Neil Mulholland ‘Shift/Work: Speculations’, in L. Campbell (ed.), Leap into Action, New York: Peter Lang. 12th December 2019. pages 21-26; 39-40; 59-60 ISBN 9781433166440
Shift/Work is a performative paragogics (Corneli 2011) that supports the active peer production of Open Education Resources (OER) for artists. Shift/Work arose from participatory action research (PAR) into art education’s hidden (anti-)curriculum as a means of intervening in the monadic culture of self-sufficiency performed by its atomising technologies of the self. An iterative practice continually re-performed like a musical score, Shift/Workers compose and play-test intersubjective workshops for one another prompted by a ‘gesture that interrupts’ (Biesta 2017, 36); a MacGuffin that playfully amplifies our different educational expectations in order to draw our collective attention to how learners are subjectivised as artists. Drawing on a paper presented at ISoTL17 in Calgary, this chapter delineates Speculations (Shift/Work 2017), a Shift/Workshop composed and performed in Scotland, India and Norway during 2017 and in Ottawa in 2019, the parameters of which were scaffolded by Dan Brown, Jake Watts and Neil Mulholland.
At SAW, Ottawa on November 9th 2019, the Confraternity of Neoflagellants (Norman Hogg and Neil Mulholland) will conduct a performance of Shift/Work [STATIC] Speculations, a score-scroll originally composed at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop to be performed at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale Biennale, India (March 2017). It has since been performed in Kristiansand (Norway), Malmö (Sweden), Edinburgh (Scotland) and Calgary (Canada).
Speculation is a ‘gesture that interrupts’ (Biesta 2017, 36); an ‘irritation’ (Ascott 2003, 145); ‘a corruption, a rupture of information’ […] ‘static, a parasite?’ (Serres and Schehr 2007: 3) The speculative parasite is one that stimulates paragogic play, materialising Shift/Workers’ learning expectations. In performing each other’s Speculations Shift/Workshops, Shift/Workers gain a metacognitive understanding of the speculative processes and challenges of artistic learning.
Scroll-score: To blackbox facilitation, Confraternity of Neoflagellants will scaffold play with a scroll-score, a minimal set of prompts that sets the parameters within which Shift/Workshop design is communally performed. Confraternity of Neoflagellants will be using a set of Speculations Playing Cards as parasites for interference, gestation, regurgitation and problem creation. Speculative materials, probes and props will be drawn directly from the pan-pan exhibition.
This book proposes ‘paragogic’ methods to re-imagine the art academy. While art schooling was revolutionised in the early 20th century by the Bauhaus, the author argues that many art schools are unwittingly recycling the same modernist pedagogical fashions. Stagnating in such traditions, today’s art schools are blind to recent advances in the scholarship of teaching and learning. As discipline-based education research in art eternally battles the perceived threat of epistemicide, transformative educational practices are rapidly overcoming the perennialism of the art school. The author develops critical case studies of open source and peer-to-peer methods for re-imagining the art academy (para-academia) and andragogy (paragogy). This innovative book will be of interest and value to students and scholars of the art school, as well as how the art academy can be reimagined and rebuilt.
Re-imagining the Art School assesses the organisational development of the humanist ‘idea of the art school’ from the post-rationalist perspectives of constructivist and connectivist educational learning theory. It examines how recent internal (‘porous’) and external (‘para’) reforms have transformed the production of subjectivity in art schooling and pioneers the application of theories and methods of para-academia and paragogy in art education. It is the first book to be published on the future of the art school to develop an open access paragogy for artistic learning and research.
Reimagining the Art School will be published in 2019 by Palgrave Macmillan
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Directed by Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop (Dan Brown) and Edinburgh College of Art (Prof Neil Mulholland), Shift/Work is a collective that composes workshops that cause participants to reflect upon and recalibrate processes of artistic learning. Key to this is an open engagement with practice (work) as a means of both generating and transferring new knowledge (shift). Our workshops enact new practices and collectively compose open educational resources for artists, art professionals, curators and art educators to adapt and implement. ‘Shift/Work’ is an iterative process, a rolling workshop that can be continually re-performed like a musical score. Given that SoTL generally does not feature in contemporary artistic practice or pedagogy, Shift/Work is distinctive and significant in its engagements with, and innovative contributions, to SoTL.
We will briefly outline the genesis and aims of Shift/Work in relation to SoTL and ‘educationally-turned’ contemporary artistic research, before focusing on Speculations, a participatory workshop composed at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop then play-tested as part of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India (March 2017) and at the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway (Sept 2017). In Speculations participants develop, learn and apply speculative methods, processes and practices that cannot be held, observed or enacted without taking risks or experiencing their consequences. Rather than simply reflect upon speculation and artistic research, the workshop actually generates new speculative-artistic methods through participatory action research.
Speculations offers a unique insight into Shift/Work’s ludic approach to workshops as reciprocal and enmeshed game-rules governing how actants interact. Playing the ‘game’ – Speculations – leads to the rules being revised and updated, offering fresh game-theoretic insights. Speculations is, thus, a paragogy, a ludic and ‘meta’ practice of peer-to-peer learning that is central to artistic learning. It is a heuristic to improve our understanding of how parameters calibrate and enable adventurous, creative play. In turn, it demonstrates that play does not just make learning fun, it is constitutive of learning. Speculations unravels and clarifies Shift/Work’s commitment to codifying playful paragogy in order to publish and distribute it as an open educational and artistic resource. This has invaluable implications for SoTL as an experimental paragogy that can transform the whole field of education.
@ACAD Alberta College of Art & Design – 1407 14 Ave NW, Calgary 🇨🇦 Tuesday v10th October, 1pm www.acad.ca
With Dan Brown, Neil Mulholland directs Shift/Work, a studio at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop (ESW) that composes scores designed to encourage players to reflect upon and recalibrate artistic learning. Key to this is an open engagement with practice (work) as a means of both generating and transferring new knowledge (shift). ‘Shift/Work’ is an iterative process, a rolling workshop that can be continually re-performed like a musical score.
Neil will outline the genesis and aims of Shift/Work in relation to the rise of paragogy and para-academia (the ‘undercommons’ of contemporary art and knowledge). He will then focus on Shift/Work’s development of Speculations, a participatory workshop collectively composed at ESW to be performed as part of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India (March 2017) and at Teateret, Kristiansand, Norway (August 2017). He will demonstrate how to perform Speculations and provide a copies of its score as an open educational resource for artists to adapt and practise.