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Mike Watson

Joan of Art: Towards a Free Education

June 2012 - April 2013

The project Joan of Art: Towards a Free Education aims at providing a 'free' education both in the sense of a liberating learning experience and at no cost for tuition. The project will be delivered online and within a network of art institutions. In its first year the project is hosted at Nomas Foundation and is in a research phase. This has involved setting up a committee of artists, academics and activists from Italy and abroad and initiating a series of workshops (so far in China as part of a wider research trip and in Carrara) which investigate the nature of education within the arts.

A conference, workshop and committee meeting event will be held in April 2013 across venues in Rome.

Hypothesis: Freedom in an unfree society can only be feigned. Such a feigning is by definition an artistic act. In a post-political age art bears a social responsibility.

Joan of Art: Towards a Conceptual Militancy is currently being written by Mike Watson (PhD in Philosophy, Goldsmiths College, MA Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy) for UK publisher ZerO Books (Mark Fisher, Nina Power, et al.). The book proposes that we evade the unfreedom of the societal whole by establishing a network of social initiatives delivered from galleries and art institutions.

The aim of the project Joan of Art: Towards a Free Education is to deliver a free education system, starting from the very basis of what education is: the sharing of information. In the first stages the very notion of education will be explored so that a new system can be delivered which recognises the value of sharing knowledge between peers and across disciplines. Finally a free accredited system will be set up in such a way that it can be delivered from anywhere in the world, growing and changing organically as it disperses via accessible communication platforms.

An initial research period will bring together artists, academics, activists, lawyers and a range of professionals working across diverse disciplines in order to examine the very roots of our education system. By retaining some areas of the system we have all grown with, and changing others, new technologies will be employed in order to deliver a mode of learning which equips the user with the ability to ask relevant questions.

The passing of the political age suggests that politics was not the only way of managing the world. By setting up an education system as 'art' we seek new possibilities that are as yet unimagined.