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April 3, 2015

School Watch reports from Chicago and Paris: Critical Mass at SAIC and Reassembling Art Pedagogy at SPEAP

Art & Education
Pablo Helguera, Addams-Dewey Gymnasium. Part of the exhibition A Proximity of Consciousness at SAIC; Photo: Jean-Michel Frodon at Sciences Po Experimentation in Arts and Politics; Daily physical practice as part of theoretical research; Workshop at painting studio at Ateliergebäude; Creative Writing workshop with Birgit Kempker.*

Critical Mass at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Jason Foumberg with an intro by Andrew Cappetta
What few art students entering graduate school may realize is that they will not only be tasked with developing the techniques of their practice but also refining how they talk about that practice. (Even the word “practice” itself may be newly meaningful). Despite that goal of language acquisition, student voices risk getting lost amid the volume of influential faculty, institutional strategy, and the conditions of today’s art education industry boom, typically represented by its discontent alumni. But, behind the doors of academia, a new art world is in constant development. My case study is one of the US’s largest private art colleges, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), where over seven hundred graduate students bounce among several unconnected skyscrapers woven through the urban heart of Chicago and the mega-art museum of its namesake. Each semester brings hundreds of courses with alluring titles like Experimental Writing on Art, The Politics of Knitting, and the obscure but no less promising Night Practice. [read more]

 

Reassembling Art Pedagogy: Pragmatism, Inquiry, and Climate Change at SciencesPo Experimentation in Arts and Politics
Jennifer Teets
Bridging the social sciences, politics, and the arts, SciencesPo Experimentation in Arts and Politics (SPEAP) is positioned at the crossroads of the disciplines, as one could define the work of its founding father—French philosopher Bruno Latour. Created in 2010 on behalf of Latour and collaborator Valerie Pihet at SciencesPo Paris, this highly selective multidisciplinary program accepts a circle of about fifteen participants (mostly thirty-something professionals from the social sciences, the arts, and the political milieu) each year out of approximately eighty applications pooled internationally, of which nearly half are French. SPEAP is a little bit of everything—a one-year master’s program, a postdoctoral research hub, an école, a residency workshop, a therapy group, and a think tank. I even once heard Pihet call it an école de parole (talk school), inadvertently nodding to SPEAP’s hosting epicenter and namesake—SciencesPo, an elite social science and higher education training ground for politicians and public figures in Paris. In English, the acronym SPEAP stands for SciencesPo Experimentation in Arts and Politics, while in French it tends to shift to SciencesPo École des Arts Politiques, and like its name, confusion sometimes lies in what kind of program SPEAP technically is—but maybe this titular ambiguity is its crowning glory? [read more]

 

Also on School Watch:

Aoife Rosenmeyer reports from the Master of Fine Arts at the Institut Kunst in Basel.

Kirsty Bell on Frankfurt’s Städelschule.

 

School Watch presents distilled perspectives on degree programs in the arts, with interviews, critical texts and editorial exposés on MFAs, Masters, Doctorates and certificate programs in fine arts, art history, curatorial, cultural and film studies, and other related areas of specialty.

 

*Students perform in Pablo Helguera’s Addams-Dewey Gymnasium as part of the exhibition A Proximity of Consciousness at SAIC; Photo: Jean-Michel Frodon at Sciences Po Experimentation in Arts and Politics; Daily physical practice as part of theoretical research. Photo: Jean-Michel Frodon at Sciences Po Experimentation in Arts and Politics; Workshop at painting studio at Ateliergebäude. © Institut Kunst HGK FHNW; Creative Writing workshop with Birgit Kempker. © HGK FHNW.

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