By Dr Alexandra Ross
The CCA was recently host to the live screening of the stimulating Creative Time Summit 2015. The Creative Time Summit has been an annual affair since 2009 and brings together thinkers and practitioners from around the globe to critically dive into a particular theme, with the core lens of investigation being art practice and discourse. The Creative Time Summit sits at the nexus of art and politics. Last year saw the remote streaming take place from Stockholm looking at extreme xenophobia and nationalism. This year the event took place in Venice, within the locale of the 2015 edition of the Venice Biennale. On invitation from the biennial’s curator Okwui Enwezor’s, the summit was embedded within the exhibition, All the World’s Futures.
For those of you who were unable to attend the live screening, keep your eyes peeled for Creative Time uploading the footage from this year’s summit. In the meantime, you can peruse the archive of footage from the previous editions here. From last year’s summit in Stockholm I would recommend watching the artist and President of the Republic of Albania, Edi Rama’s keynote presentation. The footage of the 2015 summit from Venice will be online shortly, but for now, you can access a small selection of footage here. A rousing and truly inspirational presentation was delivered by 18-year-old activist and cover of TIME magazine, Joshua Wong.
The theme of this year’s Summit was Curriculum, and five key areas of exploration were identified in the Summit: ‘A Curriculum’s Contents’; ‘Educational Institution as Form’; ‘The Geography of Learning’; ‘The Art of Pedagogy’; and ‘Knowledge as Collective Experience’. Also, it was highlighted by the outgoing Director of Creative Time, Anne Pasternak, that the premise of the Summit is ‘artists asking difficult questions’. In his welcome address, Okwui Enwezor noted that the exhibition as form and space, can be ‘a thinking machine’ and a ‘stage for anticipatory practices’.
Some of the key questions considered included: what decisions go into crafting curriculum?; what is missing from contemporary curricula and narratives that are obscured by hegemonic power?; and what are the practical and pedagogic implications of artist-initiated educational institutions?
Another highlight of this year’s Summit, was artist Mariam Ghani in conversation with her father, the President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, containing the rapport and candid questions only a daughter could ask such a busy and powerful person. He stated that ‘we need to look at the curriculum and its delivery in order to provided mechanisms of participation’. In particular, he noted that repetition in the learning process is not understanding, and it takes unbelievable care to establish common ground between the interlocutors in the education process.
There was also attention drawn to some astonishing projects taking place across the globe where artists are working in vitally innovative and practical ways in relation to developing forms and strategies for education to take place, both formal and informal, often working in spaces of extreme censorship and fear for personal safety. A selection I would draw your attention to would be:
Beatrice Catanzaro of “Slow food nablus” in Jerusalem
The Creative Time website is a great resource and a pioneering organisation mobilising discussion and connectivity around art and its invested practitioners.