2019

The Alternative Art School Weekender was a creative project inviting you to come along and be part of a growing network of people who are self-organising to reconsider the shape of academic art education and questioning how these shifts in ethics and practice might challenge the art establishment. Hosted by The Other MA (TOMA*).

A “playground” was created where you could be both student and teacher; where debates happen over pot luck meals and visions of the future are shared. An exhibition, performance night, screenings, critical theory, alternative food making, group walks, talks on art and activism and collaborative workshops formed the free public program. 

/// Below is a detailed list of the happenings over the weekender \

Contributing schools and collectives included: Alt MFA, School of The Damned, art&critique, Islington Mill, MilesKmPACTO, DIY Space Print Collective, Reading Room and Shades of Noir.

*TOMA is an artist-run alternative art education model set up in 2015 run in partnership with Metal Southend and based in Southend-on-Sea, Essex.

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** OPENING EVENT ** OPENING EVENT ** OPENING EVENT **
Friday 22 March : 6pm – 10pm

Friday: Private View and Performances

11am - 3pm: Collaborative Installation workshop (Lolly Adams, TOMA).
Calling members of the alternative art schools or whoever is interested! Let's make a metaphorical playground! The collaborative installation will be made up of supports, connections and floppy objects which aims to reflect the different material states all participants have been within their educational journeys. This will be teamed with a large-scale photocopy collage displaying fragments of the contributing art schools archive - acting as a visual conversation. You are invited to bring along materials that you are happy to contribute to the installation, we will also begin the workshop with a scavenging walk around the area around 11am. We will use our knowledge and our intuition of colour harmony, composition, balance and co-operation to attempt to create a dynamic playground apparatus-like installation. Please bring food to share, music provided and requests welcome. @lollyadams

6pm-10pm: The Bolster Playground private view
Artworks by artists from the art schools and our wider community.

Performances from: Lolly Adams, Fionnuala Kennedy, Emmet Ward, Milky Genes, Selwen Elwen + Celeste, Nathania Hartley, Vicky Hayward, Allan Struthers and more to be announced. The night will be filmed by http://automaton.productions/

Bar provided by Ugly Duck.

6pm-7pm: Indie whisky tasting (Zoe Toolan)
Whisky from Independent Bottlers is a lesser known alternative to the well known, traditional big brands, and often costs a fraction of the price. [Sound familiar!?] Over time, these bottlers have forged a solid reputation on their ability to do what the big brands often can't: experiment. By taking risks and often encompassing ideas seemingly unrelated to whisky/their specific area of study, they create weird and wonderful tastes interesting people from many walks of life while furthering their core cause and remaining fresh, relevant and vital. Through a sensory indie whisky tasting using ‘the spirit’ of these whiskies as a starting point, I'd like to begin a discussion with questions such as: what risks does alt. art education take? Can alt art education happen individually or only through a group? Is alt art ed more about community than education? How does alt art education find ways to engage non-artists? Does it even need to? What’s a person do if they can't even afford that “fraction of the price” (that price being money, time, etc)? How can alt art education include new areas? And can it already be found in unexpected places?...to me, it can always be found at a whisky tasting.

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Saturday 23 March : 11am – 10pm

Saturday: Printmaking, The Art School Summit and Film Night.

All day: The Reading Room Open Library
Reading Room is a portable bookcase and reference library on wheels, with an emphasis on small press. We have a cumulative and shifting collection of artist publications, zines, essays, books, poetry, and one-off printed matter, as well as site- or event- specific shelves. We have no permanent home and the form and content of Reading Room provides a space for meeting, learning, and the exploration of the library. Reading Room is concerned with the function, aesthetic and user culture of library collections in the age of digital information, and their development in an austerity-stricken future.

12pm - 3pm: Extinction Rebellion talk and printmaking workshop (Clare Farrell and Miles Glyn, XR)
Extinction Rebellion (sometimes shortened as XR) is an international social movement that aims to drive radical change, through non violent resistance, in order to avert climate breakdown, halt biodiversity loss and minimise the risk of human extinction and ecological collapse. Clare will be giving a talk and Miles will be printmaking pre-made XR lino onto flags and garments, please bring your own garments to print onto.

12pm- 4pm: How To Start Your Own Art School zine workshop (ART&CRITIQUE)
A collaborative DIY workshop to collect ideas on how to start an alternative art school in a handy, informative and entertaining guide made by its participants.
Help us put together a guide on How To Start Your Own Art School! Come along to the workshop with your tips, ideas, stories, anecdotes, advice and full-blown manifestos! We will use all kinds of techniques, including collage, drawing, calligraphy and cut up poetry to produce A6 zine (105mm x 148mm). Materials and tools will be provided but you are welcome to bring your own. The workshop will be a space to chill out, make something beautiful and exchange ideas. If you can't come along to the workshop you can send your readymade page beforehand to info@artandcritique.uk.

12pm - 2pm: DIY Space For London Print Collective workshop
“DIY Space For London is a cooperatively-run social centre located in South London, just off Old Kent Road. We offer low cost creative facilities, meeting rooms and social space as well as space for screenings, talks and performances. We run on a members’ club model so that everyone has equal say in how the place is run. The space works to promote the ideas of mutual aid (helping each other) and cooperation (working together). Providing a welcoming space for everyone, including those whose voices and contributions are not always heard or appreciated, is a top priority for us.” @dsflprintcollective

12pm - 2pm: Lino Print Club (Reanna Keer-Keer and Deena Maher, DIY Space for London Print Collective)
Collaborative linocut zines. Participants carve an image of their choosing using a single line, which they then print on to 8 page a3 zines that are passed around the group to complete. Opportunities for experimentation with ink and colour play. The emphasis is on collaboration and creative chaos.

12pm-1.30pm: Photomontage workshop (Fiona Bennett, TOMA)
Using Fiona’s personal and found imagery come and create a series of photomontages that respond to the architectural space, visual content and your own creative impulses.

1pm-ongoing: The Gilgamesh Light Installation (performance installation by Jason Evers, associate artist at Open School East)
“I’m a Visual & Storytelling Outsider artist in essence & self taught since the current work of creating started anew in 2013. The last time I studied art was at the age of 12 I guess. My work covers issues of loneliness, isolation & mental health. I see myself as an craftsman artist & a storyteller & I see it as a healing process to share our stories. My story is a blend of history, ancient Sumerian civilisations, old myths (Pinocchio) & new myths (Pine Boy) & the amazing worlds of puppets & sea creatures!

1pm- 2pm: Writing as practice/ Writing in practice (Ellen Sims, SOTD)
This discussion and short activities explore the purposes, forms and genres of writing about and as part of art practice, and attitudes to writing. Why write? What writing is produced as part of/for your practice? How do you approach it? What new forms might this take? What writing/text/spoken word is produced to document the shared activities of your school/collective/collaboration?

1pm- 2.15pm Get Lost Walk Anna B. Sexton TOMA
Where and how exactly do you place yourself in any given place, in these moments or at any given time? What do you add into a space by your being and doing? What could be taken away?
And when was the last time you allowed yourself to be slower, temper your movements to let in the non verbal signals and see where the signs lead you to go next?
Set in the heart of the once untouchable district of Southwark, the now uber trendy and radically transformed Bermondsey has secrets to reveal to you that will resonate with where you are at now, if you listen in for more than a passing moment. More a walking meditation, sketching out something new with our feet and through the co-created conversations. A perfect way to drop into a quieter space pre Hamja’s talk.

2:30pm - 3.30pm: Hamja Ahsan – Shy Radicals Talk
Hamja Ahsan will be in conversation with Nick Brown (AltMFA) about his book 'shy radicals'. Copies will be available for sale as well. SHY RADICALS is a counter-cultural and political movement representing the rights of shy, quiet, autistic spectrum and introverted people based on the notion of Black Pride and power movement.

3.30pm - 4.30pm: A Lecture in Reverse (Elle Reynolds PhD student researching alternative education models)
A Lecture in Reverse, which includes the ubiquitous Powerpoint, along with props and feedback cards that expose my approaches to researching institutional boundaries, borders and the edges of the alternative art school.

3.30pm - 5.30pm: Shape Your City (Rhiannon Hunter)
Shape your city in collage in this fun taster workshop where you get to be the architect, designer and dreamer. Using a variety of pre-cut shapes, papers and imagery of the local vicinity you will re-imagine surfaces and explore visually deconstructing this slice of London to form new urban inspired 2D collage. In this workshop you will be introduced to the process of interpreting the physical surface of the city through exploring shape, manual image manipulation and collage.
The workshop is intended for adults and children accompanied by responsible adult, suitable for all abilities. All materials are provided. Rhiannon Hunter is a London based visual artist who explores urban form through street murals, sculpture and collage.

3.30pm - 4.30pm: CELLFIES - The Final Destination (Performance by Dean Stalham, Open School East associate artist). CELLFIES s a full length award winning play utilising original and authentic stories from young people with homeless issues - and original stories from long term prisoners. The play is the fourth piece of a four year theatre project. A series of plays set within an original prison cell. This final piece follows on from DEBARRED (Royal Court), BARRED (Strangeways Prison) CELLFIES (Gulbenkian) and now
'Most authentic piece of prison drama ever - shows the true complexities of life inside' Amina - Head of Education - HMP Manchester [Strangeways]

4.30pm - 6pm: Alternative Art School Summit (lead by Sadie Edginton (AltMFA) members from many self-organised and independent art schools: AltMFA, The other MA (TOMA), The Syllabus, PACTO, MilesKM, Islington Mill Art Academy, Sandwich Collective, DIY Space for London Print Collective , School of the Damned, Evening Class, Open School East , Self-taught, Afterhours, Art and Critique

6pm - 7.30pm: Birkbeck ‘Critical Creative Writing’ students lead a reading group
Performative readings from Birkbeck creative critical writing students around the themes of the weekender; support, collectivity and institutional critique.

6pm-7pm: Indie whisky tasting (Zoe Toolan)
Whisky from Independent Bottlers is a lesser known alternative to the well known, traditional big brands, and often costs a fraction of the price. [Sound familiar!?] Over time, these bottlers have forged a solid reputation on their ability to do what the big brands often can't: experiment. By taking risks and often encompassing ideas seemingly unrelated to whisky/their specific area of study, they create weird and wonderful tastes interesting people from many walks of life while furthering their core cause and remaining fresh, relevant and vital. Through a sensory indie whisky tasting using ‘the spirit’ of these whiskies as a starting point, I'd like to begin a discussion with questions such as: what risks does alt. art education take? Can alt art education happen individually or only through a group? Is alt art ed more about community than education? How does alt art education find ways to engage non-artists? Does it even need to? What’s a person do if they can't even afford that “fraction of the price” (that price being money, time, etc)? How can alt art education include new areas? And can it already be found in unexpected places?...to me, it can always be found at a whisky tasting.

7.30- 8.30pm: Hornsey School of Art film screening (Jamie Wagg)
A film about the occupation and the setting up of alternative education at Hornsey entitled ‘Our Live Experiment is Worth more than Three Thousand Text Books’. 

8.30pm-10pm: Artist Film Screenings (assembled by Phoebe Cunningham, SOTD)
A collection of short films from artists across the schools, bring popcorn!

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Sunday 24 March : 11am – 5pm

Sunday: Workshops and The Dystopian Pub Quiz.

11am-1pm: Sonic Awareness (Selwen Elwen)
Using principles of sonic awareness, this workshop aims to show the difference between passively receiving sound and actively listening to it. It will ask how we locate our body within environmental sound and how we can intuitively measure the space we are hearing when we aren’t listening.

11am- 12pm: Crochet workshop (Katie Papas)
I crochet granny squares, make modern embroidery and work with polymer clay. You can see my work @katie.createsy on Instagram.

12pm- 1.30pm: Mapping Narratives writing and movement workshop (Katharina Joy Book, SOTD)
A workshop about alternative, nonlinear ways of making + working with narratives (+ narration). Looking closely at how different artists build a storyline - the tools, tricks, and what they do with our thinking. Starting with mapping methods like: repetition, self-reference, exposition, lying, diverging, playing with sound, changing perspective… in text(s). we could do some writing exercises ourselves, and then see how we can apply the narrative structures to working with sound/movement/props: working solo /groups. The aim is to figure out how to generate and process knowledge in ways outside of conventions of storytelling.

1pm-2.30pm: Talking Difference (Angie Illman & Rayvenn Shaleigha D’Clark, Shades of Noir)
Workshop involving Shades of Noir’s Terms of Reference Journals in the discussion of ‘Difference’. With reflections from workshop participants about their creative/ academic upbringing, and their relationship to the ‘institution’, we will begin the discussion of the different ways creative practitioners can manifest the narrative of difference within their artwork/writing. (Participants will need their own drawing tools and A3 paper)

2.30pm-4pm: Radical Pedagogy Reading Group #1 (ART&CRITIQUE)
Fuelled by economic crisis, austerity and the liberalisation of higher education, alternative art education has burgeoned into a full-blown movement in the last decade. But what is alternative art education? Who is it for and what is it alternative to? Please join us for the first meeting of the Radical Pedagogy Reading Group, for more details and to download the texts please visit https://artandcritique.uk/radical-pedagogy/.

2pm-4pm: B.O.A.T (Miki Holloway, Set Space)
This artwork invites participants to join a group dialogue without any pre-planned agenda. Inspired by critical pedagogy, we apply a non-instructional context to the session. This allows us to focus on the experience of being in a group - in an open exploration of the meaning of dialogue and participation. This is the 12th B.O.A.T – past sessions have resulted in inventing games, doing group therapy, role play, a séance and more. The session lasts for 2 hours, or as long as the participants want. B.O.A.T is documented by artist Rachel Sale who illustrates her interpretation of what happens.
http://mikiholloway.com/work/b.o.a.t.html

3pm- 4.30pm: Dystopian Pub Quiz (Emma Edmondson and Emma Mills, TOMA)
The dystopian and contemporary art world collide as the two Emmas from TOMA host a dystopian themed pub quiz.Get your team together to win prizes galore for answering questions on literature, music, art, general knowledge and everything in between.

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