Who is knowledgeable and who isn’t? Who learns and who has to teach? Is it possible to have a museum where we all learn together? Can education set us free? How is history constructed?
MACBA conceives education as a backbone that articulates the role of the Museum in relation to communities, paying special attention to the educational community and the Raval neighbourhood, of which we are a part.
We want to find ways to be together and build collective thinking, while initiating experimental, liberating and radical pedagogical processes, which will allow us to conceive the Museum as a device for creating a situated history that becomes meaningful when shared with its publics. An educational programme that involves all the actors who live around the Museum is an ambitious proposal, especially one that intends to promote collective reflection and participation through workshops, courses, working groups or visits, which are always accompanied by artists, educators and researchers. We are interested in questioning the fixed categories in the educational field and the idea of learning as an accumulation of knowledge.
We invite you to explore with us the different ways of relating to knowledge and of understanding education as a practice for interrupting normality, as a space that breaks with regulatory imagination and allows us to delve into poetic imagination.
The MACBA Collection and the programme of temporary exhibitions seek to review and rewrite the narratives that have guided the Museum from its inception more than 25 years ago to the present moment: a journey that emphasises the de-hierarchy of history in favour of the plurality of stories, narrators and protagonists. The series of open videos Històries de l'art des de Barcelona (Art Histories from Barcelona) and the two projects carried out with first-year art students from the Institut Consell de Cent are proposals that, in their understanding of the Museum as a device for the construction of history, add new layers of meaning to the Collection and make other narratives and imaginaries emerge.
The educational programmes and the various initiatives that derive from them are based on the poetics and policies deployed by the Collection as a whole together with the temporary exhibitions, conceived more as places of experimentation and critical reflection than spaces of affirmation. For over five years, we have been collaborating with local artists in order to explore different workshop-visit activities around the exhibitions. Our aim is to appropriate the spaces of the Museum and to inhabit them while rehearsing new artistic strategies for approaching exhibitions, speculating with the Museum as an area of experience.
Imagining the Museum’s spaces turned into classrooms is the challenge we want to take up in Narratives d'una Col·lecció (Narratives from a Collection). These are visits to the Collection that activate discussion by establishing a dialogue between memory and the gaze, based on situated experiences and direct contact with the works.
One of the main challenges behind our educational programme is to provide meeting spaces where we can be together, generate bonds and enable affective networks, assuming that this means opening doors, welcoming, debating and reaching consensus, without suppressing dissent.
These are experiences that have taken shape, with all their richness and complexity, in stable working groups, such as Els nens i les nenes del barri (Neighbourhood Kid’s) Tenia coses adormides (Some Things Were Lying Dormant), Grup de joves (Youth Group), Grup de treball sobre la Col·lecció (Collection Working Group), La cuina (The Kitchen), Coneixent-nos amb les Metzineres (Getting to Know the Metzineres), Ara que encara tenim cos (Now that We Still Have a Body) and other areas of research shared between the collaborating artists and the Education Department. Abandoning the idea of ‘service’ and ‘recipient user’, we want to provoke new forms of relationship in which we are affected by the encounter. Imagining a possible Museum, a Museum of affections, how can we activate a mutual way of listening that can give us a sense of belonging to the Museum?
At this point, long-term processes are essential, in which continuity, flexibility, attention to detail and the (micro)gestures that accompany day-to-day life help us to detect and explore today’s hot issues, to encourage listening and to learn together. We support and affirm a permanent dialogue with organisations in the Raval neighbourhood: our most immediate neighbours. But we also continue to look for spaces of possibility in which everybody can feel called upon to build and imagine the Museum as we all want it to be.
In all these processes, there appears the desire – however difficult – to relate different histories and practices. When spaces of experience open up, spaces where we can physically stand and make our voices heard, doubts and discomforts also arise that need to be addressed. We are interested in thinking about the body from a social perspective: defined by sexuality, gender, identity, origin and class. We conceive the Museum as a place that mobilises ‘other’ knowledges, those that connect with what is regarded as ‘minor’: the knowledge of the body.
The idea of breaking the traditional logic of the relationship between those who are knowledgeable and those who are not, those who learn and those who teach, runs through our entire educational programme. We want to move away from any conception that rigidly understands education as a discipline based on techniques and models to be imitated.
These are the bases guiding our work with teachers: the creation of laboratory spaces such as P2P. D’igual a igual (P2P. Peer to Peer) and Laboratori d’artistes (Artists’ Laboratory), which value teachers’ knowledge and the meeting of their knowledge with that of artists. We are convinced that the experience of art can be deeply liberating due to its ability to activate the senses and, through them, the political imagination. Our work is rooted in a critique of the disciplinary education model and a search for the possibilities of pedagogy as a practice of liberation.
We are interested in generating processes that question established roles and fixed identities, and which explore other forms of relationship with knowledge that can exist between educators and learners. Programmes such as Postdata. Correspondències d’artista a l’escola (Postdata. Artists’ Correspondence in the School), Apadrina el teu Equipament (Sponsor Your Equipment), Creadors en residencia (Artists in Residence), Fora de reserves and Els oficis del Raval (2019–22) (The Trades of the Raval [2019–22]) have brought artistic practice to the classroom, the school and the educational community.