Dirty Practice Event 2018

Art School Today: Who cares?

Developing a culture of care within a disembodied institution

Short Residency and Symposium

Wolverhampton School of Art

25-29 June 2018.


Fine Art programmes have been increasingly embedded into large HE providers and forced to operate on restricted, generic, fragmented teaching models shaped by managerialism. As result, a division of services prevent students and staff from developing a meaningful relationship to the course and subject. Responding to an intensified economic crisis and academic demands around success, ‘clamorous individualism’ seems to eclipse any consideration for community, the other or one’s own well-being.   Indeed, the ‘academic turn’ in art education since the 1980s (Elkins, 2018, X) correlates with a putative lack and inability to think and talk together: ‘Splitting up of institutions, courses into modules, showing a lack of communication, link, institutional structures that do not allow any identification, nor do they have often a direct personal line for communication for reasons of efficiency’ (Isaacs, 1999).

This ‘high performance culture’ within the current educational system effaces any sense of care or ‘indebtedness’ to the other, yet this seems essential within art education.  As curator Jan Verwoert argues: ‘To practice a politics of dedication and recognise an indebtedness to the other as the condition of your own ability to perform means to acknowledge the importance of care’ (2007, 99).

In this context we define the need and notion of ‘care’ as a value often marginalised in the institutional debate, but essential to the long-term and sustained maintenance of a person, place or object. The verb ‘to care’ implies a level of altruism, a way of being in the institution that is intrinsically different to the ‘clamorous individualism’ and neo-liberal economic agenda. Care then, as has been argued, shows the potential to ‘overrule’ the economic demands (Verwoert 2017,99).

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Network for ArtHistory 



#goingbackhometowhereicamefrom by @mahthussain opened at @newartgallery tonight. Wonderful exhibition, great evening.


It would be great to see former fine art students for food and a catch up at Aftercare 3 on the 13th of June👇 https://t.co/FIl8SBY7TF

Culture is vital to the production of democracy. Public funding enables public space & allows aesthetic, economic, social & poltical values to be contested at all levels. Without it, & without more of it we’re doomed. https://t.co/5rtgVGNqCn

Congratulations. Great project by Isabel Lima and @TateExchange @WhoAreWe_TEX @mimauseful in London

BA & MA students are welcome to join us for end of year celebrations:

• 2017/18 Recap
• Info on new events and trips ✈️
• Artist talk by @HenzWard & Degree Show Crits
• Semester 2 Feedback
• Pot luck lunch
• More info on poster 👇

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