circle Dear all

In fact what I'm working on is indeed a self-organised seminar on self-organisation. But to be a bit more precise: it's a self-organised 'shared learning format' (a seminar/masterclass/workshop/hackathon), about self-organised learning, or education. As such, it will be a 5 tot 10 day gathering of people engaging in a process of peer-learning and co-creation. Everybody is both teacher and student, and the learning is practice-based and reflective. 

For this, these are aspects that are crucial to me and that I like to focus on. the strands:

Tools: digital tools that enhance, support or inspire (practice-based) learning and/or self-organisation. The introduction, use or creation of these tools brings media-literacy or technological literacy into the group and can serve as a basic platform of sharing knowledge (both by mere exchange/providing/transferring of content, as well as by being a context of co-creation which serves as an indirect way of learning. People with different background creating something together share expertise, insights,...)

Participants are engaging in a self-managed process of learning. This means that the 'learning process' as such is part of the focus or substance of the 'seminar'. So educational formats or principles (rather than technological tools) should be a strand too. 

Self-organisation as a process of collaborative decision making should obviously also be one of the strands. There we should focus on the micro-politics within the group, make use of existing protocols and systems for self-management, as well as try to experiment with new ones.

Last but not least, and not to try to confuse everyone, but still: 'the ritual' will be a central axis too. The ritual is a translation of (or derived from) what otherwise could be called 'art'. This whole project comes out of an approach I'm developing towards the creation of what i would call a post-academic and post-artistic learning context. Basically it comes down to the idea that institutes or educational programs of higher education in the arts could be ideal platforms for critical, radical education, that focus on transition, as long as you accept to break through or open up the given constraints of it, namely the fact that they focus on producing 'artists'. The idea is to have people with an non-artistic background engaged in the specific process of art education which is practice-based and reflective, experimental, creative and potentially radical. I'd call it post-academic since the focus there would be on people who already have gained some education or professional experience, and therefore can bring in their respective backgrounds (ranging from science to humanities, design, technology or art..) This is a potentially powerful group in such a shared learning context.

The ritual then is still hard to define. But it is in my opinion the sole valuable aspect of art which should be inherited in such a group. The ritual can be explained as (that which is not instrumental, which has no clear function), but which puts something out of our daily lives. The purely ritual doesn't exist of course. To every ritual expression there are functional element (a painting for instance should be 'readable', it should be presentable (a nail in the back of the frame) and it functions within an ideological or political context). On the other hand, purely functional/instrumental expressions or actions also don't exist. Their is always a ritual element in everything produced. It has the capacity to express something in completely different, unspoken, ways, and is capable of bringing people together. This is typically seen as the field of the artist, but in fact is a core element of expression of a society, and its ideology. (This all relates a lot to form and aesthetics, but not only) So to have participants engaging in a process of cocreation (creating stuff, texts, images, process,...) would be only paying attention to half of the process, if they are only focussing on instrumentality. To also pay attention to the ritual aspects should serve the very idea of conviviality or constructing society (seen from a perspective on a cooperativist future or p2p society) 

In this way, the seminar i now initiate, is titled 'Circle of concentration'. Also educational formats and systems for self-organisation are more than mere 'functional' things. The form or notion of 'the circle' will serve as both an organising principle and power structure (functional) as well as a ritual expression of conviviality, group identity and power.

I hope I didn't confuse you too much.

Next Monday (tomorrow) we have a first small meeting with a small amount of people (the eventual participants hopefully) in order to discuss these things. This will be a weekly meeting for the next 5 weeks. After that the process of 5 to 10 days will start here in Athens.

If you have any suggestions, feedback or questions, that would be very helpful. 

Wish you a nice Sunday.
Sue

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