in and of the art school : hope in precarious times

LEE, Joanne (2016). Taking care in and of the art school : hope in precarious times. In: Reflections on the Work of Albert Hunt/Within the Art School and Without, Dye House Gallery, Bradford School of Art, 17 March 2016. (Unpublished)

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Albert Hunt famously had Hopes for Great Happenings in education: this paper begins by noting that any hope for such ambitious transformation is currently in rather short supply in today’s art schools, affected as they are by dominant neoliberal agendas. For students there is the marketisation of education, with its shifting of the fees burden onto individuals: sold the dream of a perfect creative future via the touting of star alumni on recruitment websites, the reality is that many graduates will simply find themselves joining an ever expanding economic ‘precariat’. For lecturers, meanwhile, there has developed a form of what sociologist Andrew Whelan has termed ‘organisational sociopathy’ in the professional and research agenda, whereby entrepreneurial self-interest is seen as the route to career advancement. In each case, what has become required is a form of self-actualisation, or what clinical psychologist David Smails (and after him, writer Mark Fisher) have described as ‘magical voluntarism’ whereby the responsibility for achievement lies wholly with the individual. Little note is taken of the social, cultural and political issues that affect people’s potential; rather than try to change the world – perhaps through collective action – people are enjoined to change themselves, and if they are unable to do so then it is considered their own personal failing. Whilst this paper is wary of making grand claims about ways to change the overwhelming and depressing status quo it will suggest we very literally take care in and of the art school. Via ideas of creative and critical friendship, it will recognise the radical pedagogic potential of working, learning and making alongside one another in the art school, whether as student or staff member, and will develop Michel Foucault’s sense of curiosity as a mechanism for ‘concern’, which he saw an evocation of the care one takes for what exists and could exist. It argues that the renewal and rethinking of relational, affective and collegiate aspects within the art school offer very real hope in these precarious times. Keywords: art education; pedagogy; care; art school

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Art and Design Research Centre
Depositing User: Joanne Lee
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2016 10:40
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 18:08
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/12616

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