Tag Archives: OER (Open Educational Resources)

CONTEMPORARY ART & OPEN LEARNING

20.4.21 11:20 BST

A Reflective Practice paper at #OERxDomains21 organised by the Association for Learning Technology @A_L_T in partnership with Reclaim Hosting’s Domains Conference, this special edition of the much loved event is the 12th annual conference for Open Education research, practice and policy.

This paper reflects upon the @eca_edinburgh paragogic OER Contemporary Art & Open Learning that started Sept 2020 https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/artandlearning

‘SCOOP’

Intentional art education today takes diverse organisational forms: traversing small artist-led initiatives, international biennials, art academies and artistic practices. Artistic learning is porous and ubiquitous: it is lifewide: discovered through a wide variety of formal and informal arts contexts. Art education is a distinctly ‘live’, embodied experience. Until the pandemic pivot, there had been few virtual communities of artistic learners. How might artists catalyse the post-Covid recovery of the artworld by engaging with emerging edutech practices such as the open paradigm (Winn 2015), paragogy (Corneli 2011, 2016) and para-academia (Wardrop 2014)?

To partly address these issues, I will reflect on a new course I taught in collaboration with my colleagues Jake Watts, Emma Balkind and Beth Dynowski at Edinburgh College of Art.

Contemporary Art & Open Learning was designed to enable colleagues and art students to open access to artistic learning by peer-producing, codifying and sharing their own learning practices. The OER practised a range of peer-based theories of learning and knowledge production to extend open access into the communal Third Places (Oldenburg 1999) frequently produced by artists. In particular, it promoted ‘paragogics’, learning principles that offer a flexible framework for peer learning.

Embracing the Open Paradigm’s vision of education as a human right might better equip formal art education organisations – such as art schools, workshops and galleries – to fulfil UNESCO’s right to participate in cultural life. However, we must also remember that cultural life is fermented formally and informally. Working together, OERs and people can catalyse the recovery by forming symbiotic colonies of artistic learning and, thus, new artworlds.

Contemporary Art & Open Learning

Corneli, J. and C. J. Danoff (2011). “Synergising Individual Organisational Learning.” Wikiversity.

Corneli, J., et al. (2016). The Peeragogy Handbook. http://peeragogy.org, PubDomEd and Pierce Press.

Knox, J. (2013). “Five Critiques of the Open Educational Resources Movement.” Knox , J 2013 , ‘ Five Critiques of the Open Educational Resources Movement ‘ vol. 18 , no. 8 , pp. 821

Oldenburg, R. (199) The Great Good Place: Cafés, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community. Boston: De Capo Press.

Wardrop, A. W., Deborah (eds). (2014). The Para-Academic Handbook: A Toolkit For Making-Learning-Creating-Acting. Bristol, England, HammerOn Press.

Winn, J. (2015). “Open Education and the Emancipation of Academic Labour.” Learning, Media and Technology 40(3): 385-404.

Plan S and the Pandemic Pivot

Increasingly, artistic learning and research is conducted in non-academic settings: in galleries, biennale, residencies, art fairs, and – of course – through artistic practice.

Para-academic art schools are perceived to be more personalised, flexible, engaged, accessible and cheaper than HEIs. Their alumni have already achieved many of the key performance indicators of our sector.

To remain relevant in this exploded network of artistic learning, HEI art schools must learn from para-schooling. Contemporary art is a parasite​(Serres, 2007)​; a good host forever seeking an equally good host. Pooling and sharing resources with partners that compliment the art school’s curiosities cultivates a climate in which all communities flourish.

As an SFC-funded charity, ECA must be a democratic intellect for the public benefit, visibly upholding the value of research-led art education, not just for artists, but as a means to develop a learning society.

Research-led Teaching

HEI art schools’ strengths here are the peer-esteem and artistic impact of their alumni and staff research. Emboldened by this, HEI art schools should systematically reframe research per se from the perspective of artistic research.

Tim Ingold argues that:

Research is not a particular thing you do for so many hours each day. It is rather a way of living curiously – that is, with care and attention.

​(Ingold, 2018)​

In this sense, all researchers should take their lead from artists, approaching re-search as a careful, continuous quest driven by curiosity.

Ingold’s vision of research is fundamental to re-imagining the art school’s contribution to knowledge and, in turn, its curriculum design.

This leads me to two correlated observations:

  • Art students learn by doing, starting in the same place as their tutors, and participating in learning alongside them.
  • Peer-esteem emerges from peer-support. We need to be curious about each other’s work.

The residual culture in most European art schools remains motivated more by teaching than by research. To grow and diversify our research culture, research groups need to develop learning and teaching. This means we not only teach our research, we are actively involving students in the research process. Because this is fresh to colleagues and students, the curriculum  provokes curiosity.

The strategic management of resources is here is driven and transformed by what actually makes us curious; emerges from elective affinities rather being superimposed by discipline or kinship.

What we are curious about is what we care for.

Curious Commons

Artistic research isn’t just for artists. Everyone is curious and everyone cares. In 2021, open research became the new norm across the EHEA. A Plan S for artistic research presents a major opportunity in the form of a challenge:

How can the art school common more of its research and educational resources for the public benefit?

As it stands, a lot of art is freely accessible in public contexts.

Open Access additionally offers insight into the ‘workings’ of such research. Organisations such as the Society for Artistic Research lead the way here, creating open platforms that can be used as open educational resources.

Contemporary Art & Open Learning OER Introduction

The courseware for Contemporary Art & Open Learning (see: above) is open access. Students created open distribution frameworks (‘scenes’) to host their open research objects. What students produced for the course, then, formed part of the Art & Learning’s research activities.

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The Pandemic Pivot and Plan S coincided in a perfect storm to ‘disrupt class’ here. Both have transformed student expectations of course provision forever. Porous forms of artistic learning are, thus, a key catalyst for post-Covid recovery.

Porosity means breathing IN and OUT

Art’s sub-disciplines are crucial to its future development. Sub-disciplines are the expanding lungs of artistic practice. Sub-disciplines are entangled and porous, venturing far beyond the boundaries of the art world. For example, think of UWE’s ongoing project on the artist’s book. To do justice to their research question, what is the artist’s book in the 21st century demands an extra-disciplinary approach.

ABTREE altered diagram by Dr Emma Powell, UK http://www.bookarts.uwe.ac.uk/canon/
ABTREE altered diagram by Dr Emma Powell, UK http://www.bookarts.uwe.ac.uk/canon ​(Powell, 2008)​

The challenge here for art education is this:

How do you teach what you don’t know?How do you teach what you don’t know?

The art school doesn’t have to try to teach everything, rather, it needs to carefully curate access to existing methods and resources that support working in less familiar fields.

To facilitate such Fantastic Journeys, the art school’s internal research and educational resources need to be aligned in ways that foster intermediality, extra-disciplinarity and more co-investigation. Sub-disciplinary expansion also means focusing not only on what we teach, but on on how artists learn and on the many different environments they learn in.

Care Ethics

Since difference is fundamental to educational diversity; it must mutually embodied. This requires a more carefully coordinated delegated authority and a care-based ethics. To bring educational diversity to life, all art staff need to be empowered to be visible leaders. To steward our colleagues to visibly lead our respective fields, leadership must nurture staff commitment, curiosity and initiative.

To transform a vision into a practice, good intentions must become good habits. Part of my artistic research – Shift/Work – involves creating workshops wherein peers compose new forms of artistic learning for each other to playtest. Participants shift from seeing parts to seeing wholes, from being passive to being active agents in their learning organisation.

Regularly composing and leading such workshops with colleagues and art students is a proven catalyst to collectively instilling good habits. In art schools, such a method of sharing insight and lending support can afford colleagues regular opportunities to align learning with their research by co-designing and updating the curriculum with students and stakeholders.

In turn, this can make the art school’s wide variety of practices more porous for students and our broader publics, dissolving barriers to learning to ensure that we can all feed our curiosity.


  1. Ingold, T. (2018). Anthropology Between Art and Science: An Essay on the Meaning of Research. Field. http://field-journal.com/issue-11/anthropology-between-art-and-science-an-essay-on-the-meaning-of-research
  2. Powell, E. (2008, October 28). ABTREE altered diagram. What Will Be the Canon for the Artist’s Book in the 21st Century? http://www.bookarts.uwe.ac.uk/canon/
  3. Serres, M. (2007). The Parasite. University of Minnesota Press.
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Neil Mulholland – Plan S and the Pandemic Pivot is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license. 16.2.2021

JEDER MENSCH EIN KÜNSTLER

This year’s Art & Open Learning Fair builds upon Georg Hardenberg / Novalis / Joseph Beuys’ 1978 provocation: JEDER MENSCH EIN KÜNSTLER. The Fair is a process that has emerged from the open educational resource (OER) produced by Neil Mulholland, Emma Balkind, Jake Watts and Beth Dynowski. The OER is accessible here via this blog: blogs.ed.ac.uk/artandlearning/courseware-contemporary-art-open-learning/


Monday 23rd November 2020> The Mind’s Eye 🟡 Yellow Basho //// Runs from Monday 23rd November 2020 asynchronous


Wednesday 25th November 2020 Treasure Hunt 🟣 Purple Basho //// 9:30am-12:30pm GMT for live activities


Wednesday 25th November 2020 How to Become an Artist 🟢 Green Basho //// 1:30pm-4:30pm GMT for live activities


Thursday 26th November 2020 MENU: Being an Artist 🔴 Red Basho //// 1:30pm-4:30pm GMT for live activities


Can anyone be an artist?

Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) is directly implicated in this provocation which arose from Beuys’ Edinburgh Poorhouse projects (e.g. Black and White Oil Conference, 1974), the Free International University for Creativity and Interdisciplinary Research and his work with the prisoner Jimmy Boyle (1980-); a heritage presently continued by the Edinburgh branch of the Ragged University.

Students on the MFA Contemporary Art Practice & MA Contemporary Art Theory in the School of Art, ECA have provided their own responses this particular provocation, working in four groups comprised of artists, curators, researchers and paragogues.

Open? Fair?

What might it take to transform that last bastion of mercantile capitalism, the art fair, into an open educational resource? Considering the long history of fairs against our present-day pivot culture, how might they openly support peer-production and participation rather than reproduce proprietorial consumption? In ‘Open Access and Para-Academic Practice‘ tripleC 11((2)) 2013: 614-619, Paul Boshears calls on researchers to engage in the open creation of research objects (artworks, programmes of study, events, etc.)

Boshears argues that, to be genuinely open, research should be focused less on  research objects and more on the new ‘publics that result from the circulation of these objects’. (Boshears 2013: 617) Thinking about what sort of publics we might engage (or generate) through the production of open research objects is an ambitious challenge, one that our masters of contemporary art have risen to meet. They do so during a pandemic that has brought the arts to a virtual standstill.

Based in Edinburgh and across China, the School of Art’s postgraduates have imagined a variety of blended  approaches to art and learning that are responsive to our volatile world. The pivots herein are not simply skeuomorphic translations from meatspace to massified, open online courseware, (i.e. MOOCs); they represent a wide range of blended and augmented sites; art-as-education-as-art equipped to work within the full range of Scotland’s four tier Covid-19 protection levels.

Rather than create virtual projects aimed at a faceless mass of placeless lurkers, paragogues have peer-produced participatory workshops for each other. Working together in four small basho (Red, Green, Purple, Yellow) they have created an intimate, reciprocal programme of artistic learning that is, nevertheless, scaleable.

The four projects produced by each basho blend curatorial tools, re-imagine event-places and devise artistic practices for multiple scenarios. The JEDER MENSCH EIN KÜNSTLER fair is a work in progress, a chance to playtest the range of practices offered by the members of each basho. Anyone is welcome to browse through and participate in any of the asynchronous projects and workshops.

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Neil Mulholland JEDER MENSCH EIN KÜNSTLER is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license. November 2020

Week 1 | Marginalia on the Educational Turn | Build-a-basho

Contemporary Art & Open Learning >

The Rules of the Game

Learning/Experiments

Collaborative Inquiry

What are the learning resources?

What are workshops?

What is a Crit?

OERs and Paywalls

Stand-up

#studywithme

Edutech Tools

Week 1 – Marginalia on the Educational Turn

Week 1 – Assignment-1-Build-A-Basho™️

“Der Fachidiot”: The paratechnic in the monotechnic

The Porous University – A critical exploration of openness, space and place in Higher Education | 8th and 9th May, An Lòchran, Inverness Campus

Prof Neil Mulholland
“Der Fachidiot”: The Paratechnic in the Monotechnic
(slide cast of provocation paper):

Paratechnic Principals … paraphrasing: ‘5 Principals’ in Corneli & Dandoff, (2011) Synergising individual organisational learning, Wikiversity

1. Diverse methods, diverse communities of practice
2. Externally-facing ’University of Dissensus’ [Readings: 1997]
3. Immediation, 1:1, live
4. Fluid, adaptive co-learning
5. Cooperative and collegiate

The Porous University Symposium – Programme

See ‘Additional info’ for details of sessions which can be viewed online – this includes sessions to be broadcast live via Twitter, and also a parallel session which will run as a webinar on Day 2.

The hashtag for the event is #porousuni

twitter.com/ShiftWorkESW

Shift/Work: Groundcourse | Roy Ascott

original

 

The Groundcourse is a two year foundation led by Roy Ascott at Ealing (1961-64), Ipswich School of Art (1964-67) and currently at Beijing DeTao Masters Academy in Shanghai.

Groundcourse is a seminal educational experiment that is a key influence on Shift/Work. Prof Ascott will discuss Groundcourse before running a short exercise from it. This is a unique opportunity to experience the legandary Groundcourse at first hand.

Schedule:

1. Discussion of full Groundcourse programme, the theory behind it, and plenty examples of student outputs, both way back in Ealing/Ipswich and currently at De Tao.

Then comes the practice:

2. Each individual student will design and construct a machine that can calibrate changes in one’s individual environment and in one’s behaviour, producing for each user a severely limited repertoire of actions.

3. Organisms are identified, each consisting of five “calibrated” students , recognising their mutual dependancy in enabling the organism’s ability to produce  thought and action.

4. Each organism then to design and build an environmentally-situated  performative game.

5. Presentation: enactment of each organism’s game.

6. Organisms discuss their critical reflection of the process.

Professor Roy Ascott, Ars Electronica Golden Nica award winner, works with cybernetics and telematics on cybernetic art, focusing on the impact of digital and telecommunications networks on consciousness. He is President of the Planetary Collegium, and DeTao Master of Technoetic Arts at the Beijing DeTao Masters Academy in Shanghai. He is the founding editor of the research journal Technoetic Arts, an honorary editor of Leonardo Journal, and author of such the books as Telematic Embrace: Visionary Theories of Art, Technology and Consciousness.

Prof Ascott’s full biography can be reviewed here:

https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/staff/roy-ascott and here

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Ascott