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.
Since the early ’60s, increasingly integrated paratechnical curricula have been (begrudgingly) hosted by monotechnical art and design schools. I outline the key characteristics and limitations of the (modernist) monotechnical art and design curriculum and give some examples of different integrated paratechnical tactics and strategies. From this, I suggest that the paratechnic attempts to pursue the following qualities:
Diversification of methods and communities of practice
Externally-networked dissensus (Bill Reading’s ‘University of Dissensus’)
1:1 scale immediation (non-representational)
Ludic, adaptive flow
Paragogical cooperation and collegiality
An opportunity lies in admitting that the monoculture of art and design education – its internal ethics – still nurtures modernist assimilation and bias, and that, in preventing art and design from realising its educational potential, fachidiots place their own field at risk of redundancy. From this we may begin a productive transformation of the art school’s communities of practice (its variety of staff and students) and their relations with international communities of purpose.
“It was immediately apparent to us that unlearning presented a paradox. Unlearning is an anti-foundational foundation from which to proceed. This makes it a provocative starting point for a workshop, given that workshops are so often predicated on ‘active learning’. Our question, therefore, was what would happen if participants (who we call Shift/Workers) were encouraged to reverse engineer the process of active learning?”