OPEN CALL (DRAFT from July 2014)

New Terms Open Call.


After almost a year of working together as a group, we decided to open out again to the wider ‘education’ community by organising a public event, hosted by the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), in November 2014. (The event will coincide with the New Contemporaries exhibition -including fine art graduates from all around the UK- taking place at the ICA’s main galleries, from November until January).

Our group has consisted of different people at different times, from students, artists, educators (primary, secondary, higher and alternative education), curators, art therapists, researchers, as well as people involved with direct action groups, community organising and activism.

We first got together after a meeting titled ‘New Terms: Radical Education Workshops’, organised by three ICA student forum members who wanted to do something that attended to the growing frustrations they and their friends were having regarding the state of the education system today. This first meeting involved group-based collaborative investigations of themes like the effects of monetisation of education and fees increases, on arts education but also by extension the effects of the latter on the way we produce and curate ‘contemporary’ art. But also questions like the value of experimenting for experiment’s sake, the possibilities of being ‘radical’ within institutional settings (and/or outside), and the value of working with groups and already established collectives/ communities.


That first event was very successful both with regards to numbers and enthusiasm, but also with regards to people’s desire to commit and come again. We have thus been meeting once a month ever since, utilising the gallery’s studio as a space for debate, production of discourse, films, and lots of notes, but also most often, just simply as a space for us to meet, share our thoughts, roles, positions, tasks and desires.

Within the process of trying to define ourselves as a group, we have tried to transverse the different paths of action (engagement with experience and history), research (soundness of thought and the growth of knowledge) and participation (life in society and democracy): by meeting other groups, being part of different collectives, attending public events together, sharing experiences, but also attempting to make a video (on the importance of skills-based learning), write a manifesto, read and share references, and research case studies (like legendary Hornsey College of Art’s sit-in (1969) and its resonances today). All bound with an insistence on trying to position ourselves within the current transitions in education systems. We have discussed in depth about everyday translations of practices of neoliberalism within learning situations, different standardisation techniques, fees, loans and systemic dependencies, but also and more specifically to arts education, themes like the role of theory, research, information technology, art history, collectivity, autonomy, precarity, all bound with our insistence to position ourselves within the micro and macro-political circumstances of our situation.

For more information on what we have been up to please visit our blog here:


We want to open up some initial results of our on-going research for public debate. But we also hope this public event will allow us to further expand our relations and potential collaborations with those committed to working transversally across public institutions, social movements and artistic strategies. But also to allow for new curiosities to come in through members of the public who are not necessarily invested in education or the arts but still feel the need to voice their opinion.

We are now thus inviting groups and individuals to take part.

How do you think we should use this time and space in the most useful way for you?

What do YOU think is useful for YOU?


So far we thought of a series of one-hour thematic collective investigations running throughout the day, where people can walk in and out.

  1. Where does education happen?  

There is an increasing demand for the location, time and resources which enable us to teach ourselves about the kind of resistant pedagogies possible. Where we can come together, talk and organise. This workshop is about the relationship between self-organised groups and institutions, and the kind of alternative spaces available for grass roots and community organising. How have these spaces changed over time in the face of commodification of education, growth of the creative industries and culture funding cuts?

What impacts do these institutions have regionally and on local communities? what happens to community organisers turned facilitators for a museum or gallery? can we imagine a pedagogic space that imagines a dialogue between art and organising?

2. Where does art happen? When is art? 

Craft based workshop that aims to practically engage with ideas of how we perceive, experience and value art through a participatory process of making an ‘exceptional work of contemporary art’. The workshop will investigate ideas like ‘general public’, ‘public taste’, ‘aesthetic/ political autonomy’ and the ‘contemporary’.

3. Where is democracy?

Children learn to enact democracy by sitting down to a family meal, night after night after night. The collective table is a means of survival, a form of vulnerable existence, and an instantiation of community. The Crinkle Cutter Project performatively stages a participatory experience – food preparation, eating, and conversing – to investigate how shared culinary encounters can create alternative (radical?) spaces for affective education.

4. Who is outside?

Who is an outsider? What is deviance?

Participatory workshop informed by ideas of radical therapy groups, self-education, emancipatory pedagogies, Theatre of the Oppressed, Red Therapy, art and drama therapy.

5. What is subsumption?

A theoretical discussion on the current state of institutional critique and the relationship between autonomous art and culture industry today, by looking into the ways art gets subsumed into university discourse, i.e the curatorial/educational turn in the arts.

6. The Human Library.

The ‘Human Library’ project investigates the impact of information technology on arts education. How can the archive become a space for debates about the struggles of the present? (Open throughout the day for people to pop in at any time).

7. Where is the sound of ‘radical’ education?

Sound-based participatory workshop investigating spatiality, mapping, and spaces of resistance through collective listening, analysis and action. Performing the spaces in and outside the gallery.

8. When is the ‘radical’?

Hornsey then and now. Poster presentations of our research on the Horsney affair. (Accompanied by text, books, visuals).

9. Why do you do what you do? 

Closing session with refreshments.

Please note

This project is run by a self-organised group, kindly hosted by the ICA.

For further information/queries please email


One thought on “OPEN CALL (DRAFT from July 2014)


    Human Library

    The concept behind the Human Library is simple and well established: individuals identify themselves with a specific ‘title’ and make themselves available as human ‘books’, in order to be ‘read’ by a member of the public. Volunteer ‘books’ often have something to say which focuses upon experienced discrimination or prejudice. Within those terms, I would estimate that everyone involved with New Terms would make a suitable volunteer! For example Disgruntled Art Teacher might wish to discuss aspects of their work in the classroom. Disgruntled Art Student likewise.

    The environment of a Human Library (usually situated in a quiet, safe and comfortable space) provides the opportunity for scheduled conversations with strangers. It might be that the New Terms group see the implementation of a Human Library as an opportunity to focus upon education-related experiences and opinions. The ‘books’ might be members of the group, or other interested volunteers.

    In order to keep the happening as easy to organise as possible, perhaps just four books could be made available for one hour? Perhaps a couple of learners and a couple of educators? That might make a total of twelve ‘conversations/’book’ readings available for reservation. One can imagine person A reserving Disgruntled Art Student for a conversation:

    DAG: Hi there, my name’s ****. Thanks for coming. I’m here to talk about some of my experiences as an art student, especially as I’m not happy about the way some of my tutors have treated students. Do you have a question for me?
    A: Yes I do! I’m **** by the way. What sort of art do you study?

    And so on and so forth….. Conversations, though started by the ‘book’. may be guided by either party: the ‘book’ or the ‘reader’. Important factors to consider are: there is a specific starting point to the ‘reading’; the atmosphere is relaxed and mutually respectful. My sole experience of a Human Library was informative, memorable and pleasant.

    So, perhaps folk coming to a New Terms event might give up to an hour of their time to sit down as a Human Book and discuss their ideas/experiences with people attending the event? Or know of someone who would like to volunteer as a ‘book’? Attendees would look over a catalogue of offered ‘books’ (usually on a board outside of the ‘library’) and reserve that time slot. For example, one might reserve Anarchic Art Teacher, available at 1.00 pm, 1.20 pm, and 1.40 pm.

    The concept of the Human Library movement is based upon the promotion of positive dialogue which reduces prejudices and promotes tolerance and understanding. ‘Visitors to a Human Library are given the opportunity to speak informally with “people on loan”; this latter group being extremely varied in age, sex and cultural background.’ 1
    Previous groups which have used the Human Library method include CRISIS (the homeless charity), People’s Parlour at WOMAD (World of Music and Dance annual summer festival), Year Here (social innovation focused organisation for postgrads).

    Those who volunteer as Human Books would need to adhere to the timetable of reservations and make themselves at home in the designated space, which should be furnished as comfortably as possible. The suggested timeslot of 20 minutes is not long for an indepth conversation. At the same time, it is a suggested maximum and can be shortened.

    Previous organisers of Human Libraries are able to offer advice and guidance on setting and running an event.

    One important question: would it be useful (or appropriate) to make audio recordings of conversations? Might this prove useful in terms of defining a group identity and offering evidence of the existence of such?




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