Decolonising the Arts Curriculum: Perspectives on Higher Education

Chelsea College of Arts

After a successful launch at CSM and month-long programme at LCC, the Decolonising the Arts Curriculum Zine was in residence at Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Colleges of Arts from November 2018 to January 2019.

Content from the zine was displayed at Chelsea College of Arts in January. Exhibitions, book talks, film screenings and other events were organised by Associate Lecturer Rahul Patel with Academic Support Librarian Gustavo Grandal Montero and other staff and students. 


Exhibitions

January 2019: Display in entrance to Chelsea Collage of Arts: Selection of artwork from zine 1

Frankenstein or the post Modern Prometheus – Grafting the skin. By Maria Kheirkhah

(Main library and Old Library – 9 until 31 January)

Inspired by Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein these series of art works explore the implications of the constructed imaginaries within our current social and political moment, impacting the context in which these art works are produced.

The text examines and intervenes in the way Mary Shelley constructs the Otherness of a specific Muslim female character within the book drawing parallel with the current media portrayal of the Muslim women.

My Library by Mary Evans

Displayed at Chelsea College of Arts Old Library – until Summer 2019

My Library is a collection of commemorative portraits on plates of some of the authors whose books I have in my book shelves at home. Below each plate is a label with a title of a book by the author. If viewers know or find out about the book, they will discover the identity of the author.


Book talks

A series of lunch time book talks discussing titles influential in thinking about decolonisation and related topics. The talks were held in the Library at 1pm throughout January, and will lead to the production of an annotated bibliography of all the books discussed:

Email Gustavo Grandal Montero for information: g.grandal-montero@chelsea.arts.ac.uk


Events and Workshops

Launch Event: Thursday 10 January 5.30pm at Chelsea Canteen Annexe. Talks and drinks reception in the college canteen. Speakers included Jess Crilly, Karl Foster, Ayanna Joseph, Maria Kheirkhah, Jayne Knowles, Sophia Phoca, Lucy Panesar, Rahul Patel, E Okobi, Jhinuk Sarkar and Joel Simpson.

Workshop: Value of difference. Tuesday 22nd 2-4pm (Library). Recognising the ‘value of difference’ can be a crucial initial first step in decolonising our minds… In this short workshop, we will engage with definitions of knowledge and learning, and will explore the idea of libraries (and archives) as ‘curated spaces’ which support the ideas and ideologies of different (cultural) institutions. With Alex Duncan and Adam Ramejkis.

Film Première: Rhapsody in four colours by Mahmood Jamal. Wednesday 23rd 2-4pm (Lecture Theatre). The film documents the installation of Rasheed Araeen’s new major work for the Aga Khan Centre in London. Première followed by panel talk with Mahmood Jamal, Virginia Whiles and Donald Smith.

Image from ‘Rhapsody in four colours’ (courtesy of Mahmood Jamal)

Thursday 17th 5-7pm, Central Saint Martins (D107) Reading Collections: the African-Caribbean, Asian and African Art in Britain Archive reading group


Reading Groups

The reading group discussed the editorial introduction to Black Phoenix n.1 (1978) by editors Mahmood Jamal and Rasheed Araeen. See images here.

The first meeting for 2018/19 of the Reading Collections: the African-Caribbean, Asian and African Art in Britain Archive reading group, was held at Chelsea College of the Arts Library on 15 November. Find images here.

For more information about the reading group and to register visit Academic Support Online: https://academicsupportonline.arts.ac.uk/

For information about the African-Caribbean, Asian and African Art in Britain Archive, held at Chelsea College of Arts Library, see: https://www.arts.ac.uk/students/library-services/special-collections-and-archives/chelsea-collections-and-archives


Rasheed Araeen, Peter Fillingham and Chelsea Space. Rasheed Araeen’s work was on show from 14 November to 14 December 2018 at Chelsea Space in a joint exhibition with Peter Fillingham. Rasheed Araeen is quoted on page 26 of the Zine:

‘One shouldn’t perhaps look at the art education institutions alone for the answers, as they are only parts of the art establishment at large. The knowledge which is passed on to art students is actually the knowledge received from the art establishment (i.e., art galleries, museums, art publications, etc.) generated by its recognition and signification of art activity. And since this recognition has not been given to black artists, even when some of them have been on the forefront of new developments in contemporary visual arts, they have remained, along with their contributions, invisible’ (National Conference On Art and Design through Education, 1981).

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