The debates around education are shifting. In Europe, questions of coordinated systems with comparable outcomes seem to dominate the concerned discussion around the forthcoming "Bologna" accord. While much critical opposition focuses on the loss of local traditions and fears of global homogenization -- both sets of responses serve only to fetishize knowledge within a commodity economy of education.
In actuality numerous non-aligned initiatives are converging around "education", recognizing that it is equally a platform for cultural actualisation and self organization. Within self organised educational forums that range from free academies, to exhibitions as educational modes to ad-hoc initiatives within social, political and economic organisations, it is becoming clear that beyond knowledge transfer, education is one of our most important tools for the transformation of subjects towards a participatory mode. Equally many initiatives to articulate contemporary subjects and forge new methods, to see education as itself a creative cultural practice, are taking place within established and recognised institutions of higher learning. While these two efforts might be perceived as separate due to their institutional and structural status, they share a desire to reclaim education for present needs.
The crisis in education offers us potential modes of critical engagement: drawing on activist practices and processes of participation which circulate in the wider culture, it allows us to claim the power to shape and define the terms of the debate. It is clear from the many exhibition, art practice and research projects which have recently converged on the notion of 'education', that there is much potential for seeing it as far more than the transmission of knowledge within dedicated institutions.
SUMMIT is a proposal to change the terms of the debate away from a purely bureaucratic engagement with quantitative and administrative demands and from the ongoing tendency to privatize knowledge as socalled "intellectual property". Instead of concerns with its purely organisational dimensions we would hope to steer it towards some of the important questions faced by our cultures today.
KNOWLEDGE AND MIGRANCY:
How does migration affect canonised knowledge? Can we conceive of a non-linear projection of learning? Whom do notions of fluidity and precarity serve? How do emergent subjectivities, produced out of current mobilities, produce newly situate knowledges?
SELF-ORGANIZATION, -AUTHORIZATION, -VALORIZATION:
What are the gestures of "un"-organizing education? If to define was to own, where do we encounter emergent possibilities of mutuality and collaboration within education? How can we envision new configurations of multiple ownership of knowledge? Is self-organization a mode of education beyond the patterns of identification?
The model of education has become central to a range of creative artistic practices and to a renewed interest in radical pedagogy. As a mode of thinking an alternative to the immense dominance of art as commodity and display as spectacle, education as a creative practice that involves process, experimentation, fallibility and potentiality by definition, offers a non-conflictual model for a rethinking of the cultural field.
EDUCATION, UNREALIZED AND ONGOING:
There are principles within learning and teaching that extend far beyond the years spent within the institutions of education. What models are emerging for an understanding of both an expanded duration of education as well as for our need to redefine what needs to be know within a contemporary civic landscape?
We call on all those interested and engaged in the debates around education to come forth and unalign.
SUMMIT offers the following formats:
- A public program with "keynote-lectures" by prominent thinkers, "curated conversations" between actors in the field, and 'history lessons' which locate previous moments of radical aspirations or transformations in the field.
- Working groups, caucuses and concept labs: A series of meetings and sessions on burning questions of education
- Open space: Forum for initiating proposals, highlighting practices and making theory urgent
- Collaborative drafting of a declaration
May 24 to 28, 2007
Hebbel Am Ufer (HAU 1), Stresemannstr. 29, 10963 Berlin unitednationsplaza, Platz der Vereinten Nationen 14a, 10249 Berlin bootlab, Tucholskystrasse 6, 10117 Berlin
Kodwo Eshun, Susanne Lang, Irit Rogoff, Florian Schneider, Nicolas Siepen, Nora Sternfeld