How can we re-imagine the communities we live in? What does social practice in arts education look like today?
‘The freedom to make and remake our cities and ourselves is…one of the most precious yet most neglected of our human rights.’ –David Harvey
As London neighbourhoods continued to feel the effects of austerity and gentrification, the Serpentine presented Rights to the City?, a one-day forum at Conway Hall on Saturday 12th May 2018, where artists, organisations and practitioners from around the world gathered to explore the place of social and political activity in art making.
Fifty years after the worldwide protests of 1968 and the publication of Henri Le Febvre’s influential book, Le droit à la ville, the forum launched a six-month series of public workshops and events, reflecting on the Serpentine’s own legacy of co-commissioning projects with communities, artists and activists, and asking how arts education might contest the increasingly privatised and commodified social and public space of our cities.
Participants included long-time Serpentine collaborators and international guests:
Luis Agosto-Leduc, Barby Asante, Ain Bailey, Yogesh Barve, Simone Browne, Luis Camnitzer, Clark House Initiative, Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad, Adelita Husni-Bey, Jasleen Kaur, Koyo Kouoh, Gail Lewis, Saviya Lopes, Paul Maheke, Julia Morandeira, Jesus ‘Bubu’ Negron, Amol K Patil, Peter Pal Pelbart, Sondra Perry, Emily Pethick, Brigada Puerta de Tierra, Sumesh Sharma, Patricia Thomson, Mick Wilson, Jo White from the Portman Early Childhood Centre, Mia White and Rehana Zaman.
10:30 Tea and coffee
Hans Ulrich Obrist and Yana Peel
Amal Khalaf and Alex Thorp
11:30 Changing Play moderated by Alex Thorp
12:30 Luis Camnitzer
13:00 Peter Pal Pelbart and Hans Ulrich Obrist
+ Lunch +
14:20 Barby Asante
14:45 Brigada Puerta de Tierra moderated by Julia Morandeira
Jesús ‘Bubu’ Negrón
José Vélez “Pichual”
15:15 Clark House Initiatives
Amol K Patil
15:45 Koyo Kouoh, Emily Pethick and Mick Wilson
+ Coffee Break +
17:00 Paul Maheke and Alex Thorp
17:20 Gail Lewis and Rehana Zaman
17:50 Simone Browne, Sondra Perry and Mia White
18:30 Closing Remarks
19:00 Ain Bailey DJ set
Serpentine Education & Projects builds dynamic relationships between art, artists and people, challenging where art and can be encountered and by whom. Over the past 10 years, the programme has worked on redefining the role of the arts during periods of social change, addressing issues such as migrant rights, care, schooling and labour with individuals and groups excluded from the decision-making processes that shape the places where they live and work. Through sustained, community-centred and embedded projects, with a focus on communities local to the Serpentine Galleries in Kensington and Westminster, participants have realised their power and developed strategies to change their lives, their cities and their world.