Education Program

18 July 2017, 13.00

Education and Social Justice: A Workshop About John Dewey’s Methodologies

Learning Place, FORMER WEST: Documents, Constellation, Prospects, Berlijn, 18–24 March 2013, photo: Ernie Buts

On Tuesday 18 July 2017 from 13 till 16 hrs, as part of the BAK Summer School: Art in a Time of Interregnum, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht hosts an open workshop titled “Education and Social Justice: A Workshop About John Dewey’s Methodologies” by Dr. Ayesha Ghanchi with Amal Alhaag and Maria Guggenbichler. Through exploring the philosophy and methods of educationist John Dewey, this workshop examines how cultural and art education can mobilize social justice.

The workshop departs from the general understanding that culture and cultural practices can cultivate counter-hegemonic processes. For instance, practices of “pacifist invasions” (Yasser Elhariry), from within, translate, denature, corrupt, and bastardize the monolithic social formations of Western modernity’s great divides along the segregating lines of class, religion, race, sex, gender, ability, etc. In this workshop, we question: What are our practices of transgression, in, outside, and beyond the art institution? How does our engagement with art and cultural learning reproduce our “pacifist invasions,” transgressions, and hegemonic rebellions? How do we share them and pass them on? In the words of bell hooks, how can we “teach to transgress?”

Dewey’s education theory is highly relevant to cultural education and practices, as it is based on encouraging critical and divergent thinking, and questioning the cultural context of learning, whether on a rural farm or in an art institution. His ideas have heavily influenced the field of critical pedagogy, in particular the Reggio Emilia learning approach that was developed in the 1930s by a rural Italian community who wanted to create an education system for their children that would teach critical thinking skills and knowledge of their community so as to challenge the rising fascism of Mussolini. It has since influenced artist-educators who aim to interrogate power imbalances in the institution and encourage dialogue around identity.

During “Education and Social Justice: A Workshop About John Dewey’s Methodologies,” participants will look into Dewey’s philosophy of education and society, identifying how it relates to the fields of radical education practices, and artistic and radical pedagogies. The workshop includes artistic, multi-sensory, and activity-based learning methods.

The workshop takes place at BAK, Utrecht (Lange Nieuwstraat 4). Space is limited. To reserve a spot, please email the BAK Summer School: Art in a Time of Interregnum organizer Whitney Stark at whitney@bak-utrecht.nl.

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