There’s No Going Back!

May 23 2019 May 24 2019

A conference on activating strategies for ethical relational change within Fine Art curricula

23 and 24 May 2019
Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam

This conference seeks to address the position of art education regarding the implementation of strategies for ethical relational change through ongoing pedagogical approaches, art practices, and frameworks which strive for radical social justice.

Recent calls to decolonise and democratise the university, such as the Rhodes Must Fall movement at the University of Cape Town, the Why Is My Curriculum White? campaign founded at University College London, and the Let’s Do Diversity: Report of the University of Amsterdam Diversity Commission exposed a clear connection between Western canons in educational curricula and social discrimination. Moreover, as the work of many—including Fatima El-Tayeb, Gloria Wekker, Jack Halberstam, and Nana Adusei-Poku—has shown, when what is considered valid is a privileged Western epistemology that is validated in academic curricula, then what that Western epistemology places “outside” is deemed “other”, secondary, and not-as-good-as.

The consequences of not acknowledging the geopolitical locatedness of knowledge have been made evident. In a moment of escalating right-wing politics, the urgency of implementing pedagogies that free identity politics from the confinements of white-cisgender-heteronormative-classist-patriarchal frameworks is more pressing than ever. Arts education must respond to its wider sociopolitical context in order to move forward, together, and across differences. There’s no going back!

There’s No Going Back! will take place at the Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam and is organised by Mariana Aboim. Attendance is free, but due to limited space booking is required. The full programme, timetable, and booking system will be announced by 1 April 2019 on this page.

Key questions for the conference are:

  • What are the pedagogical approaches that engender inclusive teaching and learning spaces?
  • Who gets to speak when representing bodies addressed as “us” and “we”?
  • How can we rethink the ways we produce cultural representations—individually and collectively?
  • How can we refuse current cultural representations to subvert the hegemonic power that some bodies exercise over others?
  • What can disruption and disorder offer as methods to work for more egalitarian modes of sociality?

Keynote speakers:

  • Prof. Aminata Cairo (The Hague University of Applied Sciences)
  • Prof. Jack Halberstam (Columbia University)

With contributions from:

  • Amy Pickles and Julie Borschat-Thorez
  • Anna Nazo
  • Joy Mariama Smith
  • Dr. Sruti Bala (University of Amsterdam)
  • The Brown Bag Lunch (Willem de Kooning Academy)
  • and performances by the students of the Willem de Kooning Academy.

Call for contributors!

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