Education As Experiment Day 3: Rebecca Hartley and Kate Wiggs / James Ellison

Rebecca and Kate propose workshops that will teach Post First World War International Relations Theory (this was when the field started in America) in a prohibition-themed party (because of the link with early theory and America).

At the entrance to the room, students of IR will be asked to dress up in 1920s attire from the fancy dress box and partner one of our dancers. The dancers will know authentic dances of the 20s – such as the Waltz and the Lindy Hop – and whist partnered will talk about the current international state of affairs.

James Ellison

“We are living through a long anti-1960’s, the various anti-capitalist experiments in communal living and collective existence that defined that extraordinary decade, seem to us either quaintly passé, laughably unrealistic or dangerously misguided. Having grown up and cast off such seemingly childish ways we now think we know better than to try and bring heaven crashing down to earth and construct concrete utopias. To that extent despite our occasional and transient enthusiasms we are all political realists. Indeed most of us are passive nihilists and cynics.” Simon Cricthley, 2009

The passé nature of the 50 year old experiments in communal living and non-hierarchical education, of the counter-culture movement, is being radically challenged. If there is any hope in bringing about social change, these ideas and forms should be developed further. It is not enough to question and critique the way in which our society is organised, we must dive deeper into or criticisms, and bring back these radical environments for learning and growth. Beginning with the utopian ideals of the past, particularly ones accompanying the commune movement, we have a starting point for a physical re-imagination of the site of pedagogical practice. With the recent explosions of high profile communal living, non-hierarchical organisation and anti-capitalist sentiment, around the occupy movement, these forms have been given a new life. The presence of the aesthetic language of the counter-culture within the 21st century urban landscape is a cause for celebration. And as this visual language is being constantly repeated, the only hope is it will continue to grow.

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