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02 NOVEMBER 2014

Exhibition about the use of self-education as an emancipation tactic

Exhibition: "Really Useful Knowledge", 29 October 2014 – 9 February 2015 / Sabatini Building, Floor 1, Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid.

"The notion of 'really useful knowledge' emerged at the beginning of the 19th century alongside the workers' awareness of the need for self–education. In the 1820s and 1830s, working class organisations in the UK introduced this phrase to describe a body of knowledge that encompassed various 'unpractical' disciplines such as politics, economy and philosophy, as opposed to the 'useful knowledge' proclaimed by business owners who had previously begun to invest more heavily in their companies' progress through financing workers' education in 'applicable' disciplines like engineering, physics, chemistry and mathematics. In this reference to the long–forgotten class struggles of early capitalism, the title of the exhibition suggests an inquiry into 'really useful knowledge' from a contemporary perspective.

The exhibition endeavours to position the notion of critical pedagogy as a crucial element in collective struggles, and explore the tension between individual and social emancipation through education with examples that are both historical and current, and their relation to organisational forms capable of leading unified resistance to the reproduction of capital. In doing so, the exhibition highlights the collective utilization of public resources, action and experiments, either forgotten or under threat of eradication, taking the museum as a pedagogical site devoted to the analysis of artistic forms interconnected with actual or desired social relations."

(Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía)

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TAGS

19th century2014alternative educational models • authorised discourse • body of knowledgecapitalist structurescapitalist values • class struggles • collective action • collective struggles • critical pedagogy • early 19th century • early capitalism • early modern periodeducation and employmenteducation system • emancipation through education • everyday understanding • exhibition • folk knowledge • hegemonic discoursehegemony • historical models • inculcation of capitalist values • inculcation of values through education • individual emancipation • industrial educationindustrial model of educationknowledge is powerMadridMuseo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia • organisational forms • political actionpower and agencyproper • really useful knowledge • reproduction of capitalreproduction of social relations of production • self-education • social emancipation • social hierarchiessocial historytactical behaviour • unified resistance • unpractical disciplines • useful knowledge • workers education • working class • working class organisations

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
15 FEBRUARY 2011

19th century design education funding central to the establishment of the UK creative industries

"The Industrial Revolution had established the United Kingdom as a world leader in manufacturing technology which had allowed British products to gain sizeable markets both at home and abroad. The early nineteenth century was to see those markets starting to be threatened by the establishment of free trade agreements between the UK and mainland Europe which allowed tariff concessions on the exchange of goods. European products began to compete alongside British products with increasing success which was attributed to their superiority in 'design' a feature it was felt that British products lacked.

The age of the 'foreign competitor' had arrived and British manufacturers seeing their livelihoods threatened became a powerful political lobby with the matter soon receiving Parliamentary attention. In 1835 Parliament called for a Select Committee to, 'Enquire into the best means of extending a knowledge of the Arts and the principles of Design among the people, especially the manufacturing population of the country.'(1835–6 Select Committee title)

The Committee investigated the situation taking evidence over a two year period 1835–6 with witnesses representing Art, Design, Industry and Education from both the UK and abroad. In 1836 it was to conclude that the successful continental countries were funding Design Education for their manufacturing industries while the UK was not. The Committee were to recommend that Parliament vote £10,000 to establish a Government School of Design in London with further annual funding to establish a network of provincial Schools in the major industrial centres of the country. It was hoped that as the Schools of Design as they became established would encourage the Applied Arts and Design and improve the aesthetic quality of British products thus influencing trade."

(Edward Bird, 2000)

Bird, E. (2000). "Research in Art and Design: the first decade", Working Papers in Art and Design Vol 1 Retrieved 15/02/2011 from http://sitem.herts.ac.uk/artdes_research/papers/wpades/vol1/bird2full.html ISSN 1466–4917

Fig.1 Roberts' Self–Acting Mule: sixty years later, the machine achieves the triumph of the factory system.

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TAGS

1835 • 1836 • 19th century • aesthetic quality • applied artsart and designcommoditycreative economycreative industriesdesigndesign educationdesign schoolseducation • Edward Bird • enterpriseEuropefactory • foreign competitor • free trade • Government School of Designindustrial centresindustrial educationindustrial revolutionindustrialisationindustryinnovationLondonmanufacturingmanufacturing industriesmanufacturing technologymass productionmechanisationpioneering • provincial schools • Select Committee • tradeUKWorking Papers in Art and Design

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
29 DECEMBER 2010

Ken Robinson: Changing education paradigms

"In this talk from RSA Animate, Sir Ken Robinson lays out the link between 3 troubling trends: rising drop–out rates, schools' dwindling stake in the arts, and ADHD. An important, timely talk for parents and teachers."

(RSA Animate, Filmed October 2010)

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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