20.08.2015, [The Precarious University], Social sculpture / seminar / intervention, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield.
The Precarious University opened on 20th August 2015 in the grounds of Yorkshire Sculpture Park, in order to address the core question posed by Bob and Roberta Smith’s Art For All: Pop-up Art School: ‘What needs to be included in art education to give a child a voice in the 21st century?’
The Precarious University aimed to contrast two contemporary conceptualisations of the art school – the post Browne Report model, which prioritises marketization, privatization and monetization, and the ‘alternative’ model, which draws inspiration from the art school’s radical history, and conceives of itself as an incubator of social change.
Drawing upon the model of the alternative art school, our intervention functioned as an enclosure of critical dialogue within the wider setting of Yorkshire Sculpture Park. A grid of plywood cubes situated amongst the outdoor sculpture displays will demarcate the university and act as seating for participants. Throughout the day we will address these core questions:
What is revolutionary education and the role of education in a revolutionary situation?
What is the role of the expert, or radical, or educator in social change?
Do students need teachers to structure their learning, and how should power be distributed throughout the art school?
What is the relation of the art school to the status quo?
What parallels exist between May 68 in Paris and the UK student protests in 2010?
Participants spent the day with us at Yorkshire Sculpture Park and contributed to the discussion throughout the day. Our point of departure was be an exchange between a teacher, Louis Althusser, and his student, Jacques Rancière , as documented in Althusser’s ‘Student Problems’ (1964) and Rancière’s ‘Althusser’s Lesson’ (1974). Both texts are available on the Test section of this website.