Education from Below is a two-year collaborative programme organised between the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam, MACBA, Barcelona and WHW, Zagreb.
Education from Below explores art as a place for dialogue, collective learning and imagination. Education doesn't belong only in institutions, but it can be horizontal and come from below, from communities.
The project recognises that art practices can dislocate the usual hierarchies of what should or should not be learned and traditional divisions between theory and practice, and that knowledge does not have to be based on accumulation, but rather on sharing and mutual learning.
The partners will explore new models of art practice based on collective learning and will generate a network of institutions and professionals for sharing methodologies.
Education from Below links three independent programmes for artists, Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, PEI at MACBA, and WHW Akademija that each provide important opportunities for artistic development outside of formal education systems. The project will be realised over the course of autumn 2019 – autumn 2021 through seminars, study groups, artist residencies, exhibitions, series of lectures, an international conference, a collective reader and a common web platform, involving many artists, thinkers and educators.
Many works of art exhibited in museums over the last decade have fallen within certain dystopian parameters, which could be interpreted as a reactionary form of disaster entertainment, produced by cultural institutions. In this talk, Pablo Martínez discusses the limits and unsustainability of the modern cultural paradigm and speculates about the possibilities of an eco-socialist museum.
The debate is based on two fundamental questions: What sort of museum do we want in today’s world? And what sort of world do we want to build from within the museum? The first question invites us to build a museum that is conscious of its own material reality and ecological impact, so that its practices can be defined and modified accordingly. The second question highlights the power of art in forming subjectivities and constructing shared imaginaries that might “change life.”
If fear and hope, as the philosopher Ernst Bloch said, are affective structures that can be considered anticipatory, then Martínez contends that the cultural institution has to support the building of contexts for hope and inspire individuals to imagine a possible future world. Furthermore, in the current crisis—with a pandemic affecting a whole generation and our planet showing ever more signs of exhaustion—hope should be the first feeling we go to, instead of considering it the last thing to lose. We need to spark that hope. So that life can change.
Pablo Martínez is a researcher and educator. His research focuses on educational work with the body and the potential of images for constructing political subjectivity. He has worked as Head of Programming at the MACBA since 2016. Previously, he was Head of Education and Public Activities at CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, Madrid (2009–16) and Associate Professor of Contemporary Art in the Faculty of Fine Arts at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (2011–15). Martínez is on the Editorial Board of L’Internationale Online. He is a founding member of Las Lindes (est. 2009), a research and action group working on education and cultural and artistic practices. He writes about art, pedagogy, critical museology, and visual culture for journals, catalogues, and other publications internationally. He has curated solo exhibitions of Werker Magazine and Adelita Husni-Bey.