Alternative art schools
The Hedgeschoolproject is a participatory work by Glenn Loughran that combines art, architecture and activism to explore forms of critical pedagogy and emancipatory learning.
The Hedgeschoolproject manifests itself as a series of constructivist schools. The basic premise is that equality should be at the start of every educational process rather than a goal to be achieved. Thus, each school responds to its context, be it Rural, Traveller or Factory and the community this engenders. The form of the project, which usually involves the collective planning and physical construction of a space, is decided by the participants based on practical constraints and the group's particular interests and needs. Each project, then, is developed over a sustained period of time.
Historically, the Irish Hedge Schools emerged in the mid-1600s during the penal laws that suppressed the education of catholics. Hedge Schoolmasters travelled around Ireland teaching classes in barns, behind hedges and in hidden locations. Glenn Loughran's contemporary emphasis has been inspired by the more recent civil rights movements; particularly the 'Itinerant schools' by the MST Landless Workers movement in Brazil. Glenn's concern is that the key languages of emancipatory education such as creativity, flexibility, self-determination, collectivism and autonomy are now terms of reference for the production of economic growth. The Hedgeschoolproject has been set up "to explore what education might look like if it is separated from its contemporary representations by the 'state'". Glenn Loughran is a researcher at the Graduate School Of Creative Arts and Media, and also teaches the Politics of Participation course at Art in The Contemporary World, in NCAD.
First published: Research papers March 2011
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