Srajana Kaikini (ISCP 2019) on the Prospect of an Interwoven Arts Pedagogy
Srajana Kaikini was the 2019 International Studio & Curatorial Program recipient. After a successful residency in New York she is now working at Krea University, Sricity, Andhra Pradesh as an assistant professor of philosophy.
In this week’s post she contemplates the possibilities of an evolving education system.
Everyone, an artist
On the prospect of an interwoven arts pedagogy
In the past decade, discourse in curatorial practice has seen several turns, the educational turn being a prominent one. While arts practices and curatorial practices interweave implicitly, intersections between curation and education is new on the horizon. From a pedagogical perspective, it has traditionally been art theory which upheld the task of reflecting theoretically upon the arts. While the artists taught aspiring artists in fine arts programs, art critics taught budding critics in art criticism programs. This epoch has been eventually augmented by curatorial figures, who, with an active orientation towards artists and their practice, have been trying to bring practice and theory, concepts and materials in conversation with each other. The eternal subject - object rift that was implicit in engagements confined to only art making or art theorising could be bridged, when curatorial practice took the educational turn. Today, we are witnessing a curatorial turn in education and learning, where there is a new scholarship and reflection on applying curatorial methodology to teaching practices.
It is an interesting moment for education in the country, where the most significant aspect of higher education pedagogy is no longer focused on mere dissemination of information, something that is now in surplus to anyone with access to information. Instead, what is vital to teaching practice today, is the ability to empower, enable and equip learners to engage with all information and stimulus that comes their way and to be able to create independent thinkers, artists and poets across disciplines.
The interwoven philosophy of education at Krea University has presented before me an exciting prospect, to teach in a manner exemplary of such a curatorial intention, one that is focused on learning as a personal yet collective process and one that can imagine the creation of new concepts, languages, things and experiences as an integral part of the learning process. It seems rather untruthful to imagine us to be born to merely end up in one particular profession, job, career or designation. If we are to unpack truly what we are, how we have come to be in this world and what quality of life we must claim as rightfully ours, it seems absurd that we so easily take up identities, categories, job titles and professions like permanent skins. In fact, it runs contrary to the idea of growth which requires constant shedding, rethinking, detouring and reorienting, just like the way climbers and creepers and even the most robust of trees bend gently around compound walls or even better, break through them and continue to grow.
An education in the liberal arts and sciences, promises a liberation firstly, of ourselves from the cocooned life of schooling into the world as independent thinking citizens, and secondly as selves who are learning as much about themselves as they are about the world, eventually striving to be good cohabitants of the world, ones who are able to discern and make ethically sound choices for this world. Philosophy along with the sciences, the arts, the social sciences and the humanities form a nourishing interweave of intentions, that when entangled and woven in the right manner, can form a strong hammock that can enable one to see the skies, nap a little and breathe in a topsy turvy world. Everyone, an artist.