Now What? Decolonising Histories of Art and Architecture

This is a one-day workshop on the subject of decolonising curricula in the history of art, architecture and design. The workshop will gather 6 international contributors with expertise in the history and theory of art and architecture, and in the contents and pedagogy of decolonised curricula. The overarching aim of the workshop is to develop novel conceptual and methodological lenses that can strengthen teaching and research in art, architecture and design history across the AAD School. The objective is two-fold: (i) to provide critical and conceptual support to the Now What project and (ii) to generate a set of written and visual resources that can inform further research and practice in this area. The workshop is part of the Now What series of events, student-led and researcher-led.

Now What is an open discussion about re-learning design, history, aesthetics and social conventions from a viewpoint that acknowledges multiple voices, backgrounds and forms of practice. Now What looks out towards a future that begins from recognising the social constructs that have allowed unjust systems to remain in place for centuries. 

Now What facilitates discourse on race, diversity and BAME representation, in order to develop teaching and learning tools/frameworks for the decolonization of curricula in the School of Art, Architecture and Design (AAD) and beyond.

Now What is a collective established by Lucia Medina, James Thormod and Ektoras Arkomanis. It is part of a constellation of groups and initiatives in London Metropolitan University: MASS, the student society in the School of Art, Architecture and Design; Decolonising Met Working Group (DLMWG); the Education for Social Justice Framework (ESJ); and Empowering London.

Activities and research questions

The workshop will facilitate knowledge exchange through discussions in round-table format followed by interactive seminar-workshops. The workshop will focus on: 

  • Analysis of the process and parameters involved in decolonizing art and architectural history curricula. Discussion on contentious language and definitions.
  • The role of learners, the employment of dialogical practice and methods in the decolonization of curricula, and the technological tools that can facilitate those.
  • Interpretations of the pedagogic tools, platforms and mediums at the disposal of learners and academics.
  • The balance and relationship between enriching curricula and critiquing flawed institutional practices. 

Contents of the workshop (recorded talks, reading lists, written improvisations and rehearsals, visual material) will be published on Liveness.org.uk, with specific emphasis on methodological findings and pedagogic learning outcomes. The workshop will invite participants to undertake further research using these findings and the curricula they oversee, and encourage them to present and publish their research through CREATURE research centre, the LMU Festival of Learning and Liveness.

 

text reading 'now what' on a white background

Project details

Research team
Ektoras Arkomanis

Project partner
MASS (Metropolitan Architecture Student Society)

Research group
Transcultural Exchanges and Network

Project duration
2021