e-flux Conversations has been closed to new contributions and will remain online as an archive. Check out our new platform for short-form writing, e-flux Notes.

e-flux conversations

Is it possible that free, self-organized art schools will one day replace traditional art education?

If not, what function do self-organized art schools serve?


This is Carolina. I work for Node Center for Curatorial Studies-Berlin. We are actually an independent, self-financed organization interested in developing new cooperative strategies in art education. With that aim, we have just launched our new Curatorial Program 2015-Innovators Grant, which will bring together six risky thinkers/makers willing to expand the use of art and curation. With the idea of looking out from an art perspective, we will explore through the Program how art can enrich and provide practical uses to education.

The Program is for free and we will grant each resident with 900€. If you are interested in the topic, please, check it out: http://www.nodecenter.org/curatorial-program/ :slight_smile:


In a discussion at Cooper-Union regarding “the pedagogical turn”, several years ago, folks were stumped regarding just how the bureaucratic tasks of a radical institution could be transformative for the real bodies sorting out details-- details that were not inflammatory acts of resistance nor the revitalizing parsing and remixing of critical theories. People break and quit after a certain threshold of unpaid self-organization; so school after school rises, falls, composts, and others rise in their stead because the sustained labor is untenable. Self-organized art schools could replace the traditional school and flourish if one could locate the perverts who pleasure in unpaid bureaucracy.


Rather now, with the universalising of the MAFA and the expansion of the art PhD the trouble of troubles becomes the desire for qualification: it is genreally this desire that sustains the hegemony of bureaucracies over practices, and how to break this is an undealtwith set of questions and gestures, that might occur within and without institutions. More hedge schools would be a good thing, some kind of resistance to qualification another,

Agreed, but unfortunately even those perversions wane.

It’s far easier to maintain the long-term continuity of an org that resists de-organization (family, a steady-paying job, a school where students are owed something for their tuition, etc). Beyond the basic perversions, momentum or necessity have to be robust enough to keep a project going. Unbound to personal livelihood, self-organized projects are easily abandoned. Case in point, all of the defunct programs on http://teachablefile.org/.

Durability is also lacking because most of us come to these ‘alternatives’ having held many many temporary roles in schools (as passing consumers/students/participants/lecturers), and when conflicts arise, we find little reason to interrupt personal growth in favor of the collective.


Flora Ars + Natura in Bogotá Colombia is a case in point for Latin America. I know that their expectations include hosting a school that is free and has a similar profile to the Whitney Program in NYC. Herewith José Roca explaining their philosophy in this Kickstarter campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/523694309/flora-community-library
The question, however, is will these programs give a candidate legitimacy in the long run if the program burns out or transforms into something else. In the meantime, you have other almost free “loopholes” in art education that I discuss at length in such examples as Sciences Po Experimentation in Arts and Politics in an upcoming feature on Art + Education, with a program like SPEAP you have a bigwig political University name but a small entity inside (not exactly traditional) that could gain a lot of momentum pretty soon if all goes well with their financing campaign.

1 Like