As part of Critical Practice I participated in a discussion organised by Department 21 at the Royal College of Art. Six independent, bottom-up educational initiatives shared their experiences of experimenting with different systems of teaching and learning, through radically reassessing accepted modes of knowledge distribution. For the future, we aim to compile a manual of good practice to explore horizontal, transparent educational models within institutions.
Finish, London - Brighton
Peter Maloney is a researcher working on the impact of technology within learning environments. This is an edited text of a conversation from Thursday 3rd June 2010, the full research will be published soon.
Peter Maloney: Neil, I’m interested in the origins of the Chelseawiki, and the benefits of FLOSS software development as a model for creative practice,………… among other things. So, in 2004 students you had been working with started up a wiki, can you say a little about how that came about?
N: Yes, I think it was 2004, it’s all still archived on the Chelseawiki if you need to check! It grew out of two things – a group of undergraduate students began to collaborate together, Ian Drysdale, Tom Neill, Trevor Giles, Daryl Stadlen and Wei Ho Ng, and I gave a series of lectures and seminars – called something like Free Culture. The seminars introduced ideas from Free Libre or Open Source Software [FLOSS], and explored how these might impact on art’s practice and organization.
I contribute to Critical Practice, a cluster of artists, researchers and academics hosted by Chelsea College of Art and Design, a constituent college of the University of the Arts London. We have a longstanding interest in art, public goods, spaces, services and knowledge, and a track record of producing original, participatory events.
Chelsea College of Art and Design has a large contemporary courtyard at its heart: the beautiful Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground. We collaborated with Polish curator Kuba Szreder to develop a programme of events that explore the diverse, contested and vital conceptions of being in public.
In a bespoke, temporary structure designed by award-winning Polish architects Ola Wasilkowska and Michał Piasecki - assembled in public - we produced a landmark event in an amazing location with a host of international contributors.
Parade challenged the lazy, institutionalised model of knowledge transfer - in which amplified 'experts' speak at a passive audience. Our modes of assembly, our forms of address and the knowledge we share are intimately bound.