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 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 explored the past and future of black critical pedagogies. Within the Museum’s education department, they considered self- and community-determined knowledge production, learning, and dissemination in their many forms. Education was 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 realized two unique environments for facilitated and self-directed learning. Working with the New Museum’s Teen Apprentice Program, the Black School and Rasheed facilitated newly developed public and private workshops, programs, and classes for youth and adults throughout the residency.
Library Hours in the Resource Room with Kameelah Janan Rasheed
Thursday May 31, August 23, and September 6; Saturday June 23 and July 21
Educator and artist-in-residence Kameelah Janan Rasheed shared materials from her personal archival collection of printed matter, including small press publications, magazine articles on independent black schools, textbooks and curriculum sets from the mid-1970s, course catalogues, independent black periodicals, and contemporary texts.
Thursdays June 7–July 12
This free series, taught by Kameelah Janan Rasheed, restaged the publishing center from her elementary school to focus on black traditions of self-publishing, literacy, and independent schools.
Family Meals: Sharing Histories, Sharing Futures
Wednesday June 13, 7 PM; September 12, 7 PM
Inspired by the generative learning that occurs during meals in domestic, and community settings, Kameelah Janan Rasheed invited artists, organizers, community members, and educators to two potluck dinners to consider the histories and futures of independent black schools.
Drop-In Sessions with the Teen Apprentice Program
Fridays July 13–August 17, 3 PM
First-come, first-served workshops for visitors were led by the Teen Apprentice Program. Teens facilitated an art-making project for visitors and guided their use of The Black School Process Cards, a deck that generates artist-activist tactics for inspiring responses to community needs.
Space for Learning: Within and Beyond Walls
Thursday July 26, 7 PM
Architect and historian Mabel O. Wilson joined the Black School and Kameelah Janan Rasheed for a panel discussion that considered the politics and roles of visual culture, art, and architecture in the creation of spaces that center black teachers, learners, and knowledge within conditions of systemic and institutionalized racism.
Black Love Committee
Saturday July 28: Utopia, at Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling; Saturday August 4: Spectacle; Saturday, August 11: Action; Sunday, August 19: Enactment
The Black School led a series of three free tactic-specific sessions on arts activism for an intergenerational audience, which culminated in a presentation at Black Love Fest NYC at the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling.
Convening for Contemporary Art, Education, and Social Justice
Thursday July 26–Saturday July 28
The New Museum inaugurated an annual convening of activists, artists, and educators to exchange knowledge and methods for generating critical discussion and structural change, while promoting safer and braver spaces.
ABOUT R&D SEASONS
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.