Open Call Globe Gallery 2015

My dear Grabowsee fellows,

we`d like to invite you also this year to create with us the Globe Gallery at Grabowsee. The event takes place at the Grabowsee site between July, 11th and July 19th 2015. This year we`d like to follow the Globe Gallery concept as we did the years before. This means we create an exhibition at the last weekend all together.

During the week there is time to create artwork together in a group or alone. The day schedule is free and can be planned individually except to ours side work between 11am and 1pm.

The ideas behind the site work are two different things:

1. give something back to the area which is used by us in terms of „rent“

2. have an activity together as a group

The rest of the day is free and planned by us. This means we can have beside creating artwork, different workshops like building floats, sewing, painting, sweat lodge. Of course all participant are invited to offer an own workshop. If you are interested what was created the years before please have a look here:

The Grabowsee area is a very free area. Nevertheless everyone has to consider a few things.

There is the possibility to set up a tent or sleeping in the hey, if u haven`t an own tent. Of course you have to bring your own sleeping bag. Please prepare yourself as you would prepare for a camping trip. We are staying in old abandoned hospital in the middle of the forest which means: there is limited access to electricity and water. If you are using a smartphone please be aware that you may have no internet connectivity. Internet access cannot be provided by Globe Gallery.
The meals are prepared by ourselves. For Food we ask every participant to pay 60 Euro for the whole event. Beer, Clubmate and sparkling water will be sold for small price on site on honor basis.

We`ve a gallery space where the artwork can be set up. However, the space has to set up by us. Don`t expect a white room. We would also like to ask you to bring your own light for your room as well as extension cables. If you are using electricity please be aware there is only limited power connection in the gallery. The Power connection is limited due to the fact that we have to use a generator there.

We hope that all these things aren`t to devastating for you. The only things we`d like to point out is that we are camping in the forest and the resources are limited. But we are all looking forward to meet you at Grabowsee for creating this wonderful sense of togetherness as we did the years before.

For coming to Grabowsee we appreciate that you can find your own way to there. No matter if you like to come by bike, car or public transportation, you can find informations here:
How to get there

If you have further questions please contact us at: Please let us know if you participate by mail (Until beginning of July). The money for food can be paid cash at the arrival or can be transferred to the a bank account. Please ask by mail for details to transfer the money.

Further info can be found on the blog.

Tomorrow’s Classroom

A diverse group of UK based educators and artists will be collaborating to present an interactive installation designed to test, challenge and redefine the preconceptions surrounding learning environments and experiences. Come play.

The following is the briefest of outlines of the ideas which underpin the playground project as it stands.

These ideas run much deeper than that which is written below.

We are looking forward to discussing them in more detail, and collaborating with other individuals to further explore both the ideas which support the project and the practical work which will key to make it a success.

It is fair to describe humans as biological learning machines. From the very earliest age, learning appears to be our modus operandi. This makes perfect sense. Our success and continued survival as individuals and as a species depends upon our ability to refine our instincts to the our physical and social environment. It is our incredible ability to learn which makes this process possible.

Next time you have the chance, take a moment to observe a toddler. You will almost certainly find them to be engaged in a wonderful and virtually continuous dance of exploration and discovery. No one told them to, no one asked them to and no extrinsic motivation was offered. And yet they do it anyway. In a short space of time, of their own accord, they are able to walk, talk, make jokes, imagine, engage with, and even manipulate the incredibly complex social situations they find themselves in. Surely these achievements are testament to the fact that without adult intervention children already have all the necessary faculties at their disposal to define what they want and need to learn, and learn it.

Now compare the average and normal toddler described above with the average and normal 8 year old in the context or an average and normal mainstream learning environment. The picture which emerges is a bleak and damning inditement of our education system. Curiosity is replaced with indifference, eager to learn is replaced with eager to please, confidence is replaced with anxiety, passion is replaced with apathy, agency is replaced with helplessness, intrinsic motivation is replaced with the desire for extrinsic reward, etc etc etc. It would be all too easy to continue but you get the fundamental point; something has gone horribly wrong. Someone has done something terrible to our children. Some of them will recover, but many of them wont.

Why? The life of a healthy and happy baby or toddler is defined by acceptance, freedom and choice. These characteristics create a situation in which play is free to occur. Conversely, the school life of a child is generally defined by judgment and coercion in which the completion of ‘work’ is the fundamental aim. The difference is the same as that between a slave and a citizen. It is the difference between freedom, and coercion. In the hunter gatherer societies with which we share about 99% of our evolutionary history, children are typically free to play for as long as they want, which usually means until around the age of 16 and often way beyond. It seems increasingly clear that it is the switch from free play or freedom, to adult imposed activity, or coercion, which is having such a damaging effect in children.

The evolutionary purpose of play, which is ubiquitous in all human societies, is not ‘to blow off steam’ or ‘have a laugh’ (although these may well be welcome side effects) but to enable the acquisition of the knowledge, skills, attitude and understanding necessary to allow an infant to become a functional adult. School is interfering with this process. Even as adults, our most powerful and meaningful learning experiences occur when we are in a state of play, a truism which has been confirmed repeatedly by psychological research.

In todays mainstream educational landscape endless lip service is payed to the importance of ‘learning to learn’. It is thought that since the extent of human knowledge is now in practical terms, infinite, the idea that a centrally defined body of knowledge and skills to be learned by children everywhere will be sufficient to provide an individual with the tools they need to navigate the world successfully, is poppycock. Metacognition, study skills, 21st century skills and many other buzz terms are thrown about in the endless cycle of initiatives which hope to address this issue. It seems to us that these initiatives, while well intentioned, are missing the point; children do not need to be taught how to learn, they already know. Perhaps all we need to do is provide them with the right environment, the trust, and the freedom, to continue to do what they do so marvelously as toddlers; learning by playing. In fact, it seems clear to us that it is we, the adults of the world, who all too often have lost the ability to play and in this way, lost the chance to engage in the most powerful learning experiences available to us as humans.

Thus, children have an important lesson to teach. All we need to do is watch, learn, and get involved. Our project will attempt to highlight this issue in a way which is engaging, visually appealing, interactive, and unsurprisingly, playful. To do so we plan creating what we have been describing as an inverted classroom. Essentially this is intended to consist of a very obviously traditional classroom layout which will house the adults. Rather than lead on to a teacher in front of a black board, or even a ‘facilitator’ in front of an interactive whiteboard, it will face onto, and provide the opportunity to observe a small but magical play space. The children, by playing freely and without imposition, will act as the teachers, demonstrating the ability to be free, to be imaginative, to play, to learn and to be truly mindful. It will be clear when the adults have learned the lesson; they will get out of their seats, and get fully stuck in.

Taking into account the ideas included in the invitation to Grabowsee it is hard at this stage to predict exactly what the playground will consist of. However, it is fair to say that the emphasis will be on malleable and flexible materials which will be chosen to encourage active imaginative play, visual aspects that are themselves intended to play with colour light and sound, and a haphazard chaotic atmosphere which will reflect the play we will engage with in the process of creating the space. Think of The Merry Pranksters, free parties, Hook, Detroit’s Heidelberg project, and you will start to appreciate the sort of direction we are coming from. We are very aware that Germany and particularly Berlin is renowned for its incredible and innovative play spaces. We are very much looking forward to visiting some if these spaces when we arrive in Berlin. Given the short space of time available we appreciate it is unlikely that we will be able to rival some of these spaces in terms of ambition and scope. However, it is worth remembering that these playgrounds are generally provided for the purpose of play as an activity supplementary to the serious business of ‘work’; “Terry, you can play when you’ve finished your work!” It is our opinion, and our intention to make the point, that for children and indeed adults, the distinction between play and work is unhealthy and unhelpful. Play should be your work and your work should be your play. Play is serious. It’s how we learn best.

The following is an extract from Peter Gray’s book, ‘Free to Learn’. This book is a highly recommended read for anyone interested in the ideas we began to explore above. This link will take you to an article exploring many of the ideas touched upon above which is more coherent, thorough, and fully referenced.