DIY Art School

Went to the DIYAS opening last night. Interesting project and a good launch. They say:

“DIY Art School is a peer led, user-generated learning experience behaving as a fourth year for the graduating class of 2012. ‘Part research- part social experiment and art club’, we aim to support our graduates as creative independents formalising their own agendas and wider networks. Homed at the Lionel Dobie Project, DIYAS will be alive for one academic year only creating a space to promote collaborative behaviour and cross pollination among the participants”

“We welcome 2012 graduates across any discipline and from any University. DIYAS’ THINK reading group extends its hand to anyone curious who wishes to participate…”

I’m not a graduate yet, but it was good to participate in the reading group led by Bob Gaunt. We discussed an extract from Art Monthly issue 320, Oct 2008 which is an interview between curator/researcher Seth Siegelaub and artist/teacher Pavel Buchler (MMU).

Areas touched upon:

Is art a ‘vocation/calling’ or has it now become a ‘profession’?

Pavel Buchler makes an interesting comment: you can say perhaps “that the art world is the last remaining unregulated sector of capitalist enterprise. It is really the most ruthless business, there is no OffArt where you complain when you buy a rogue work of art, when you were misled by the title. Nobody defends the customer’s rights. Nobody regulates the prices. You could say that it is the  least professionalised zone of activity…the idea that the freedom of the artist stands for and tests the freedom of the wider society.”

But Seth Siegelaub counters: “….I don’t recognise that freedom….most artists are now coming from educational environments, whereas in my generation they were species of dropout of hippy. They wanted to make art because they wanted to do it…”.

The group talked about their individual experiences of being at Art School. There seemed to be no consensus on the pros and cons of current art school practice. People expressed a mix of responses from feeling the benefits to feeling the limitations of being within a university context.

I felt there could be a lot more teasing out of the pros and cons. Rather than either/or, good/bad. It is a complex issue and no doubt an ongoing debate both for existing undergrads and post-grads. There was a sense of excitement at the possibility of DIYAS meeting needs of recent graduates in terms of dialogue, cross-pollination (C.pol being a tenet of the Lionel Dobie Project of which DIYAS is a part of) and contexts free of the pressures of course assessment criteria.

We discussed group crits – do we sometimes just ‘wing it’, act out the presentation somehow? i.e. do we conform to perceived assessment expectations to the detriment of more authentic presentations? Is there a ‘game’ to be played?

After the reading group Stephanie Graham led a participatory practice session as a taster to longer full sessions later in the year. We were asked to write associative words to the word ‘run’. We then compared the similarities and differences in our lists. The outcome showed that there was very little overlap of identical words – most, if not all of us had pretty well unique lists of words. This shows how much variation there can be in response to a simple single word. It would be interesting to do the exercise with more complex words such as ‘education’, ‘professional’, ‘art-school’ etc. And then to use that as a basis for discussion.

The DIYAS open day closed with a ‘Speed Mating’ exercise led by Taneesha Ahmed. An exercise exploring the notion of ‘social networking’.

Speed Mating at DIYAS

After DIYAS opening was the launch of the Lionel Dobie Project space. Events included:

– Art&CraftBeer –
Our in-house brewers, under the stairs, have made an exclusive pale ale hopped with an L, a D and a P; available for one-night-only, the LDPale. ACB aim to produce an ongoing series of hand-crafted beers curated by their master brewer in collaboration with LDP residents and projects.

– Conway & Young –
Conway and Young are LDP’s second curators-in-residence exploring the term, curator, based on its original latin meaning to “take care” with consideration of design and education in relation to this. They will initiate a participatory work that will result in editioned objects; participants will be asked to take care of them for the duration of the project. 

by Mike Chavez-Dawson
Departure @ 10am
Arrival @ 4pm
A six-hour performance by our first curator-in-residence, Mike Chavez-Dawson, featuring LDP PMs, Helen Collett and Lois Macdonald. Mike will carry a gilded frame by hand and on foot to a number of LDP associate galleries and project spaces based in and around the city, receiving a story through speech and a word through writing from each. 
– Sponsored by Fentimans –

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