John Berger presents a uniquely diverse model of critical artistic and intellectual work. He is, variously, artist (and a philosopher of drawing); art critic/theorist; ‘art geographer’ (Edward Soja); novelist (although preferring to call himself a storyteller); poet and dramatist; film-maker; photographic collaborator; theorist of migration; political activist in the domains of anti-capitalism and human rights.
This conference: 4th- 5th September 2014
This conference at Cardiff Metropolitan University places a focus on the transformative potential of Berger’s work for educational practice. Berger may be said to have kept a distance from the institutional lecture hall, seminar room or studio; yet his work, through an interdisciplinarity seemingly without boundaries, continues to impact upon a number of academic fields. In dedicating himself to‘the job of thinker and artist’ (Sally Potter), Berger seems also consistently to have orientated himself towards the future and to practice: he is, in the words of Sukhdev Sandhu, ‘in the best sense, a teacherly writer and performer’ -- a teacherly method characterised, that is, by the principles of collaboration and equality.
The conference therefore takes an exploratory approach to the question of how we might, as educators, use, discuss, learn from and continue to develop Berger’s thought. In what ways might that thought help to transform curricula, pedagogy, and our work as writers, artists and teachers? How pertinent is it, for example, to the growing internationalisation of the academy and to questions of global educational citizenship? Or how relevant as a critical resource within the context of a new, corporate and marketised environment in education? Might Berger’s ‘radical humanism’ (Tilda Swinton) help to carve out alternative futures?
The conference is open to contributors from all subject areas and disciplines, though it is anticipated that it will be of principal appeal to those interested in Berger’s impact upon the following fields: literary studies; visual arts; art history; philosophy; creative writing; film production and education; performance; drawing; photography; cultural geography; critical and cultural theory.