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Self-organisation for co-operative art education

28th November 2019 · 6:00pm - 9:00pm

In person | Virtual event

 Self-organisation for co-operative art education

“Collaborative groups share power, and healthy groups assure that their members have equal opportunity to earn social power” (Starhawk, 2011, p. 125)

A workshop on self-organisation and collectivity in the context of alternative art education. The workshop will begin with a seminar on self-organisation and conclude with a workshop on leadership roles for leaderless groups, based on The Empowerment Manual (2011), by the writer, teacher and activist  Starhawk.

Jo Freeman’s article The Tyranny of Structure was first published in 1970 to address the need for organisation in the US women’s liberation movement. Alongside Freeman’s text we’re reading the page on Collectivity from the Radical Education Workbook, compiled in 2012 by the Radical Education Forum. Wilfred Bion was a British psychoanalyst, his study of group dynamics contributed to the evolution of group psychotherapy. Experiences in Groups (1961) is a record of observations from his work with groups that he believed might apply to society more broadly. Bion suggests that there are two groups present in every group, the work group which keeps the group anchored to its purpose, and the basic assumption group, which is mired in the tacit assumptions that inform behaviour within the group.

The readings highlight aspects of group dynamics in collectives and groups, providing starting points for the discussion. We will unpack the concept of self-organisation and address a series of questions in the seminar, please bring your own questions along.


Please download and read the texts in advance of the workshop.

This is the second workshop in a series that will explore potential models for a co-operative form of art education. The workshops are open to anyone with an interest in engaging with and contributing to the project. They are participatory and experimental, progressing through stages. You do not have to come to all workshops, but if you can that would enhance continuity between sessions.

A co-operative art school? is a research project on co-operative education, alternative art education, radical pedagogy, self-organisation, networks and other dimensions of a co-operative learning environment. The project is supported by an Artquest Research Residency award at the Conway Hall Humanist Library. For more information on the project and how to get involved and please visit this page.

We are committed to promoting inclusive practice at Conway Hall. Due to the constraints of our historic building, there is currently no step-free access to the Library. Please see our Access and Visitor Information for further accessibility information or contact us at We vary the location of our events between the Library and other ground-level rooms, and are working to ensure that everyone is able to attend all our events in the future.

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