Invitational Symposium

2-4 February 2009

Intention, Focus, Activities:
In conjunction with the curatorial residency of Eugenio Valdés Figueroa and Marcio Botner at the Art Gallery of York University, the AGYU, along with York University’s Faculty of Education, organised an invitational symposium on the subject of the pedagogical intersection of contemporary art and education outreach. The purpose of Valdés Figueroa and Botner’s curatorial residency was to further develop the discussion between Casa Daros in Rio de Janeiro and the AGYU of creating an artist/education residency exchange.

We intended this symposium to be a means to focus on the AGYU’s experimental education direction and to help chart its path as a new type of university art gallery. Thus the AGYU’s innovative artist-led education outreach in Toronto’s Jane and Finch neighbourhood was put in the wider context of current work and thinking of artist-practitioners, academics, theorists, and museum educators.

Framed around the intersection of the pedagogical intersection and contemporary art education outreach, activities included individual presentations of participants’ work (practice, past projects, interests) within context of our institutions and local situations as well as group discussions that circulate out from commonalities and divergences in our practices, experiences, and perspectives.

Symposium presenters explored topics ranging from art education programs that have been instrumental in challenging institutional operations and knowledge production to the potential for urban art interventions to effect genuine public engagement around social justice issues. Key themes to emerge out of the presentations and discussions included the difficulties inherent in negotiating conflicting needs of participating individuals and institutions, the implicit historical division between curatorial and outreach practices, as well as the immense potential for outreach activities to refocus and redirect the energies and strategies of contemporary art institutions.

The AGYU would like to thank the Faculty of Education, York University, York International, and Alumni Affairs for their financial contribution to this symposium.

The Symposium
(mp3s of presentations available by clicking on presenter’s name in left column)

Day one: 2 February
This is the day that artist-practitioners presented their current and past projects. After each group of presenters, a respondent engaged presenters with questions in order to promote dialogue and discussion about the presentations.

Philip Monk, AGYU Director/curator

Keynote speaker
Marcio Botner (A Gentil Carioca, Rio de Janeiro)

Panel 1:
Salvador Allende Arts Festival for Peace
Rodrigo Barreda, (LACAP/Latin American Canadian Artists Project, Toronto)

Imagine a School ...
Kathleen Gould Lundy (York University)

Parkdale vs. Queen West
Natalie De Vito (Mammalian Diving Reflex, Toronto)

Respondant and discussion: Janna Graham

Panel 2:
Turn Around Project
Michael St. George (Turn around Project, Ontario and Jamaica)

Art at the Intersection of Pedagogy: Using Science Photography as a lens for Youth to reconnect with Kensington Market community
Sheliza Ibrahim (York University)

Respondant and discussion: Janna Graham

Panel 3:
Black Creek Story Telling Parade
Liz Forsberg and Laura Reinsborough (York University)

Architecture of the Imagination
Allyson Adley (AGYU)

General discussion

Samba Squad session and dinner

Day two: 3 February
This day was devoted to critical discussions and diverse perspectives on the issues, stakes, challenges and opportunities afforded by gallery-led partnerships with artists, educators and communities, and community initiated art educations programs.

Keynote speaker:
Eugenio Valdés Figueroa (Casa Daros, Rio de Janeiro)

Panel 1:
Rubén Gaztambide-Fernández (OISE, Toronto)

But is it art? Questions of principle and practice when art meets education meets outreach
Kathleen Vaughan (Concordia University, Montreal)

Critical Youth
Felicity Allen (Tate Britain, UK)

Janna Graham (Serpentine Gallery, UK)

Respondent and discussion: Carmen Mörsch

Panel 2
Gallery Education and the Intersection of four Discourses: Affirmation, Reproduction, Deconstruction and Transformation
Carmen Mörsch (Zurich University of the Arts, Switzerland)

Can Art Be Educated? Toward a Theory of Teacher Education and the Arts in Urban Contexts
Karyn Sandlos (School of the Art Institute, Chicago)

Image–Events and the Pedagogical Imperative of Curatorial Judgment

Roger Simon (OISE, Toronto)

Respondent and discussion: Warren Crichlow (York University)

Wrapup: Emelie Chhangur, AGYU Assistant Director/Curator

Day three: Visits to various art organisations

Art Gallery of York University | Accolade East Building, 4700 Keele Street | Toronto ON M3J 1P3 | agyu [at]