neil cummings

June 2010

Chalk & Talk

27 Jun 2010

Critical PracticeAs 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.


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.


21 May 2010

Working SessionPARADE: public modes of assembly and forms of address

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.

See the full programme, or images of the amazing events, and don't miss the legacy publication