Son[i]a #295 Janna Graham
- 00:01 The margins are much further away from the Museum
- 03:53 I came into the Museum through social movement work
- 05:57 The educational turn: between contemporary art, participatory art practices and critical pedagogy
- 14:59 Radical art educators in Museums. The freedom of marginalization
- 18:17 The para-sitic condition
- 23:17 A double margin: the social margins and the institutional margins
- 26:12 Three waves of recession. Filling the gaps of social services without resources
- 31:06 Naming the problems
- 35:52 Radical education vs the neoliberal paradigm of education
- 38:56 The radical education workbook
- 41:44 Freire and The pedagogy of the oppressed. Power relations
- 44:09 Working with failure and contradictions
Janna Graham has a background in geography and as an activist in indigenous land rights movements, the anti-racist struggle, the right to housing, the fight against AIDS, and protests against the precarity of culture workers. She soon ended up incorporating all these political struggles into the spaces of art, with a view to generating new ways to think about, activate, and share artistic and social practices.
A central figure of the so-called "educational turn" in curating, Janna takes a highly critical stance toward ways of imagining and planning emancipatory educational spaces in (and from) the art world. She also persists in pointing out the colonial distortions and tensions that are reproduced through the artistic and educational practices of museums.
As projects curator at Serpentine Gallery, London, she initiated and ran the Centre for Possible Studies (2008-2013), a working space where artists, academics, and researchers joined Edgeware Road neighbourhood associations to tackle some of the social problems identified by local residents. Graham has also taken interdisciplinary activism to other cultural institutions such as the Art Gallery of Ontario, Nottingham Contemporary, and Goldsmiths University, where she currently teaches.
In this podcast, Janna Graham talks about critical and radical pedagogy, about the educational turn, and about how pedagogical practices interact with cultural practices and social struggles. She discusses her experiences at different institutions, reflecting on the risk of the museification of activism in the midst of the neoliberal mélange, and talks about "parasitic" processes in the redistribution of cultural resources into social justice projects, and about the challenge of actively integrating the voices and demands of the marginalised groups that the museum works with.