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Title: After the educational turn : alternatives to the alternative art school
Author: Haslam, Susannah E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7426 0091
Awarding Body: Royal College of Art
Current Institution: Royal College of Art
Date of Award: 2018
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This research problematises the contemporary phenomenon of alternative arts education after art’s ‘Educational Turn’, encompassed by evidence of a critical discourse between 2006 and 2016. The thesis addresses the questions: what are the alternatives to models of the alternative art school having emerged through the Educational Turn? And, how might dialogic engagement with organisations outside of the Turn propose something other for the future of alternative arts education? Contemporary art’s capacity to instrumentalise education, through its reimagining by artists and the co-option of ‘the alternative’ by arts institutions, must be countered by considering organisational models that sit outside of the Educational Turn. The field is contextualised by a ‘crisis in education’ in the UK, contributing to an abundant manifestation of ‘alternative’ art schools. An often-overlooked plurality exists to ‘the alternative’ that, in its co-option by contemporary art, is rendered homogenised. Existing discourse considers artistic, self-organised and curatorial practices, framed by institutional and infrastructural critique, but neglects to step outside of the Turn to imagine other models for alternative arts education. ‘Knowledge mobility’, ‘the dialogic’ and ‘(trans)formation’ form a framework for the thesis, functioning according to a methodology of critique and proposition. The research derives ‘knowledge mobility’ to critique the Turn’s instrumentalisation of education, by examining existing discourse and practice that problematise the paradoxes of the Turn and frame knowledge as a form of social organisation. The research aligns ‘the dialogic’ from Mikhail Bakhtin and Paulo Freire, with Julia Kristeva and Roland Barthes’ ‘intertextuality’ and Maurice Blanchot’s ‘infinite conversation’. The function of ‘the dialogic’ is twofold: as a structural metaphor and conversational research practice. Four dialogues with organisations operating outside of the remit of the Turn consider the productive and transformative capacities of models not framed as alternative art schools. These are with: Leeds Creative Timebank, IF Project, THECUBE and Syllabus programme. Negotiating critical and applied interpretations of ‘knowledge mobility’, findings from these are reconciled with the research through a process of ‘(trans)formation’, resulting in the proposition of speculative principles to contribute to the field of alternative arts education. The research has been produced as part of the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council’s (AHRC) Creative Exchange knowledge exchange hub, providing the context for stepping outside of the domain of contemporary art. The value of this approach for the field of alternative arts education is in its capacity to have drawn together thinking from each organisation. This research makes its contribution to the field of alternative arts education by working dialogically with organisations where the practice of knowledge is central, establishing a connection between organisations outside of the Turn, which would otherwise be excluded from its discourse, with contemporary art. The research formulates and puts into practice methods of critique, conversation and proposition: producing a critical vocabulary, lens and through deriving speculative propositions towards a possible future for alternative arts education.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Creative Exchange ; AHRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: W990 Creative Arts and Design not elsewhere classified