Parcours Art.School.Differences

By Art.School.Differences co-researchers and guests
The Parcours Art.School.Differences presented reflections, findings, analysis, inquiries, questions, and work in progress by the Art.School.Differences co-research teams and guests in a brief format to facilitate involvement and exchange. Core to the Parcours was engaging deeply and personally with anti-discriminatory considerations, practices, and methods around art schools and higher art education.

How to Survive in the Swiss Art School Jungle?
The daily micro-practices of discrimination of international students at art schools
by Coko Nuts Collective (represented by Daniel Zea & Andrea Nucamendi)

Inspired by several activist artists and collectives, as well as other art projects, the Coko Nuts collective uses real-life testimonies and a lot of humour to address inequities within art institutions and society in general. Coko Nuts questions, what are successful strategies by non-European students to deal with inequities encountered at their schools? How can these strategies be depicted in art projects? And how can a more equitable treatment of non-European students lead to a more successful internationalisation of Swiss art schools? They present a series of video interviews with foreign students who have faced exclusion, in one way or another, during their student life in Geneva’s Art Schools (HEAD – Genève & HEM Genève – Neuchâtel) in order to provide some answers and raise new questions.

Are You Good Enough?
The notion of good design and its role in design education
by Sarah Owens

This installation allows the viewer to stroll through the field of graphic design in search of those who are considered ‘good designers’. Along the way, the viewer encounters statements, images, and descriptions that aim to grasp and define who or how such a designer should be. The intent of the installation is for attendees to find themselves with more questions than answers. Who determines what good design is? Do good designers always produce good design? Is it true that good designers don’t read? And what is meant by the term ‘good’? A further step involves bringing into play the viewer’s notions and placing questions of education at centre including: at what point is the good designer introduced and established in design education? Are changes possible?
(For further reflection see ARE YOU GOOD ENOUGH? THE NOTION OF «GOOD DESIGN»)
Where in the World Do They Teach That?
– A Reflective Exercise on a Way to Create Global Connections in a New Curriculum

Reflections on decolonising the curricula at art schools
by Nana Adusei-Poku & NIC Kay

Curricula are scripts which create hierarchies of knowledge that decide what is culturally important and what can be left out as particular and specific knowledge. Although the desire for ‘diversity’ is a common denominator in contemporary art education and institutional practices, the question remains whether these practices and desires are continuities of a form of whitewashing artists and creative practices of colour, or if these attempts are interested in creating space for knowledge production that allows an understanding of our shared colonial histories, global aesthetic, philosophical, and sonic movements. This performative parcours is therefore an exercise identifying a web of interconnectivity while journeying through a decolonised pedagogy.
Le solfège, un langage universel?
How solfège ‘makes differences’ in the access to higher music education
by Micha Seidenberg & Victor Cordero-Charles

Sous le terme « solfège » se regroupent une série de compétences acquises par un_e musician_ne lui permettant, d’une part, de chanter un texte musical, en reproduisant correctement les hauteurs et les rythmes, et d’autre part, de réécrire une partition à partir de l’écoute d’un fragment donné. Fortement ancré dans la tradition française, le solfège représente une discipline éliminatoire dans le processus d’admission aux hautes écoles de musique suisses et françaises. Cela signifie donc un fort potentiel d’inclusion et d’exclusion. En effet, d’autres traditions pédagogiques ont développé des approches différentes du solfège qui demandent parfois des capacités cognitives dont l’échelle de perception est bien plus fine que celle de la tradition régionale et occidentale. Etant donnée que ces écoles suisses et françaises souhaitent intégrer des étudiant_e_s de provenance internationale et donc aux connaissances bien différentes de celles construites par l’école de solfège occidentale, un conflit d’intérêt émerge. Lors de la présentation cette tension contradictoire est saisie par la discussion de passages d’entretiens avec des étudiant_e_s internationaux_ales.
Double-quoted World
– How Designers with Working-Class Background Deconstruct Universal Categories of Aesthetics –

How aesthetics is situated and proves to be limited to very specific contexts
by Paola De Martin

“Who can afford to ‘improvise’ at these prices?” (James Baldwin)

Designers with working class background are rare exceptions in the highly middle and upper class dominated work field, but they do exist. In interviews about their upward mobility, De Martin asked them how they viewed mobility in relation to taste and style. Interviewees expressed a rupture in their perception of life and emotionally dense moments of irritation. The whole world became, as one designer described it, a “double-quoted” one. Some examples of these ruptures will be presented here and attendees are invited to consider the following questions: is it true that even the most universal categories of aesthetics (i.e. “postmodern irony,” “modernist reductionism,” “trash,” “sophistication,” “authenticity,” “iconoclasm,” etc.) are implicitly related to, and situated within, class adherence? Does this then imply a cost that cannot be afforded by everybody?
(For a publication of further reflections and results see A DOUBLE-QUOTED WORLD)
Mentoring and Practices of Collective Supervision
The dislocation of teaching formats and mentoring
by Romy Rüegger

Insights from our inquiries into mentoring and practices of collective supervision will be presented collectively and guided by the following questions: how has mentoring become such an important teaching format in the field of visual arts? Is it a safe space? Or is it a setting that fosters exclusive knowledge? Does mentoring represent a dialogic intimacy that produces vulnerability? If so, how can these be addressed? And if not, what kinds of authority are favoured? How can mentoring be practiced as a teaching format that acknowledges its embeddedness in a broader social field – thus based on canons and power structures connected to them – despite their personal and intimate tone? How can the practice of mentoring be questioned, researched, negotiated, and changed towards collective forms of artistic knowledge production in order to reveal its situatedness within specific references and modes of speaking?
Vage Vorstellung vom eigenen Audruck in Kunst und Unterricht
The determining and at the simoultaneously fuzzy conception of “the proper and own expression” while teaching arts
by Lorenz Bachofner, Laura Ferrara, Julia Kuster & Nora Schiedt

Welche Vorstellungen vom „eigenen Ausdruck“ haben Lehrpersonen und Verfasser_innen von Lehrplänen des Fachs Bildnerisches Gestalten auf Gymnasialstufe? Inwiefern wirken diese Vorstellungen ausgrenzend? In der Tat ist der „eigene Ausdruck“ ein Schlüsselbegriff in den Lehrplänen auf Gymnasialstufe. Lehrpläne sind Richtlinien für Lernziele und Kompetenzen, an denen sich Lehrer_innen für ihren Unterricht orientieren. Bachofner, Ferrara, Kuster & Schiedt analysieren Bilder, auf welche sie in ihrer täglichen Arbeit als Lehrpersonen für Bildnerisches Gestalten stossen, und werten sie nach dem Kriterium des eigenen Ausdrucks aus. Dabei werden Fragen nach impliziten Wertvorstellungen ergründet und hinterfragt.

Art-Related Feminist Practices
– Artists at Work, from Talk to Action. How to Deviate from Normativities?

Practicing feminist art research and activism
by Maëlle Cornut with Marie-Antoinette Chiarenza

“Sometimes, when I hear a conference and it is mostly interesting, my brain starts to drift off in another room (dreaming or reviewing the list of things done, not done), [and] I’m more or less pissed off because I have not really listened to this fascinating lecture.” – from an article on the brain

Cornut and Chiarenza are re-staging a work situation in a fictional studio. Inspired by the studios of existing artists, the set features materials of significance like books, posters, drawings, and other visuals. If requested by the participants, some of the elements can be put into practice, such as drawing or filming. A fifteen-minute document will be played twice; the first time, it will be played as an audio file and the second time as a video file to enable a multi-layered understanding of a specific topic. Using this approach, Cornut and Chiarenza hope to share their research practices and collectively address questions: what are the references that we are using? How do artists research a specific issue? And what do we bring from the brain to the hands and vice versa?
(For the Zine «Colouring Sheets» resulting from the workshop see ZINE ART RELATED FEMINIST PRACTICES)
Walk or Die
Experiencing the student curriculum at a design school through resistance, assimilation, dissimulation, confrontation and autonomy
by Patricio André, Claire Bonnet, Fabio Fernandez da Cruz & Ivan Gulizia

The acceptance of students with different cultural, ethnic and social backgrounds into art schools is based on the assumption that they will be able to assimilate to the school once admitted. However, in the absence of a common language, it is very difficult for these students to participate fully within the offered programme without incorporating a specific criteria of assessment through teaching techniques. You are asked to engage with the full complexity of the experiences of these students by navigating and questioning institutional structures and power relations from their perspective. Some guiding questions include: what do I do if my chosen artistic references do not meet the school’s priorities or taste? And what if my professor disregards them? What do I do if the dialogue between the school and me affects my work or practice? What tools are available to include students of different cultural and social backgrounds? And how do I criticise structures that remain unquestioned and are the promising fundament for a thriving professional future?
By tackling these questions the attempt is made to bring a specific kind of learning to the fore that validates alterity.