Hosted by Middlesex University and Central St Martins

at Conway Hall & the Artworkers’ Guild, London

13th – 15th September 2017




Building on the success of conferences in Poznan (2015), Granada (2013), Cork (2011) and Palermo (2009) the 2017 Paradox European Fine Art forum biennial conference will take place in London. Reflecting on the current social and political climate for artists and educators, and taking its cue from the diversity of its host city, the conference will examine how issues of difference, change, inclusion and prohibition are currently played out within the discipline of Fine Art and education across Europe. Drawing together researchers, educators, students and artists it will explore the issues most at stake within art practice and education, for those who teach and learn. We are calling for contributions, across a range of formats to be submitted to the following strands: knowledge, ethics, means and aesthetics. The conference plans to address a wide range of issues including the challenge of new technologies, austerity agendas, cross-cultural teaching, the impact or desire for diversified demographics and non-hierarchical forms of learning to contemporary fine art education, research and practice and curricula.


The conference calls for participation via a range of formats (papers, case studies, projects, performances, workshops, etc.) and abstracts should be sent, on the appropriate form, to for consideration by strand convenors. There will also be opportunity to submit presentations of fine art practices, research and pedagogy to poster and pecha kucha sessions. Please see the website for details of how to do this.


Paradox conferences are developed by artist educators and provide an international forum for arts and educational practitioners and their stakeholders to meet and discuss education, teaching, practice and research. We encourage academics, artists and students who have experience within fine art education to engage in the European discussion that Paradox facilitates.






Convenors: Ana Garcia-Lopez, Granada University, Spain & Maia Rosa Mancuso, Accademia di Belle Arti di Palermo, Italy


‘Art is doing something quite different to science in terms of knowledge, but art is providing us with knowledge nonetheless’ [Herrington]


Terms like ‘knowledge production’, ‘artistic research’ and ‘interdisciplinary practice’ have become common parlance without us always agreeing what they encompass [Hlavajova et al, 2008]. One problem is that we seem to describe knowledge, knowledge production and transfer of knowledge in terms of scientific knowledge that can be measured through observation and experiment. If this is so, can knowledge be found in a work of art? According to some authors, art gives us another type of knowledge: conceptual, moral, aesthetic.


  • How do artists deal with knowledge?
  • What are the relations between knowledge and artistic research?
  • How does this affect an artist’s processes and production?


Contributions to this strand may address some of the following questions or others:

  • Does the notion of knowledge production lead art and art institutions to an increasing “standardization” and “measurability”? [Holert, 2009]
  • Can we assume cultural diversity as a way to respond to the demand of, or for, a diverse knowledge?
  • Do demographic changes in art institutions due to multiculturalism, race, ethnicity, displacement, language and class lead to an extended curricula and learning experiences, a more critical and inclusive pedagogy and institutional policies that offer equality of access and achievement?
  • Does the Ph.D. research model of contributing new knowledge fit art, where there are no definitive answers and the main strength of the research is its ability to question?
  • Do we assume the hybridization of art and research [Foucault, 1971] as now being the constitutive essence of art knowledge?


The conveners are interested in receiving all forms of presentation for this strand, papers, case studies, projects, performances, art-works or workshops.


Keywords: Artistic knowledge, Research, Knowledge production



Busch, K., Artistic Researc and the poetics of Knowledge. Art&Research. A journal of Ideas, Contexts and Methods. Vol. 2 N.2 2009 ISSN 1752-6388

Hlavajova, M, Winder, J., Choi, B. (eds.), On Knowledge Production: A Critical Reader in Contemporary Art,BAK / Revolver, Utrecht / Frankfurt am Main, 2008.

Foucault, M. , The Archaeology of Knowledge and the Discourse on Language, Pantheon Books, NY, 1971.

Holert, T., Art in the Knowledge-based Polis. e-flux journal N.3. Feb. 2009.

Herrington, J., (access June 13th 2016)






Convenors: Christina Della Guistina, Utrecht University, Holland, Stephanie James, Syracuse University, USA, & Paul Haywood, UAL: Central Saint Martins, London. 


“I do not intend to speak about just speak near by” Trinh T. Minh-ha


In the early 21st century, a series of marked social, political and economic changes have had significant impact on the infrastructure and dynamics of the art world. The impact has been acutely felt by art education institutions, which are under pressure from significant cutbacks in state funding, increased competition, demands to grow student numbers, new modes of communication and increased expectations to participate in public initiatives. What cultural capital does a student of fine art now need to develop a career in the arts?


These and other changes have brought to the fore issues of the role and activities of art education today—including responsibility and obligations as mediators between a broader range of stakeholders and funding bodies whose interests rarely coincide. How might a radical androgogy operate within an institution under these recent contexts? In this complex and conflict-ridden arena, it has become crucial to not only to identify, but also reconsider, reformulate and repurpose, the ethical basis and scope of the art education institution to retain its relevance to the society of the future. Activist methods of teaching ethically and the ‘ethical’ have engaged lecturers to consider diverse structures; how have feminist, LGBTQI or culturally diverse forms of art practice and/or teaching enhanced the curriculum and our understanding?


During this two-day conference, we propose to discuss some of the most pressing ethical implications and challenges facing the work of art education institutions today: How do artists and researchers form communities of practice and how might they include and exclude? Is it possible to teach students to balance being both ethically enlightened and a business without compromising either professional standards or financial accountability? What is allowed and disallowed in the relation to conventions that claim ethics and diversity? We hope to think of art as an ethical agency in an interesting and productive manner.


The conveners are interested in receiving all forms of presentation for this strand, papers, case studies, projects, performances or workshops.


Keywords; Radical Pedagogy, Androgogy, Ethical and Diverse Methodologies.






Convenors: Dean Hughes, Edinburgh University, Scotland & Christine Pybus, CIT Crawford College of Art and Design, Cork, Ireland


How do differing forms of teaching effect the type of artistic work that is subsequently made? Art education offers many differing examples of how young artists are educated, relative to the values and dogma of contemporary fine art.


Firstly, the origins of artistic pedagogy are often in evidence in many art schools in the form of Sculptural cast collections. These objects are useful reminders that art education was once the sole preserve of mimesis, whereby the activity of the student was measured and checked against the standards of the ideal form. Secondly, it can be noted that in the contemporary period post-1945 a discursive approach became much more in evidence. A singular approach to teaching via the individual tutorial was dispensed with in some countries in favor of a more nuanced relationship to the individual needs and direction of the student. Is this now being challenged? Is it time to re-evaluate?


What are the present means by which young artists are educated across European Institutions? What is the subsequent meaningfulness that young artists find within these teaching situations? And how is this meaningful activity representative of contemporary concerns? Have art students adopted their own form of mimesis or imitative practices as they respond to the challenges of contemporary art? With a more discursive model of art education now more prevalent, what are the new and emergent models of peer based learning? (paragogy). How do we inculcate the relationship between meaning and means?


The conveners are interested in receiving all forms presentation for this strand, papers, case studies, projects, performances or workshops.


Keywords; Paragogy, Mimesis, Skill and Technique, Hermeneutics





Convenor: Andris Teikmanis, Latvian Academy of Arts, Latvia & Jason Bowman, University of Gothenburg, Sweden


According to Jacques Rancière during the last two centuries we have lived under the aesthetic regime of arts; our European history and artistic experiences were previously quite diverse in terms of production, distribution and control of sensibilities. The correlation between political and aesthetic regimes marked boundaries of acceptable, tolerable and defined aesthetic norms and artistic values that were extended from Avant-garde to Stalinist Socialistic Realism and from the Neo-Romantic subjective elitism of Late Modernism to Postmodern deconstruction and New Media anonymity. The contradictory dimensions of aesthetic and political interrelations preconditioned different educational practices and, although for the last twenty-five years we are living in a united Europe, the miscellaneous diversity of the European art education landscape remains.

The Bologna Process, the blurring of lines between art academies and universities and the rise of research based artistic studies appeared like forces driving toward the reduction of differences. However, the main source of diversity of art education was not determined by external influences but internal historical paradigms embedded into educational processes. In the same way that James Elkins [2001] has identified that our art education is rooted in the four historical models of art academies: French academy, German Romantic art academy, Bauhaus and Post-war Art Schools, we should recognize Rancière’s three regimes of art that cohabit throughout different stages of art education. The ethical regime of images, the representative regime of art and the aesthetic regime of art co-occur in educational space as different types of teaching, training and study strategies implemented by teachers and accepted by students. They manifest in diverse modes of production and the distribution of sensible experiences, preserving the means of control and power.

Comprehending the interaction between aesthetic and political practices inside educational processes is liberalising and, at the same time, demanding of responsibility. Are the contradictory roles of craftsman and artist still influencing our educational tactics and delimiting aesthetic zones between practices and discourses? How do different aesthetic values, which are promoted by educators, institutions and traditions, stimulate, provide or control and suppress sensible experiences of students during art training? Should the social and economic engagement of art schools be addressed by the politicization of aesthetics to avoid another aesthetization of politics?

The conveners are interested in receiving all forms presentation for this strand, papers, case studies, projects, performances or workshops.


Keywords: Aesthetics, Politics, Sensible and Power