School in Common/curriculu/a school (is a school, is a _)

a school
(is a school, is a zine, is an exhibition)

Exhibition and workshop series with students from the Adolf Fredriks musikklasser, educator Ted Pettersson and artist Katja Fred

Workshop series:
October 2018 — July 2019
Adolf Fredriks musikklasser, Stockholm

9. June — 7. July 2019
Lava Library, Stockholm

Teachers are often confined to a lesson plan, grading criteria and other institutionalised methods that limit their ability to improvise and open up the curriculum. Together with students and in collaboration with educator Ted Petersson and artist Katja Fred we wanted to challenge some of these restraint in formal education and play with alternatives to them.

The project started with filling in the blanks in the phrase “a school (is a school, is a _ )” students worked on a long sheet of paper to add their tentative answers and suggestions. We learned from bell hooks that any radical pedagogy must insist that everyone’s presence is acknowledged. With a simple gesture of taking student’s considerations as a starting point, we envisioned the classroom as a community of learners in which everyone influences the classroom dynamics.

In a series of workshops that took place between October 2018 and April 2009 the students discussed different strategies for organising learning outside of the school but also expressed the pressing issues that they confront in the processof formal education. After many meetings where we drew, painted, sketched and laughed together, the students decided to gather the materials into a zine inspired by different fanzine archives we looked into.Zine-making is a practice that stems from community exchange, community and activist organizing and is based on a sharing economy. In a playful way we wanted students to get acquainted with these values through a zine about zines made my artist Katja Fred.

Over sixty students worked on the final zine as a collective and alternative curriculum. The zine brings together all the tricks, opinions, games, recipes, feelings, advice, complaints, praises, tests, notes and music scores that the students could think of during the duration of the project.

The project ended with an exhibition at Lava Library. Here we presented the zine alongside with
lists, notes, maps and an eight meter long paper with material from the first brainstorming session; filled with thoughts and feelings on schooling, the classroom, and study. Visitors to the exhibition were also encouraged to help us finish the last meters of paper by writing down their own proposals.

The zine is now part of the Zinecentralen, a place in the Lava Library for art and printed matter made by young creators where you can find, read and borrow all sorts of self-published comics, poetry, manifestos and zines.

Image/students during one of the workshops at Adolf Fredriks musikklasser

Image/exhibition at Lava library showcasing students’ notes and publication

bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress, 1994
bell hooks, Teaching Community - A Pedagogy of Hope, 2003
Evelyn Dewey and John Dewey, Schools of Tomorrow, 1915
Annette Kraus, Hidden Curriculum, 2007
Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society, 1973