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.
The Jan van Eyck Academie and the Rijksakademie alternate monthly in hosting a public dialogue between its artists-in-residence under the heading of Ac/kademie. The 4th edition focusses on Art as Social Practice. With: Homing (Charlaine Reval & Laura O’Neill), Ratu R. Saraswati, Bert Scholten, Aimée Zito Lema, Elisa van Joolen and moderator Elke Uitentuis.
Ac/kademie #4: Art as Social Practice focusses on recent projects by Rijksakademie residents and alumni that came about in collaboration with the Rijksakademie workshop for social practice. The workshop encourages collaborative practice and enables artists to build stronger connections and dialogue in the Rijksakademie’s local context, Amsterdam East, and beyond.
The programme will be opened by Elke Uitentuis, workshop specialist Social Practice (Rijksakademie) with an introduction into the Social Practice workshop. Afterwards, Homing (Charlaine Reval & Laura O'Neill), Ratu R. Saraswati, Bert Scholten, Aimée Zito Lema and Elisa van Joolen present their recent projects developed in conjunction with the Social Practice workshop, some of which were realised in collaboration with art space Framer Framed. This will be followed by a panel conversation moderated by Elke Uitentuis.
Homing is an arts and educational collective, between behavioural psychologist Charlaine Reval and Rijksakademie alumnus Laura O’Neill (RA 17/18). Their ongoing investigations and projects focus on collaborations with local and global communities, where the relationship between nature/human/technology is key.
Rijksakademie resident Ratu Saraswati (RA 20/22) examines the nature of human aggression and reparation. In her practice, she attempts to find an equilibrium by actively sensing and anticipating within the frame of performativity. In the process, she investigates collective resolutions to heal psychological wounds through attunement with other living beings in the landscape she inhabits. While inviting the interpersonal values of art, she thoroughly observes the archive of the everyday by unfolding the intersection of personal experience and collective narratives amid today’s increasing intolerance.
Rijksakademie alumnus Bert Scholten (RA 18/19) is often called a contemporary troubadour. In his work he resorts to a tradition in which songs were a means of spreading stories. Scholtens songs, with titles as ‘De Paardenmishandelaar’ (The Horse Abuser), ‘De Gefrustreerde Metropolitaan’ (The Frustrated Metropolitan) or ‘Mina Koes’, find their origin in old folk stories or local news items, often from the Northern Netherlands. Scholten investigates these stories and traces the different versions that often exist. In his performances he carries out the lyrics with instrumental accompaniment.
Elke Uitentuis (JVE 13/14) is a visual artist, human rights activist and mother. From 2005 until 2013 she was part of the artist duo Osterholt/Uitentuis. In 2013 Uitentuis became involved with the ‘We Are Here’ refugee collective. Together they set up a school for refugees and several art projects. Currently she is part of ‘We Sell Reality’, a collective consisting of undocumented and documented artists. The team develops products and presentations providing insight into the lives of undocumented refugees. The collective has exhibited at Amsterdam Museum, Framer Framed and Kunsthal. In 2021 she joined the Rijksakademie as workshop specialist for its newly established Workshop Social Practice.
Rijksakademie alumnus Aimée Zito Lema (RA 15/16) is a visual artist engaging in her practice with questions around social memory and the body as an agent of resistance, making uses of photography, sculptural installations, performance and moving image.
Elisa van Joolen’s (JVE 19/20) approach to clothing design is characterised by strategies of intervention and reconfiguration. Elisa’s projects often reflect specific social contexts and emphasise collaboration and participation. They expose relational aspects of clothing and subvert processes of value production. In addition to running her own studio she is co-founder of Warehouse, a place for clothes in context in Amsterdam.
Ac/kademie is a series of artist-lead conversations amongst the residents of the Jan van Eyck Academie and the Rijksakademie, two post-academies in the Netherlands. This series is organised in collaboration with the Saastamoinen Foundation and the Academy of Fine Arts, Uniarts, Finland.
The Jan van Eyck Academie and the Rijksakademie alternate monthly in hosting a public dialogue between its artists-in-residence. In each session the artists will be given agency to shape their conversations in ways that best express their artistic languages in relation to one-another. Through their first-person account the talks will provide valuable insights into their practices and working processes and will also be an opportunity to hear their thoughts on wider questions regarding art practice, the process of forming one’s own artistic language, among other topics. One after another, this series of conversation will amount to a unique overview of a wide range of practitioners from diverse socio-cultural and disciplinary backgrounds. And will also allow for an informal setting for peer-to-peer exchange and community building, extending outwards through the online platforms to engage with the art students based in Finland, and with many other publics around the world.
As institutions with a long history of hosting and nurturing the artistic development of practitioners in pivotal moments of their career, the Jan van Eyck Academie, the Rijksakademie, the Saastamoinen Foundation and the Academy of Fine Arts, Uniarts, once again place the emphasis on and give agency to artistic practice.
The role of the Social Practice Workshop Specialist is supported by the BankGiro Loterij Fonds, which is part of the DOEN Foundation.