Conferences

Concepts, Claims and Conditions. Transversality as taking a stance
Nora Sternfeld, art educator and curator, documenta Professor at Kunsthochschule Kassel

From a hegemony-theoretical perspective, the function of cultural institutions lies both in the maintenance of the dominant hegemony as well as in questioning and challenging it. If we want to assume the existence of socially-relevant institutions after the crisis of representation, then we have to decide towards which side it should tend. Referring to Chantal Mouffe’s theory of hegemony, I want to argue for radical-democratic institutions: According to the “agonistic approach”, Mouffe writes that its “critical dimension consists in making visible what the dominant consensus tends to obscure and obliterate in giving a voice to all those who are silenced within the framework of the existing hegemony.” From this perspective we could understand both critical curating and education in exhibitions as organic intellectual practices and it would not make any sense to differentiate them. But as we all know, these two rather young professions in the exhibition field are different in terms of tasks and structural logics. The lecture will therefore address the organic intellectual potential and the structural reality of mediation in order to imagine possible transversalities inside the institution. Mediation will be reflected a) between continuity and a new beginning, b) between services and criticality, c) between professionalisation and amateurisation and d) between a pedagogisation of politics and a re-politicisation of pedagogy. On the way, we will encounter new imaginations and precarious conditions, concepts and demands of mediators in the 21st century.

That which cannot be exhibited
Vito Gil-Delgado, one of the heads of Education Programmes, CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo (Móstoles, Madrid)

We will speak of the relationships between the curatorship and education in the practical case of the CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo. Of how we at the education department work with curatorial discourses, and how we handle the invisibility that comes with not being in an exhibition-related department. We will also cover the tensions this dialogue produces, as well as the achievements, and we will pose questions which we may think of during the seminar. This may help us to observe what we are doing and why within a museum, and to generate small displacements which make us work with audiences in a more honest way. 

Pace of change
Leanne Turvey, Convenor Schools and Teachers Program, Learning Department. Tate Modern (London)

Taking our team ‘Commitments’ as a frame my presentation will share changes and interventions, we made to make our offer and our work reflect the identities, interests, concerns and passions of the young people we open our doors to every day.

These changes have been made in tandem with changes and shifts in the wider institution, and alongside the challenging contexts of the devaluation of taught art in the curriculum, the marketisation of education, cuts in the public sector and the rise of right-wing discourse post the Brexit Referendum.

I hope to share some of the complexities at play in a large institution when you try to make change, where we have had traction, and where we have learnt, where there have been problems and where we are still to learn.

Museums / community economies / healthy ecosystems: challenges and strengths of the ecologies of cultural institutions
Javier Rodrigo. Coordinator of Transductores: a mediation, culture and research platform

Museums and art centres are responding to cultural policies in relation to territories and ecosystems. Many of these policies were, in numerous cases, the result of developmental, neo-liberal strategic urban planning, or marked by management policies with the idea of being flagships, or sites for attracting tourists. This presentation is intended to review museum policies from the perspective of community economies, of cultural degression with the aim of designing a different political ecology for museums. The challenge in the face of today’s political and environmental crisis is that of reformulating new cultural policies for museums that are sustainable with regard to social and territorial ecosystems. The questions we want to share are: 

How do museums engage in active listening and allow the themes and knowledge of the territories to  pervade them ?

What are the challenges of thinking of the museum as a node within a cultural and social ecosystem in cities, and experiencing different economies (feminist, de-growth or inter-cooperative economies)?

What is the model of city and museum with which we wish to face the crisis ’21 and the rupture of the social contract of representative democracy? How can we make the museum go further, as a democratic institution, breaking beyond the economy of tourism and the creative industries?

Allowing oneself to be affected. Tension and learning in mediation processes
Leire San Martin. Head of Mediation. Tabakalera. International Centre of Contemporary Culture (San Sebastián)

In this presentation, the fundamental basis will be two mediation projects we worked on over recent years. On the one hand, “Harrotu ileak”, a space we activated in 2016 which has been visited by many young people who live in Donostia. With them, different learning processes have been activated which circulate in several directions, affecting us on an institutional but also on a personal level, and they teach us to look at our city from a broader prism. On the other hand, “Archiveras del humo”, a process in which former cigar makers from the tobacco factory and present-day workers from the cultural centre meet up periodically, amongst other things to activate a community file and think collectively about what we understand by memory and history. We propose an interpretation of the work based on practice, in order to reflect on the possibilities and problems that arise in collective spaces like these, which are never devoid of conflict and tension.

Connection and commitment to the social environment. The experience of the Museu del Ter (Manlleu)
Carles García Hermosilla. Museu del Ter Director (Manlleu, Barcelona)

In this session, we will talk of how, at the Ter Museum, we work with the objective of building networks with different groups and entities, promoting participation, accessibility, and the representation of different social groups. We will centre on two experiences from different areas. Firstly, we shall be speaking of the workshops “Desvetllem la memòria” (Let’s unveil memory) for collecting and documenting historic photography using participative processes, which the museum has been organising since 2006. In the field of education, a priority area in our museum, we will speak of the participation in the programme “Magnet. Alianzas para el éxito educativo” (Magnet. Alliances for educational success), promoted by the Fundació Jaume Bofill, materialising in our case in the form of an alliance with the Institut del Ter de Manlleu secondary school which has turned one of the centre’s classrooms into a museum.

The variable geometry of the detour: education and curatorship (of citizens) in dramatic times
Mônica Hoff. Artist, curator and researcher

How to consider the relationships between education and curatorship in these dramatic times we are experiencing on the other side of the ocean? How to avoid falling into the aesthetics of misfortune or the politics of salvation when all around us starts to go up in flames? How to move beyond simulated experiences, falsifications of situations, the logic of models, programmatic captures and paralysing institutional gases when what the situation calls for is precisely for us to defend what we believed to be the object of our criticism? Taking the current political panorama of Brazil as a starting point, in her conference Mônica Hoff will reflect on the displacement and rallying points, that is to say the detours, that can be constructed on the basis of the relationship between education and curatorship.