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Expanding Academy and “practice based learning” in the Arts

Expanding Academy and “practice based learning” in the Arts
Evening debat
by Sepake Angiama, Nico Dockx, Daniel Blanga Gubbay, Johan Pas, Gabriëlle Schleijpen, Judith Wielander“Do we still need academies as we know them today?”
(Sarat Maharaj) 

‘Expanding Academy’ — initiated upon invitation of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp by artist Nico Dockx and curator Judith Wielander — is a new, complementary program of art education and practice-based research in the arts that could inject the institution with different attitudes of activism and render visible cultural imaginations of our contemporary world. 

The current crisis of education is interconnected with the larger, self-reproducing, socio-economic and political crisis that we are facing everywhere in the world, which also means a crisis of our imagination. ‘Expanding Academy’ wants to focus on collaborative practices and artistic experiences that build communities, raise social understandings, and encourage new forms of solidarity which could improve our living conditions. A micro-scale program in the arts with an experimental and flexible profile that focuses on pluri-versal and transdisciplinary research methods, collective learning and new modalities of exchange based on reciprocity and self-organization. We strongly believe that both the skeleton as well as the different organs of this program should consist of a challenging mix of (maybe even contradicting) artistic practices that prepare us for an ecological, sustainable and socially just future.

During this debate evening at ARTICULATE, we reflect — together with Sepake Angiama (artistic director of the iniva institute for international visual arts which is home to the Stuart Hall Library), Daniel Blanga Gubbay (artistic co-director of the Kunstenfestivaldesarts), Gabriëlle Schleijpen (artistic director of the Dutch Art Institute in Arnhem) — on this notion of an ‘Expanding Academy’. The conversation is moderated by Johan Pas (dean of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp).