trade school, the public school, and the interwebs.
Last week A Blade of Grass published my very first piece for their blog, which covers all things socially-engaged art. In my post, I discuss two models of non-hierarchical learning, Trade School and The Public School New York, exploring their relationship to art and the art world.
Trade School’s Drawing for Pleasure and Relaxation class. Photo by Alex Mallis and TradeSchool.coop
Since then, I’ve been thinking about Trade School and TPSNY in another light: their reliance on the digital. These two organizations depend on sophisticated websites that allow users to connect, propose curriculum topics, and register for classes. While learning takes place in the real world, the classes are organized via the interwebs.
A new and improved website serves the larger Public School network, which, in addition to the New York chapter, serves folks in cities such as San Juan, Brussels, and the founding site, Los Angeles. On the newly-launched site, a proposal for a class in one city can become a launching point for a class in any other city—local roots that ultimately lead to a global exchange of ideas.
Trade School is based on the idea of bartering for education, and its website supports such a mission. Online registration includes a section to indicate what you can bring in exchange for the knowledge and experience gained from participating in a Trade School class.
That organizations like Trade School and TPS are able to Do Good by using the internet isn’t earth-shattering news. The internet has long since allowed people to share, even before the so-called web 2.0/social media revolution. And it’s not like a community-driven or barter-based system of education wouldn’t have been possible pre-world wide web. But at the core of Trade School and TPS is the creation of an inclusive community that reaches a broad audience covering a wide range of wacky and thoughtful topics, and the internet is instrumental to making this a success for these organizations. In fact, the rise of the educational turn in curating and in art, which includes the development of crowd-sourced, non-hierarchical learning, seems to coincide with that of the internet—and that, my friends, seems like something worth noting.