research @tate: summer school day four

Order of business today:
10.30: Introduction to Harold Offeh’s work
11-12: self directed tour of Tate. People were free to go to any of the special exhibitions or the regular collection. We were asked to choose one art work which we would later respond to.
12-1: Introduction by Adelaide Bannerman to the work of three artists: Erwin Wurm, we reenacted one minute sculptures; Adrian Piper and William Pope L.
1-2: Shared lunch.
2.30-3.45: individual or group responses to the art work chosen earlier in the day. People could use any medium, from paint to video.
3.45- 5: Presentation of individual pieces and brief discussion.

Today we focused on the notion of practice. What was ours? The notion of practice that was on offer was inclusive of both teaching and art practice. Harold suggested that art practice was synonymous with learning. He suggested that artists are always asking questions, borrowing and appropriating from other cultural genres in order to transform understandings. Participants questioned what their practice was, and some used the day to experiment with something that they would not normally do.

An emerging analytic approach: I am thinking about the activities on offer. I’m musing over the notion of curated learning, and adding this to our previous decisions to see the professional learning activities as an offer, and participants as having agency to choose what to take up and how. Each day we have been exposed to a different offer – an artists’ world (or room, to take the motif of the Meschac Gaba exhibition). Each day has afforded different things although there have been common themes, particularly about exploration and open-ended play.

I have noted some interesting comments from participants about the Summer School which suggest that aspects of the offer are being taken up. For example:
I hope to have more time to let children play
I cant believe I’m doing a painting
I thought I was just here to learn things but I realize I can participate
I’m less suspicious of performance
I feel more able to speak up
It’s been interesting to be put in the situation of feeling what students feel when we ask them to do something
I need to spend more time getting students to present their work and see this as part of the work not an extra.
I can now use the body as a basis for three dimensional work
This is a safe space to experiment.

About pat thomson

Pat Thomson is Professor of Education in the School of Education, The University of Nottingham, UK
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