Education and Mediation Programme
Education and Mediation Programme
Having the principle of mediation at the core, the programme aims at making the biennial respond to the interests and needs of non-professional audiences, creating spaces in contemporary culture(s) where more people recognise themselves. The programme goes beyond conventional institutional categories and proposes projects with a foreseen legacy, that combine research, artistic practice, pedagogy, mediation and community work. It can be described as educational, curatorial, or artistic, yet they are always developed through a collaborative process and owned by all involved parties.
The education and mediation programme evolves from a collaborative research process shaped by encounters with various local actors. This research delves into previously overshadowed or overlooked aspects of local educational and cultural histories and practices.
Research on Catalan Educational Renewal Movements
For Manifesta 15, the research delves into the educational renewal movements in Catalonia, occurring both before and after Franco's dictatorship. The research departed from Escola del Mar, a public school situated in a wooden pavilion on Barceloneta beach. Established in the early 1920s, it served as a mixed school for children from working-class families, embodying a hierarchical yet democratic model.
Within Escola del Mar, responsibilities were distributed among the students, with designated heads of classes, librarians, weather station coordinators, and more. The decision-making power rested with the General Council, where students democratically elected representatives to govern the school's organisation. Following the pedagogical project of learning with joy, the classes predominantly took place outdoors and included a lot of time dedicated to free play and swimming.
Escola del Mar, alongside Escola del Bosc (1914) in Montjuïc, became a reference for open-air schools that spread across Europe in the early 20th century. Despite facing bombing and destruction during the Civil War, Escola del Mar, along with Escola del Bosc, managed to preserve their pedagogical projects through the Franco regime and continues to serve pupils in other locations in Barcelona.
Additionally, the research delves into the histories of Batec teachers collective (1930s) and Escoles in Lluita, a social movement in Barcelona in the late 1970s that sought to establish alternative educational spaces emphasising the significance of social justice, community organising, and activism as integral parts of the educational process.
Four Spanish collectives and individual artists were invited to conduct the research through the (existing) archives. The collaborative agency INLAND explores the histories of Escola del Bosc. The Collective Massa Salvatge focuses their research on the work of Batec, a collective of teachers who envisioned a different school that is “more satisfying to live in and prepares a more humane and supportive generation.” Anaïs Florin gathers an archive of Escoles in Lluita, and Barcelona-based DIVERSORIUM project engages with the archives of Vil·la Joana, a municipal school in Collserola Parc that hosted classes for students with physical and mental diversities under the name of “abnormal education.”
These diverse histories of Catalan pedagogical contexts play a crucial role in comprehending the impact of education and pedagogy on eco-social transformations, both preceding and succeeding the dictatorship period in Spain.
The research laid the groundwork and evolved into a series of interconnected projects and programmes titled Fora per fer escola. Translated from Catalan, this title encapsulates several meaningful dimensions for the project: going outdoors to do school, setting a precedent, and being expelled for creating a school.
Fora per fer escola will take on various shapes such as exhibitions, artistic works, publications, professional networks, architectural constructions, mediation and public programmes.
More information about the programme will follow.