Shift/Work: Unlearning



I recently attended Shift/Work: Unlearning at the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop.

It got pretty intense.

“Shift/Work is a research project jointly developed by Edinburgh College of Art and Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop over the last four years. Setting out to examine and reconfigure comprehensive workshop-based approaches to artistic production that are theoretically informed, practical and participatory. Shift/Work facilitates new experiential knowledge, practices and tools for artists and art educators to adapt and implement. 

Unlearning targets the rapidly expanding international audience for contemporary art education: specifically, artists, educators and curators. It will focus on current discourses and practices that engage with the values of unlearning, deschooling, improvisation and amateurism.”

Day 1

A comparatively easy-going day. Talks from Crille Lampe, Neil Mulholland and Sean from Leeds United informed Unlearning.
I ended up in Crille’s group… the best way to get a feel for his character would be to head over here and watch him dance your name.

Day 2

We got post-it crazy trying to define Unlearning. This went on for hours and we had so many answers… so I’m not going to provide a definition here. If you want to know then ask me and I’ll a sporadic answer at you.
In the afternoon we designed a workshop for the other group to carry out next day.
This involved throwing them into unassuming silence, blindfolding them and asking them to take a ‘treefie’ and planning our own leaisure by instructing them to bring us all a cup of tea while tied together at the ankles (see picture).

Day 3

I was initially glad that I wouldn’t have to think as much on Day 3, because we would be carrying out the workshop the other group had set for us. However, their workshop was a lot less physically nonsensical and a lot more theory driven than ours. So I did think.
There were a couple of more eccentric activities still. We were blindfolded and asked to ‘do the dance of unlearning’. Which was awkward and resulted into a stilted Macarena.
In the afternoon we were asked to ‘make a work’. I escaped the now-stuffy studio and enjoyed the sun for an hour or so. I sent back a postcard.




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