Elvira Dyangani Ose

Ritual as Institution

Series: New Canonical Histories
Date: Thursday 2 May 2019
Time: 18:30
Venue: AA Barrel Vault
Running time: 69 mins

Building on some of the concerns explored at the symposium, Experience as Institution – Part 1: Artist Collectives and Cultural Platforms in Africa, which took place at Tate Modern in 2013, this talk takes Senegalese artist collective Laboratoire Agit-Art’s modus operandi, as a starting point to examine from a theoretical standpoint the birth and status of collective contemporary art practices in Africa. The session explores few case studies, featuring artists, artist collectives and organisations that engage with socio-political questions occurring beyond the time and space of the art experience. Most of these initiatives take on those issues exploring aspects of performance and ritual, establishing the fundamental legacy of an experience which deliberately refuses the conventions of art-making in order to engage with a more critical social dialogue.

Founded in 1974 in Dakar, Senegal, the artist collective Laboratoire Agit-Art aimed to agitate existing institutional frameworks, to question the tenets of Leopold Sedar Sengor's Negritude and to encourage artists to adopt critical approaches toward their practices. At that time, Dakar was a place where political consciousness was actively being articulated, and artist collectives such as Laboratoire Agit-Art went beyond aesthetic experience to critically promote the development of cultural and artistic endeavours.

The goal of artists participating in the Laboratoire was to blur the disciplinary boundaries and to propose the experience of a 'total art' that was powerfully influenced by vernacular cultures and languages. The artists’ studio was a place in which the making of objects was a continuation of the performances and conversations taking place there. It represented a microcosm of the wider political shifts in its radical rearrangement of aesthetic and social relations.

Elvira Dyangani Ose is Director of The Showroom, London. She is affiliated to the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths and Fondazione Prada’s Thought Council. Previously, she was Senior Curator of Creative Time, Curator of the eighth edition of the Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art and Curator of International Art at Tate Modern, where she currently serves as member of its Advisory Council. 

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January 2020
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The Architectural Association receives Taught Degree Awarding Powers by the Lords of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council.

The Architectural Association (AA), the oldest independent school of architecture in the United Kingdom, is pleased to announce that it has been granted the power to award its own degrees. As of 1 October 2019, the AA has the right to establish new academic programmes and degree awards and is working to create some of the world’s most pioneering courses in architecture to shape and build the future.

Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP) give UK higher education institutions the right to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Prospective students worldwide can apply to the AA Foundation Course (Foundation Diploma), Experimental Programme BA(Hons), Diploma Programme (MArch), and nine taught postgraduate programmes encompassing History and Critical Thinking in Architecture (MA), Projective Cities (Taught MPhil) and Sustainable Environmental Design (MSc/MArch), amongst others.

AA Director, Eva Franch said, ‘since our founding in 1847 we have never ceased to create new horizons, institutionally and academically. This is a significant milestone for the AA and demonstrates how we have grown and progressed as an institution that has always valued independence. Receiving TDAP marks a new era for our institution; these are exciting times for the AA. The process has required considerable work from all members of staff and students. I would like to take this opportunity to credit them for this major achievement’.

President of the AA Council, Victoria Thornton added, ‘the TDAP process has recognised our strong governance, academic standards, scholarship and teaching as well as the environment supporting the delivery of taught higher education programmes’.

The School’s application for Taught Degree Awarding Powers was supported by the Architects Registration Board, the Royal Institute of British Architects and The Open University.