CuMMA Discourse Series # 22: Janna Graham – The Anatomy of an ‘And’. Naming Conflicts in Arts Education on the 26th of Nov 2014 6pm

26th of November 2014
18.00–20.00, NODE Space


Arts Education is often conceived of as an ‘and’ in cultural institutions.

Its budgets are smaller, its staff more stretched and its position in the chain of production ‘after’ the main representational moments. However, arts and neoliberal urban and social policy, education has come to play an increasingly important role.

In the UK, this is has occurred in the wake of emancipatory, community artists and educators in the 1970s, who argued for the democratization of culture. A dream only partially fulfilled, today’s proliferation of ‘social’, ‘participatory’ and dialogic art and pedagogical projects are situated within hegemonic processes of production and sit at the table with regressive social agents. Within this, emancipatory educators often play a confusing and dangerous dance, acting at times as the host for re-negotiation of the cultural process from below and para-sites of those who construct culture from above. How do we map and understand the position of the AND its parasitic occupations? How might we understand it in political terms? What do the histories of emancipatory politics and education have to teach us about naming (and acting upon) the conflicts in which we are situated? These questions will be posed against the backdrop of tensions and conflicts experienced in five years of the creation of the Centre for Possible Studies, an off-site project of Serpentine Gallery, in which artists, educators and activists, generated studies of the possible in relation to urban inequalities in London’s Edgware Road neighborhood.

Janna Graham
Originally trained as a Geographer, Janna Graham has initiated and collaborated on a number of pedagogical, artistic and research projects in and outside of the arts. She is currently Projects Curator at the Serpentine Gallery, where she works with others to create The Centre for Possible Studies, an artistic residency, research space and popular education programme in the Edgware Road neighbourhood of London where artists and local people develop ‘studies of the possible’ in response to social inequalities of urban space. Graham is also member of the 12 person international sound and political collective Ultra-red.

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