Rules of Engagement

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Co-ordinator - Michaela

Working group - Marsha, Cinzia

>==Rules of Engagement: Art, Conflict and Gallery Education== Engage International Conference 5-7 November 2008 Brighton

Critical Practice has been invited to faciliate a web-based discussion and ResourceCamp BarCamp for the conference. Our breakout session will be 11.30 - 12.30 on Thursday 6th November. The particular theme of that discussion will depend on what emerges on the conference wiki. We are planning to use this as an opportunity to expand on approaches developed as part of Disclosures and to explore the relationship between online and face-to-face discussion.

The Conference Context

This year's engage International Conference, Rules of Engagement, examines the role of art, artists and gallery educators in sites or situations of conflict.

An ambitious programme of presentations, gallery visits, discussion and workshop activities will offer delegates a chance to debate the intellectual, ethical and practical implications of dealing with conflict, whether it be in recording the impact of violence and war on people's lives or in addressing the social, political and religious divisions that characterise contemporary Britain.

The conference takes place alongside - and draws inspiration from - the 2008 Brighton Photo Biennial (BPB), Memory of Fire: Images of War and the War of Images, whose curator is the art historian and writer Julian Stallabrass. On the opening morning of the conference, Stallabrass (and other speakers) will consider how images of war are made, disseminated and interpreted, and the place of cultural institutions in shaping our view of military conflict.

Over the course of two days, contributors will cover a wide range of topics, from the legacy of conflict in Northern Ireland and Kosovo to the politics of audience participation in works of art and artists' projects. A debate on the final afternoon of the conference, chaired by the Guardian journalist Maev Kennedy, will consider the vexed question of whether - or how far - cultural funding should be tied to social policy objectives.

Breakout sessions will include such organisations as the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, Tate Britain, Glasgow's Gallery of Modern Art, Ffotogallery in Cardiff, the Imperial War Museum and Fabrica in Brighton.

There will also be an innovative web-discussion project and a special screening of Polish artist Artur Zmijewski's Them, one of the most powerful and talked-about exhibits in Documenta 12.

Taken as a whole, the conference asks delegates to consider the 'rules of engagement' that govern their activity as educators. The notion of rules and protocols will feature strongly in the format of the conference through presentation techniques such as "pecha kucha" and highly structured discussion. The aim is to create a space in which participants can experience discussion as practice rather than discussion on practice.


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Updates

Monday 3 November<br> Michaela, Cinzia and Marsha met to discuss the breakout session. We agreed the "BarCamp" would morph into a "ConcernCamp" (Marsha's descriptor) - Instead of presenters, concerns (topics, themes, questions) will fill the slots, and serve as the basis for short discussions (5 mins). Hopefully, the dynamism of this high energy activity will inspire attendees to engage.

Monday 20 October<br> The delegates of the conference received this message:

Critical Practice is a cluster of artists, researchers, academics and others, supported by Chelsea College of Art & Design, London. Through our aims we intend to support critical practice within art, the field of culture and organization. For more information: www.criticalpraticechelsea.org

We will be facilitating a pre and post-conference Wiki discussion, drawing out some of the main conference themes. Delegates are invited to contribute in person at a 'barcamp' discussion during the conference itself. For more information, please visit the Wiki.