Pedagogical imperatives have been at the heart of social and participatory creative practice, and therefore an integral aspect of contemporary art. However, the increasingly standardised models of tertiary teaching required by the modern university often struggle to accommodate the radical potential of this creative practice. From our experience as creative practitioners, we recognise participatory art’s ability to enable social engagement, the expression of diverse positions and at times contradictory perspectives, and the occupation of border spaces within and beyond institutional frameworks, making them rich models for art teaching.
In our work as members of the Australian feminist art collective LEVEL, collaborative, dialogic and participatory strategies have formed the basis of our projects in community and public spaces, as well as art galleries and museums. These projects have demonstrated a commitment to non-hierarchical and collective structures. For example, the ongoing public picnics, titled We Need to Talk (initiated in 2013) utilise contemporary feminist consciousness-raising strategies to discuss a range of social issues, while the exhibition, This is Not the Work (2014) curated a selection of community-engaged artist projects emphasising the global pathways of women-centred social networks. In the context of recently reimagining our teaching model at the Queensland University of Technology, we have taken the opportunity to apply what we have learned through these participatory creative projects to an artwork / teaching initiative called The Long Lunch. This paper will provide an overview of the project and discuss the implementation of our strategies of participatory creative practice in a pedagogical setting. This project models the potential benefits of this approach by drawing out the interstitial spaces between creative practice, social learning and radical pedagogy.