tate summer school – expectations

This year’s Tate Summer School begins today. It is to be curated by Barby Ansante and Teresa Cisneros. Barby is an artist and Teresa a curator.

All participants have been sent a welcome letter about the programme. This year’s Summer School has a title Digging up the past: The politics of the archive. So there is something here about things being buried and needing to be unearthed – in order perhaps to intervene in the/an archive.

We have been told that Barby and Teresa have a

shared interest in interrogating the known order of art and artistic practice, and ideas of subjectivity and the archive as a site for artistic intervention,

and that the Summer School

will explore questions of how stories are told through contemporary art. The focus will be on the interventions artists make to tell stories that are not part of the cultural understanding of what is considered art.

We have been sent quite specific information about the purpose of the programme:

Five questions will underpin the activities of the workshop:

How can you rewrite a dominant narrative through art making?
How can we place ourselves and others at the centre of collective thinking / making / sharing / learning?
How does the personal and political inform the making of art?
How can the places we’re from or the places we live stimulate and inspire our making?
Can we reflect on, redefine and remix the archive?

During the week long course, the invitation will be to explore some of the galleries and collections in Tate Modern and Tate Britain through making and questioning. You will investigate the possibility of archive and collective action by exploring a variety of art practices, curatorial engagements and creating a personal archival tool box.

Now, this is not the first Summer School to explore the question of the archive. It was very much in focus during Summer School 2012, where activities were around live art – not only what it is and its history, but also the vexed question of how live art is recorded and preserved. But the archive also appeared in 2013 a couple of times:

Research Photos Summer School 2013. Larry Achiampong, making personal music archives.

I am expecting that we might consider a range of questions such as:

• What is archived? What is included and excluded? Who is included and excluded?
• Who decides? Why are decisions made in this way?
• In whose interests does this archiving work?
• How might it be otherwise?

• How is material recorded? How is it inscribed/transcribed/translated/re-written/interpreted?
• What is included and excluded through these practices?

• How is material in the archive preserved? In what media? What does this do to the material?

• What kinds of representations and narratives are produced through archiving practices?

• What steers are given to those who will use the archive? What support do they need in order to ‘read’ it?

• How is the archive stored? Where? Why?

• How can counter archives be made? Who will do this? When? Why? How? Where?

Well, these are my expectations. I haven’t got out my Derrida (Archive Fever) and re-read it, but maybe I won’t have to. Let’s see how many of these things are covered/challenged/bent out of shape and what surprises are in store.

About pat thomson

Pat Thomson is Professor of Education in the School of Education, The University of Nottingham, UK
This entry was posted in archive, Tate Summer School and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to tate summer school – expectations

  1. Pingback: Summer Schools, GIFs and Life Drawing | Jenny Connected

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