Image: Students attending a Freedom School, Mississippi, 1964. Photo: Ken Thompson
Launched in the summer of 2016, the Department of Education and Public Engagement’s Summer R&D Season is an annual research and development initiative that foregrounds the New Museum’s year-round commitment to partnerships and public dialogue at the intersection of art and social justice. Each R&D Summer takes the form of an artist residency and an exhibition. Visitors and community partners are directly engaged through gallery activations and public and private programs. The New Museum’s Teen Apprentice Program, a paid summer internship, offers a group of teens an intensive six-week program, during which they work with teaching staff and artists-in-residence to play a crucial role in facilitating visitor dialogue and participation, while learning about the relationship between art and social justice.
For the New Museum’s annual summer art and social justice residency and exhibition, the Black School (Joseph Cuillier and Shani Peters) and Kameelah Janan Rasheed explore the past and future of black critical pedagogies. Within the Museum’s education department, they consider self- and community-determined knowledge production, learning, and dissemination in their many forms. Education is posited as a right and as a means to social justice—both of which have been challenged by legacies of slavery, Jim Crow segregation, and present-day systemic racism. Looking to diverse examples of learning structures from throughout US history, the artists realize two unique environments for facilitated and self-directed learning.
Organized by the New Museum’s Department of Education and Public Engagement, R&D (Research and Development) Seasons connect projects across multiple platforms around a new organizing theme each fall, spring, and summer. Seasonal themes are generated by artists-in-residence, and the department’s collaborations with artists lead to exhibitions, performances, conferences, screenings, publications, after-school programs for teens, Family Day activities, and archival research. Anchoring the Museum’s dedication to expanded forms of knowledge and cultural production, each theme is wide-ranging and limber, rather than illustrative; participating artists, scholars, and curators raise topical questions and often test thematic limits.