I’m currently reading a book that reveals the findings from a two-year research study into those who ‘hack the city’ – i.e. trespass without causing harm to anyone or anything. I have been reminded of an exploratory project I undertook with an international cohort of researchers at CHI 2014. We experimented in ways to reveal the hidden urban infrastructure and to enable citizens to recode their normalised routines in city space through creatively exploiting the system’s fractures. We called this ‘surprising the system’.
To transgress and take risks, to creatively circumvent rules and expectations, and to probe disciplinary boundaries are at the heart of what goes on in Central Saint Martins’ teaching spaces, such as workshops, seminars and libraries.
In 2015, at its annual learning and teaching event, the University of the Arts London is opening up for discussion the subject of risk-taking and innovation in teaching. This has the potential to be our best annual teaching and learning event to date. No doubt a question the organisers asked themselves – including the fab Siobhan Clay from CLTAD – was whether the very academics who are taking their students and themselves on rich pedagogic adventures, thereby purposefully eschewing imposed regimentation, would be willing to surrender themselves to the institutional system through participation in the day. The perceived risk to the community of teaching innovators may be seen as too great, for participation in the conference could potentially result in a bearing-down on the individual by the authorities. Will they, like those who ‘hack the city’ or who might ‘surprise the system’, choose to carry on regardless, and remain hidden?
The date for submission to present at the event closed this week, and so Siobhan and her team will already know the answer. However, I imagine that those risk-takers among us who may yet wish to share their experiences and thinking, could find ways to do so nearer the time.
I would encourage colleagues to attend the conference as delegates, if not as presenters, because the topic is too important, intriguing and knotty to stay away – and last year’s event was well worth attending.
UAL Learning and Teaching Day 2015 http://cltad-web.arts.ac.uk/latd/2015/
Architectural Configuration Movement http://digitalpresent.myblog.arts.ac.uk/2014/05/07/architecture-configuration-movement-surprising-the-system/
Siobhan Clay article about Commonplace http://digitalpresent.myblog.arts.ac.uk/2014/02/26/commonplace-student-survival-guide/