Pedagogy: Part 1

This post is a tale with a very long backstory that stretches back as far as time can see. It is a love letter to a City, both of which are nowhere near finished and hopefully never will be. It is in this spirit of incompleteness and potential that I am sharing this blog – a moment to stop and take stock of some shared thinking and doing in relation to In Between Time's We Are Bristol engagement programme.

Copyright Muneera Pilgrim, Gaia Rosenberg Colorni and Frances Bossom


A little context:

In April 2020 I began a series of online meetings with poet Muneera Pilgrim and evaluator Gaia Rosenberg Colorni. Our dialogue is centred around Muneera’s upcoming residency 'The Joy Project' which will take the form of an ESOL class (English for Speakers of Other Languages) and involve women from Easton. This residency is the final act in a three year programme funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation under the title We Are Bristol (WAB). In Between Time initiated WAB in partnership with Ambition Lawrence Weston and Up Our Street (UoS). 'The Joy Project' doesn't mark the end of In Between Time's committment to these communities but is an opportunity draw on the lessons learnt from previous years and co-create a critical framework for the future. Muneera’s residency is being developed with Eastside Community Trust (previously UoS). My role is to act as Critical Friend, to support Muneera and In Between Time in reflecting and questioning how they are working with audiences, artists, community partners, funders and other stakeholders.

Copyright Muneera Pilgrim, Gaia Rosenberg Colorni and Frances Bossom


Beginning a Reading Group:

Six or seven months ago Muneera drew up a set of questions in relation to her impending residency. Her desire to carefully consider her role and how we imagine ourselves as a city led us to form a regular Reading Group. We agreed to discuss Pedagogy of the Oppressed’ by Paulo Freire; and bell hook’s ‘Teaching to Transgress, Education as the Practice of Freedomin the hope that these revolutionary educators might help begin to unpick Muneera's questions.

Copyright Muneera Pilgrim, Gaia Rosenberg Colorni and Frances Bossom


An embodied, online dialogue:

Covid 19 has directly impacted on our experience of dialoguing by forcing us online. To date we have met nine times, never in person but via Zoom. Meeting regularly over an extended period of time has left each if us with an uncanny familiarity and sense that we have met in person. Muneera in her home in Downend, Gaia in her mum's farmhouse in Portugal and me in my family home in Brislington. Three women; collapsing distance, time, personal and public space. This intimacy is slowly enabling us to make a bespoke, tailor made pedagogy that is mutually woven from our very different histories, personal experience and embodied knowledge. During this time the dining room table that I share with family has become my studio and my classroom. This is the reality from which I am contributing to a pedagogy formed of ideas around; resistance, care, race, gender, class, migration and feminism.

Copyright Muneera Pilgrim, Gaia Rosenberg Colorni and Frances Bossom


Defining What Matters:

At this stage we don't know if Muneera will be able to meet collaborators in person or if she will be meeting people online. Virtual space has been liberating for me but it can also exclude those without reliable digital access and upends how we maintain and share educator-student relationships that are built on trust, openness and an embodied presence. In order to navigate this Muneera is creating parcels or packages that will be delivered to her collaborators at the beginning of the project, Each parcel will contain a variety of means of researching, capturing and communicating joy from the perspective of each recipients' own home and community. Just as Muneera, Gaia and I wove a generative and bespoke curriculum for our Reading Group out of what matters to us, Muneera will be opening up a dialogue about what matters to women in Easton.

Copyright Muneera Pilgrim, Gaia Rosenberg Colorni and Frances Bossom


Reflective Process - Fledgling Manifesto:

Muneera's practical, radical and loving approach to pedagogy begins with a commitment to being somewhere and very simply asking people to define their reality and make art that emerges out of what matters to them. The Joy Project will be a space to carefully consider how we amplify and hold different forms of knowledge and open ended dialogue.

Copyright Muneera Pilgrim, Gaia Rosenberg Colorni and Frances Bossom


As part of my ongoing reflection with Muneera and Gaia I am deeply re-listening to over 10 hours of our recorded meetings. I am selecting and painting a series texts in watercolour on A5 paper, some of which are verbatim quotes , whilst others interpret or paraphrase themes we have explored. I have only just started listening to the recordings of our discussions of bell hook's book. When I post part 2 of this blog I will have expanded this collection of texts with more of her influence. This growing collection serves as a fledgling pedagogy or activist manifesto for developing dialogue and co-creation between communities and arts institutions. We need to tell the story about how our thinking has evolved and clearly articulate how critical pedagogy and live art practices can transform how cultural institutions transfer power and decision making.

Copyright Muneera Pilgrim, Gaia Rosenberg Colorni and Frances Bossom


As well as adding more text paintings in part 2 I will talk more about the themes and ideas we have explored together.


For now my paintings are up on the panelling in my dining room; each day they prompt new conversations with my boys aged 7 and 9 years about love, feminism, migration and finding out what matters.


The conversation keep moving. It is a truly engaged and joyful pedagogy.


Thank you Muneera and Gaia.



Copyright Muneera Pilgrim, Gaia Rosenberg Colorni and Frances Bossom



We've also been thinking about:


Petrešin-Bachelez, N. (2017) On Slow Institutions. In: O'Neill, P., Steeds, L. and Wilson, M. eds. (2017) How Institutions Think: Between Contemporary Art and Curatorial Discourse. London: The Mit Press. Pp 38 – 49. (also available fromhttps://www.e-flux.com/journal/85/155520/for-slow-institutions/)


Lynch, B. (2001) If the Museum is the Gateway, who is the Gatekeeper? engage journal [online].,11 (Winter). Available from: https://engage.org/journals/engage-11/ [Accessed 20 January 2020]


The Act of Killing (Documentary film) 2012

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2375605/

Director Joshua Oppenheimer


Lourde, A. (1984) The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House. Penguin Classics [online], Available from: https://b-ok.cc/book/5053813/b3fc63] [Accessed 7 July 2020]


Abdul-Rehman Malik http://conference.otheringandbelonging.org/abdulrehman-malik


Rankine, C. (2020) Just Us: An American Conversation. https://www.newstatesman.com/culture/books/2020/10/claudia-rankine-and-construction-whiteness


St Pauls Riots, Operation Discovery

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1980_St_Pauls_riot


White Pube https://www.thewhitepube.co.uk/


Rankine, C. (2020) Just Us: An American Conversation. https://www.newstatesman.com/culture/books/2020/10/claudia-rankine-and-construction-whiteness


hooks, b. (1984) From Margin to Center. South End Press [oline], Available from: https://b-ok.cc/book/2468661/fde6e0 [Accessed 10 November 2020)


Cargo http://cargomovement.org/teamcreative.html


Brown, A. (2019) Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good. AK Classics [online], Available from: https://b-ok.cc/book/3700152/f391b4 [Accessed 10 November 2020]


Rocks (film) 2019, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9067182/

Director: Sarah Gavon

The Nap Ministries https://thenapministry.wordpress.com/about/


Black Power Naps

https://blackpowernaps.black/



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