Deschooling Classroom (2009-2012)

Self-education in the arts and culture, by TkH and Kontrapunkt (Ana Vujanović, Marta Popivoda, Iskra Geshoska)

The long-term regional project is organised by TkH (Walking Theory) platform from Belgrade in partnership with Kontrapunkt, from Skopje.
Co-authors and editors of the project: Ana Vujanović, Marta Popivoda, Iskra Geshoska.
General manager: Jelena Knezević

Deschooling Classroom is a project that addresses the contemporary independent cultural scenes in the region, researching and offering an alternative to the hierarchical models of education in the art and culture. Methodologically, the project moves away from the concepts of individual authorship and expertise, and advocates open collective educational structures where self-organised communities facilitate horizontal production, exchange and distribution of knowledge.
Its specific objectives are: to raise the awareness of potentialities of self-education, and to develop methodologies for alternative education in contemporary art and culture; to offer studying new and hybrid fields of contemporary culture and art and to help sharing the critical knowledge among art and cultural practitioners; to stimulate collaboration among those who aim to intervene in the existing cultural system; to challenge the conceptual and infra-structural set-up of cultural institutions; and to create new supporting infrastructures for the independent cultural scenes.

The project builds upon international trends of alternative educational culture that appeared in late 20th century in the context of post-Fordist capitalist societies. The wide ranging initiatives try to critically reflect the mainstream education and to find various alternatives, more appropriate to the new social conditions and increased importance of the service industry. Our project is concentrated on independent cultural scenes in the age of transition in the Balkans, where self-organisation and self-education are necessary for the actors to act critically and to be socially relevant and engaged. Its theoretical background is contemporary critical theory, and some of the main references are: Jacques Rancier’s reflections from Ignorant Schoolmaster, Jean-Luc Nancy’s theses on collaboration and belonging, and Ivan Illych’s radical thoughts from Deschooling Society.
In terms of activities, the project is organised in two cycles through which each “generation” will go through the process of collective self-education. Each generation consists of 3-4 working groups gathered around common themes in the abovementioned fields. All the groups have regional character and include 6-8 members from both Belgrade and Skopje.