Unlocking the Learning Organisation
23rd of November
18.00 NODE Space, Hämeentie 135 C, 5th floor

In advance of other European countries, the corporatisation of the British public sector was signalled through the 1990s and into the twenty-first century through linguistic phrases such as ‘change management’ and ‘the learning organisation’. In museums, education departments gradually became re-titled as ‘learning departments’, at times reducing their potential for radical curation to marketing concepts of targetted audiences and paying lip-service to institutional participation. As Angela McRobbie, Angela Dimitrakaki, Andrew Ross and many others have discussed, one effect of change management translates as the feminisation of labour: contracting out maintenance services, short-term or even zero-hours contracts, the normalisation of redundancies – in other words, precarity. Nancy Fraser among others has noted that advances demanded by second wave feminism have been manipulated to enforce neoliberal institutional strategies of behavioural conformity that reinforce precarity and neutralise resistance. Meanwhile, artists and curators are under pressure to do more with less.

Shannon Jackson has argued that by abandoning public institutions we secede a valuable manifestation of the concept of public, without which the privatised knows no bounds. How, then, do radical practitioners work with public institutions? In this context I will discuss ‘unlearning’ in terms of pedagogic projects deliberately developing different relations to public/corporatising institutions, which could be conceived of in terms of smuggling, maintenance / duration, collective anonymity, and counterposing profession and practice.

Felicity Allen
Felicity Allen’s expanded practice weaves in and out of art’s institutions, between artistic, curatorial, educational and critical work. Her work stems from the studio as well as through a dialogic and facilitative practice, crossing between the verbal and the visual. Felicity Allen writes about art, museums and gallery education. She works in higher education, museum and gallery interpretation and education, and social and community education. Motivated by dialogue, mutual learning, and deepening knowledge, she frequently combines participatory, educational practices to produce art or exhibitions.