October 13-14, 2017
“Mayak” School for Creative industries, New Holland, St. Petersburg
The study of contemporary artistic education is timely, as alternative modes are signalling a transition between the old academic system and the new demands from artists, which are not necessarily met by formal higher education and its institutional constraints.
Contemporary artistic training is a mixture of influences and subjects, which matches the demands for openness to nurture independent artistic positions that are both aesthetically innovative and socially powerful. It is essential to study how educational experience shapes artists’ trajectories and careers through the critical lens of age, gender, ethnicity, and social class. As there are very few texts that investigate art academies and their relationship with self-organized alternatives, this seminar provided urgent empirical insight and discussion.
The seminar brought together specialists and practitioners in art school education from Berlin, Moscow, and London to highlight the different approaches to the art curriculum at the intersection between traditional academies and self-organized alternatives. Over two days, seminar participants discussed European and Russian experiences in art-education, and the related traditions of specific countries. The seminar was rich in terms of disciplinary approaches: institutional history of European art-academies was followed by practical insights of St. Petersburg based art-schools “What is to be Done School of Engaged Art” and “Paideia”, and then combined with empirical sociological enquires on art-schools of London, Leipzig, and St. Petersburg. The seminar also gave a voice to artists themselves. For instance, a video interview with the internationally recognized Russian painter Ivan Plusch (conducted by Margarita Kuleva) was presented at the seminar. The meeting was concluded by a guided tour of “Mayak” School director Olga Smirnova conducted for the seminar participants.