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Invitation to attend the hybrid Academy 'Lessons Learned? Transcultural Perspectives in Curating and Pedagogies'



11 July 2022
At the three-day international academy  which will take place in-person in Dresden and online – more than 30 international scholars, emerging researchers, curators and cultural professions will gather to discuss how transcultural theoretical perspectives can be informed by case studies from curatorial and collecting practices.
Abstract of the Academy:
As the drive to expand, explore and inform museum collections through global histories gains momentum, a pressing question remains: what is the role of art historical pedagogy in the museum? The concept of pedagogy is etymologically posited on the distinction between an adult and a child, and privileges teaching over learning. In past decades, there has been a decisive move to rethink the role of museums away from teaching through visuality (Svetlana Alpers) towards becoming sites of emancipatory and critical learning. Exhibitions such as the Documentas X and XI (curated by Catherine David in 1997 and Okwui Enwezor in 2002 respectively) or the iteration of Havana Biennale directed by Gerardo Mosquera in 1989, adopted open transactions across curating, learning and teaching. In addition, a growing number of cross-disciplinary platforms and collectives across the Global North and South – small in scale, locally anchored, and horizontally organised – have brought forth radical modes of cultural critique and transnational networks opposing exploitation, precarity, homophobia, militarisation and xenophobia. The radicalism of such “micro-organizations” (Marion von Osten) has now begun to rebound on larger institutions. Presently, a number of museums, particularly in Europe and North America, are introducing forms of self-reflection about audiences and collections.
The international Academy, Lessons Learned? Transcultural Positions in Curating and Pedagogies, explores the successes and failures of existing pedagogical practices in museums, and potentials for new transcultural and ‘worlded’ approaches. Conceptualised by Heidelberg University’s team of the international research platform, Worlding Public Cultures: The Arts and Social Innovation, this Academy unfolds as a three-day series of on-site and virtual discussions and exhibition visits around the SKD from 14-16 July 2022. The SKD museums hold amongst the most important and expansive present-day collections in Germany that speak to histories of transcultural collecting and conservation since the 16th century. Lessons Learned? is integrated into the second edition of SKD’s Transcultural Academy at the Japanisches Palais. This cross-collection initiative will take place in the autumn 2022 with an artists’ residency programme. It aims to rethink its own collections and archives, as well as curatorial forms of presentation based on current debates on decolonisation and the involvement of the public.
The discussions and exhibition visits of the three-day programme, Lessons Learned?, will take place in the Japanisches Palais and talks will be simultaneously streamed online. The programme will conclude with a separate lecture and e-workshop titled Lessons Learned? (Part 2): Rethinking Pedagogies: An ‘Intellectual Space’ for (Un-)Learning Art History on 20 July 2022 (16:00-18:00 CET on Zoom). This will feature a guest lecture by Prof. Emerita Claire Farago, two invited responses and a public discussion on how to (un)learn ‘global’ art history through university teaching.