Issue 57What's your Proposition?

Principal of Plymouth College of Art, Andrew Brewerton, makes the link between creative learning and social justice. 

Principal of Plymouth College of Art, Andrew Brewerton, makes the link between creative learning and social justice. 

"If you want to destroy a civilisation, a people, a culture, without going to war, first destroy its education system." Traditional Chinese saying

At Plymouth College of Art, we believe that a high-quality education for life in contemporary arts practice is the creative catalyst for personal, professional and cultural transformation.

John Ruskin wrote, (1)“The entire object of true education is to make people not merely do the right things, but enjoy the right things — not merely industrious, but to love industry — not merely learned, but to love knowledge — not merely pure, but to love purity — not merely just, but to hunger and thirst after justice.”  

Thus Ruskin outlined the link between creative learning and social justice, the importance of teaching the skills which contribute to social good and justice. To me, there is an intrinsic link between education and social justice. At the same time, there is something profoundly social about all learning. Because ‘Creativity’, as the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei wrote, ‘is part of human nature, it can only be untaught.’

Creative learning and social justice in 10 propositions

Making is as important as reading and writing, as science and maths;

Making comes before knowing;

Art is not ‘about’ life; it is about living;

The purpose of learning is inseparable from that of living your life;

In art education the learner has no ‘subject’ to hide behind;

Purposeful learning creates agency, not dependency, in the learner;

The space of learning offers, or withdraws, the possibility of learning;

Space cannot contain energy, energy creates space;

As a learner, as an artist, your identity will come from the horizon, not from boundary line;

What’s your proposition?

The final proposition puts the question to students, graduates, tutors, those working in the creative arts, asking them to contribute their answers via an online tool. With this online activism tool, the opinions and priorities of those involved in the school become part of the manifesto, empowering more people with a creative education.

To submit your proposition, head here.

Andrew Brewerton 

1. John Ruskin 1882, Four lectures on industry and war

Plymouth College of Art founded Plymouth School of Creative Arts in 2013, and Andrew is a governor of the school. Plymouth School of Creative Arts is a 4-16 all-through free school that, together with the college, is establishing a progressive continuum of creative learning and practice. More info can be found here (scroll down to the section on The Red House).

Images

1. Space for Creativity - FCBStudios - as part of FCBStudios' HOST 40/20 celebrations, we’ll be hosting Space for Creativity, an evening of talks and discussion with invited speakers from the worlds of Creative Arts and Education including Andrew Brewerton.
2. Empower Community - Alan Qualtrough, MA Visual Communication - more info on the inspiration behind the proposition here: https://www.plymouthart.ac.uk/blog/whats-your-proposition-alan-qualtrough
3. Mental health matters - Rowena Murphy, BA (Hons) Fashion and Student Union President - more info on the inspiration behind the proposition here: https://www.plymouthart.ac.uk/blog/mental-health-matters-rowena-murphy 
4. Art pays - Carlos Felix, BA (Hons) Fine Art - more info will be published on the PCA website in mid-December.