Knowledge Should Be Priceless

Interview with Paul Stewart




Paul Stewart is an artist and researcher focusing on themes of alternative learning and critical pedagogy. He has a BA (Hons) Fine Art from the University of Lincoln (2011) and also completed an MA in Art and Politics at Goldsmiths (2012). He is the Learning Research Assistant at Tate and the creator and Co-producer of The Alternative Art College.




ART.ZIP: Would you please give us an introduction of your project, the Alternative Art College (AAC)? How did it start and what triggers the establishment of AAC?

PS: The Alternative Art College is a non-profit education facility, an online creative platform to critique higher education which I developed whilst studying for my Undergraduate (BA Fine Art). In 2010 the government begin to dismantle the higher education system, home students’ tuition fee increased to £9000 per year. The response to this was in the form of mass demonstration; this often was unsatisfactory because of the reaction of the authorities. In response to these events I set up the Alternative Art College in the tradition of protest art, as a proactive form of protest that was an alternative both to the prospect of an increasingly expensive education system and also to the existing forms of protest that were being used in 2010.

In short, the reason for the start up of the AAC is as a response to the current educational system, to question aspects of learning aimed to produce consumers of knowledge rather than participators in a grander scheme. The aim is to get students to question how they learn as well as what they learn and allow them to become active agents in a participatory learning experience.

The initial rationale behind the idea of the Alternative Art College in 2010 was to show that you could gain the same, if not a better understanding of a topic, than you could if you were to pay £9,000 to study at an education institution. Why is Higher education something that is only financially accessible? Knowledge should be priceless.

ART.ZIP: 可不可以給我們介紹一下你的“另類藝術學院(Alternative Art College,以下簡稱AAC)”項目?AAC是怎麼開始的,為什麼要建立一個這樣的學院呢?

PS: “另類藝術學院(AAC)”是一個非盈利的教育項目,通過網絡平臺來搭建一個質疑英國高等教育體制的平臺,建立它的時候我正在林肯大學讀我的純藝術專業本科。在2010年的時候,英國政府開始大刀闊斧的改革和破壞高等教育系統,本地學生的每學年學費漲到9000英鎊(約9萬人民幣),加之當局對民眾的呼聲沒有做出滿意回覆,由此引發了大規模的遊行抗議活動。對於這個事件,我成立了AAC來表達我的態度,這也是一種傳統上的通過藝術行為來進行抗議,這是一種主動的抗議形式,同時對上漲的昂貴的學費和既有的高等教育體制提出抗議。




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