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Valeria Graziano on The Educational Turn in Art
Performance Research, Volume 21, Issue 6, December 2016

Valeria Graziano on The Educational Turn in Art

Valeria Graziano (ADRI Research Fellow) is co-author, together with Janna Graham and Susan Kelly (Goldsmiths College), of the article The Educational Turn in Art. Rewriting the hidden curriculum, just published in Performance Research special issue On Radical Education, Volume 21, Issue 6, December 2016, edited by Ric Allsopp & Michael Hiltbrunner.

 

Abstract:

In about 2006, the art world developed a prolonged fascination with questions of education, pedagogy and the art school. ‘The Educational Turn’ (Rogoff 2008), as it became known, produced a plethora of artistic and curatorial practices that engage with educational paradigms and problematics. Prompted in part by the European Union Bologna Process, The Educational Turn provided a critique of education as one-directional knowledge transfer, and the framing of education as a commercialized industry, reduced to the utilitarianism of training for working life. At the same time, it established ‘education’ as a thematic for the art world, in most cases divorced from its capacity for producing change in the fields of art or education. This article asks, what is the hidden curriculum (Illich) of this Educational Turn? Drawing from the writings of Colin Crouch, Wolfgang Streeck and Paulo Virno among others, it suggests that such ‘turns’ without a vital link to the realm of action, contribute to the broader problematic of public programming without a public sphere, through which formerly democratic institutions (like art galleries) operate as shells in a capitalist environment that is increasingly incompatible with democracy. We read The Education Turn here as a missed opportunity to re-shape art curricula and institutions, to develop a movement to oppose the Bologna Accord and the brutal changes imposed on art education through austerity politics. Finally, we argue—citing the writings of Paulo Friere, the mutualist movements in Europe of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the educational experiments of Celestin Freinet and Fernand Oury in France in the 1950s and the pedagogies of feminist and post-colonial struggle—for a deeper connection to radical education genealogies and their contemporary counterparts in contemporary public programming today.