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Facilitated in the School of Art’s Bridge Gallery throughout February 2021, the Unstitute of…is an alternative one-person “MFAPHD” research program, faux institution, and autonomous “school” hosted and developed by its only participating administrator and student; Lisa Novak.
Each week, the Unstitute will assume the role and responsibility of a different “department” and respond to questions and literature relevant to the thematics of Lisa Novak’s ongoing doctoral research. Throughout the exhibition, the Unstitute will emerge as variants of institutional divisions, including a Department of Counter Education (29-7 February); a Department of Power, Discipline, and Surveillance (8-14 February); a Department of Youth and Labor (15-21 February), and a Department of Revision (22-26 February).*
A one-person research performance, living laboratory, and an incipient library of research with limited direction, but an abundance of questions, the Unstitute may host various public engagements throughout its inaugural “term”. Conversations, correspondence, research, readings, and responses will be determined by an ever-evolving range of questions related to issues and thematics concerned with, but not limited to, the conception of self-organized art education, the limitations of critical theory, Foucauldian concepts of power, and the production of discourses about youth and labor. Ending its inaugural “term” with a one-person graduation ceremony at the end of February 2021, the project will culminate in a print-on demand publication to be released in late spring.
*departmental titles and dates are subject to change
Lisa Novak is an Austrian designer and educator based in Athens, Georgia. Her practice and research focuses on self-organized art education, youth engagement in art and social practice, participatory pedagogies, and creative dissent. She has led workshops, youth arts intensives, and numerous experiments in public pedagogies with institutions including the Contemporary Art Gallery Vancouver, the Vancouver School Board, UNIT PITT Projects, the School for Eventual Vacancy, the City of Vancouver, Temporary Investments, the University of Georgia, and communities across Canada and the United States. She is the founder of the School of Collaboration and Invention (socai.org), a nomadic and interdisciplinary youth–led program and research initiative that invites participants to lead, curate, and develop public projects, performances, workshops, and events about topics that matter to young people today. The mission of the School is to facilitate spaces for young people to engage in art, design, and social practice through collaboration, material in(ter)ventions, education, community engagement, and other project-based activisms and media. Currently in her second year as a doctoral student in art education at the University of Georgia, she is the recipient of the 2020 W Robert Nix Award of Excellence in Art Education.