• After the educational turn: alternatives to the alternative art school

Haslam, Susannah E., 2018, Thesis, After the educational turn: alternatives to the alternative art school PhD thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

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
‘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

Qualification Name: PhD
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W900 Others in Creative Arts and Design > W990 Creative Arts and Design not elsewhere classified
School or Centre: School of Design
Funders: Creative exchange, AHRC
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2018 14:56
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2018 14:31
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/3479
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