Our final day was spent with Larry Achiampong. Larry is a multimedia artist currently working with sound.Larry began by introducing his practice – some visual and performance work which explored questions of race and racism, and then ongoing sound projects which use a family archive of vinyl records to investigate his Ghanian heritage and Ghana’s history more generally.
Larry had invited us to bring a song with a story, preferably in its original tape or vinyl form, something we were not all able to manage. After his introduction, we all presented our song and story and then worked in groups of three to consider the words that we associated with the storying event. Themes which emerged included: family, emotions, personal, identity, memory, nostalgia,, connections, relationships, exposure, transitions.
This activity was followed by shared lunch in the Meshac Gaba restaurant space.
The afternoon was spent constructing and sharing a personal or group response to the morning’s activities. People were also able to do a small reenactment of the William Pope L crawl performance and experienced how difficult it was, and what the Tate corridor looked like from the ‘bottom up’. After the time spent in group sharing and reflection on the week overall, we rounded off Summer School by attending a curated conversation between Larry and Brian Shimkovitz, talking from LA on a video link about his ethno-musical project Awesome Tapes of Africa.
The extended Summer School team have undertaken to keep in touch with everyone and to send out photographs, records of conversations and activities, the diary room footage and the ongoing results of the research. We are thinking about how to manage some kind of get together later in the year when we can follow up what people have made of the week’s experience.
There was enough time for a group viewing of the contributions that were made in the diary room.
I also asked people to respond via very quick postits to the following:
If learning is moving, and learning with Tate is an invitation to move then
(1) What have you picked up during the week? Where are you taking it? What will you do with it?
(2) How have your feelings moved during the week? From.. through.. to….
(3) What are you puzzling about now?
I currently have these postits in three separate Tate show bags ready to type up.
Another bit/bite of preliminary thinking
My notes record that about a third of the teachers in the group have commented on their lack of time for any kind of creative practice. This is attributed to the nature of the job. All have decided as a result of the week that they need to make some kind of deliberate effort to do “something more creative”, “something just for them”. It seems that for these people, Summer School acted as an interruption, or disruption, to their customary trajectory. It opened up a new line of thinking and doing, which they found pleasurable/desirable/meaningful. They are now left considering how to bridge the gap between their everyday activities and this new line of doing/thinking/being. (I am resisting doing a Deleuzian – molar/flight lines of – analysis on this but it does seem to be a particularly apt way to explain it.)
There is also something to be said about the idea of practice for these teachers – what is it, art and/or teaching, art teaching, artists teaching, artist-teacher… and what is the art here… all of these were discussed and appear variously in participant reflections and my notes. I am thinking about what theories of practice might make most sense to bring to the diversity of responses to this practice question.