Drawing from her project Free Home University, Alessandra Pomarico shares her reflections around the necessity to re-imagine the education approach (and the art system), in order to build sustainable communities of learners, beyond the neo-liberal model. How to facilitate a non-vertical and non-competitive learning environment, how to provide a protected space to exercise interdependency and intersectionality as human beings? Driven by an artistic perspective and experimental collective practices, these were among the questions nourishing FHU inquiries, leading to some unorthodox way of learning and collaborating with local communities in the struggle, as the organic farmers, the LGBTQ organizations and a group of refugees and asylum seekers.Alessandra Pomarico has a PhD in Sociology, originally from Italy and based in NYC since 2000, has been curating international and multidisciplinary artists’ residency programs in Italy and Europe, at the intersection of arts, pedagogy, social issues, nano-politics, and the poetics of relationship in community building.Her practice is based on reflecting on and facilitating collaborative, research and context-based art projects, with a focus on social change. Through a transformative approach and community activation, ideas often resulted in long term initiatives as the recent and ongoing Ammirato Culture House, a hub for social practices and a community center in a formerly dismissed municipality building; The Common Orchard for Minor Fruits, a generative rural and social project in collaboration with organic farmers and activists; Free Home University, an artistic and pedagogical experiment co-designed with an international group of artists and thinkers, investigating new possibilities to produce knowledge and share the learning by experiencing life in common.Mobilizing and bridging local institutions, governmental bodies, different communities, cultural actors and activists from the local and international world, Alessandra’s challenges have echoed in life long collaborations, some poetic failures, and great friendships. Since 2011, major support has been provided by the Canadian Foundation Musagetes, involved in a fruitful collaboration and in co-designing art initiatives like ACH and FHU, that have engaged the social fabric of Lecce, Italy, and created a space to reflect around global issues and locality.
About Free Home UniversityA project of Loop House (Lecce, IT) and Musagetes, Free Home University (FHU) is a pedagogical experiment grounded in experiencing life and creativity in common. FHU is a response to the need to generate new ways of sharing and creating knowledge. Created in collaboration with a pool of diverse international artists and thinkers, FHU is based in and around the city of Lecce, in the Puglia Region of southern Italy.FHU approaches the possibilities of education by producing collaborative artistic projects and coalitional knowledge. A positive alternative to the neoliberal and service-oriented system, FHU provides a home for radical thought, experimental action, learning-by-doing. It opens up existing competencies and encourages personal enrichment. The name Free Home University (FHU) refers to how a horizontal, inviting, energy-liberating environment (Free), within a protected and intimate space (Home), can provide an alternative, yet universal experience of sharing knowledge (University).
Alessandra Pomarico: Reflections on Free Home University | Nov. 23, 2015
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