Common Knowledge and Learning Curves (2018) commissioned by Artspace, Sydney stems from an ongoing interest in the way we teach and learn. The exhibition seeks to break down hierarchies in typical knowledge exchange, exploring radical pedagogy and its tenets including democratic dialogue, lived experience, inquiry learning, solidarity and unlearning.
With a particular focus on the ways in which space informs teaching and learning, the familiar aesthetics of a classroom are utilised in unexpected ways. Props such as chalkboards, uniforms, award ribbons and venetian blinds are deconstructed and employed as architecture to divide the gallery into temporary spaces of varying materiality and functionality. In the spirit of play and experimentation, visitors are invited to use these architectural and sculptural forms. The exhibition becomes a space where ideas and actions can emerge through critical and collective interaction.
Included in the exhibition are enlarged building blocks – a ubiquitous tool designed by the founder of kindergarten Friedrich Fröbel – which here become modular units that can be stacked and reconfigured to suit different activities and also double as seating. This dynamism offers possibilities for visitors to contribute to an ever-changing learning environment for both intimate and group conversations. Another key feature of Common Knowledge and Learning Curves is an experimental library that wraps around the gallery walls with a selection of books and readings that prioritise marginalised voices within education.
The use of temporary architecture creates a playful, mutable setting to host a series of dialogical events throughout the duration of the exhibition. These public events offer an opportunity for deep thinking about pedagogy and the relationship between place and the learning process. Various community members and organisations – including Bigambul Elder Uncle Wes Marne and students from Plunkett Street Primary School – have been invited to lead discussions, host tours and share knowledge as part of the exhibition (more information below), acknowledging lived experience as a highly valued resource. These temporary spaces within the exhibition are also open for use by educators, collectives or students to occupy for conversation, classes or self-directed reading groups.
Keg de Souza’s Sense of Community in Frieze here
Keg de Souza: Common Knowledge and Learning Curves in Art Almanac here
Keg de Souza: Common Knowledge and Learning Curves in Art Guide here
Common Knowledge and Learning Curves was commissioned by Artspace, Sydney and supported by the Australia Council for the Arts.
Thanks to my artist assistant, Eloise Lindeback and editorial assistance, Danielle Lewis.
Also to Plunkett Primary students and staff, Uncle Wes Marne and Dr Remy Low.
Plunkett Street Students’ Tour
When | Monday 6 August / Thursday 9 August
Students from neighbouring Plunkett Street Primary School will lead visitors on a tour of the exhibition and introduce the unique local places that are significant to them.
Deep Listening with Uncle Wes Marne
When | Saturday 14 July, 1pm
Uncle Wes Marne is a 96-year-old Bigambul Elder and descendant of a long line of storytellers with a deep knowledge of Aboriginal culture. This storytelling event invites participants to engage in a deep listening exercise about place, land and Country._
Pedagogical Experiments with Remy Low
During the week beginning 23 July, Dr Remy Low and students from Sydney University’s School of Education and Social Work will facilitate a series of pedagogical experiments that draw on sustained introspection to deepen our awareness of ourselves and our relationships to others.
Letter from the future
Monday 23 July, 4–5pm
A guided visualisation exercise on embodying concerns in the world and becoming the change we seek.
Wednesday 25 July, 4–5pm
A guided mindful eating exercise that touches on social relations, difference and place.
Listening to the worlds of others
Friday 27 July, 4–5pm
A guided exercise in deep listening to the different dimensions of our own lives and those of others.