Workshop Practice: The Commission, from the Open Space Learning Project

Workshop Practice: The Commission, from the Open Space Learning Project

Description

At its simplest the commission is a means of setting a collective task with clear expectations and a real world purpose. The task itself maybe a Deweyesque opportunity to ‘experience’ and ‘ make use’ of disciplinary knowledge, abstract ethical and moral thinking and social co-discovery. In a commission there is an enterprise, a client and a real world commission. This commission may be extraordinarily complex and require trans-disciplinary teams and time to be successful. But a commission can also quite simply bring the real world into the classroom and allow students to operate both as they do in the world but also in professional, rather than academic, contexts. The commission is usually given to a groups of students who are then encouraged to become an autonomous enterprise and to use their collective resources to create something which has a real world connection. But they must also accept the ‘mantle’ of their enterprise. They must approach the task and each other according to their given occupation and task orientation rather than as themselves. Common commissions include curating exhibitions, editing collections or preparing evidence, organising conferences or building digital platforms, working as designers, renovating the past, working as artists.

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