Elective Sharing Task : Reflections

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Brief reflections on Elective Sharing Task unit…!

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> On Derrick Bell “Reflections on Critical Race Theory”


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How we can instill a culture of mutuality between students and tutor  in order to nurture a culture of pluralism in the classroom?

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Listening more? Discussing and challenging our roles, our knowledges, our cultures, our perspectives on diversity and inclusion. We could have more Q&As with students and tutors (and tutors and management) to openly discuss aspects of pluralism and what we see is working, what is missing, how all this affects us. This is in order to build-up a participation and not-hierarchical based system to uphold co-existences of values, identifying steps to take further together for a more diverse education setting that could then be an example for industry and society in its wider context. So, more and more discussions, debates, respectful exchanges of opinions.

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Boundary objects and beyond

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Can this book be an example of a boundary object in its own right?

How can this notion (a boundary object) change the way u might use written material as a ‘teacher’?

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I think we could consider this book as example of knowledge to adapt to different needs, reflections, and experiences of the readers. I haven’t read the whole book, but for what I have seen there is an input of a less structured work that questions the common analysis crossing social and professional standards. There is a feel of intersection of social world, so yes, the piece itself could underline the very concept of a boundary object.

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Opening randomly the book, I stayed on reflecting on Chapter 04 “Anticipation of Work“ with also its “Simplification of Work” section. I find inspiring the scientific strategy of “breaking problems”, “simplyfying the amount of data or information”, “de- and re-contextualising the work”, “defining the saturation”, “limiting our theorizing”, “constraining our representations”… in learning&teaching, we can use this to adapt to ways of production development of making, maybe shaping a resource for students to input on, review together, and balance out during the year in connection to deadlines, briefs, etc. It gives bullet-points to be reused and mixed.

And the flow of “Anticipation of Work” also calls how we can co-create and hack the planning and designing of the curriculum. “The relations between pieces of problems”; “the material and political elements of the situation”; “the technical and theoretical elements of the situation”; “the nature of the reconciliations: what was ceded? What was left on the table?”; “temporality”.

– – – – – – – – –  – -> and, in connection to what we are reflecting on pluralism in higher education and society, perhaps here there is something that can be bridged in terms of discussion and reflection on it, on our approach and questioning, on our reflections, on our institutional given day-to-day flow: all ready to be challenged and divided in smaller data to be analysed to potentially develop in different directions with values and visions of inclusion and diversity.

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Wellcome Trust “Once More with Feeling” Workshop

< Extra Artistic Development. Follow-up of the Object-Based activity on Learning&Teaching unit + a follow-up from my Artefact for the Inclusive Learning unit.  Creating an artwork online&live during a neurodiversity workshop at Wellcome Trust. The piece has somehow brought the two Units’ inputs together, creating a new artistic output and reflection that I can surely develop further. As well as being part of my creative practice, I thought to add it to the course-blog as an extra development of artistic research and practice in inclusive learning.>

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//This is a live blog-post activity, happening remotely during a workshop lead by Natasha Trotman at Wellcome Trust in London. Connecting here as part of the development of reflective thinking in Inclusive Design, that I can consider for further critical thinking in relation to Inclusive Learning and Research on Neurodiversity. The post is shared live as part of the development in the day.//

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Day: Friday 18th May

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My object for this session is related to something I have started to investigate during some of my academic research at the PgCert in Academic Studies at UAL. So, in terms of images and definition of object (+ primary activity and feedback) please see here: http://lucam.myblog.arts.ac.uk/2018/03/30/micro-teaching-session-reflections/

During this workshop with Natasha (and Wellcome) I would like to reflect further on the object (my diary, with its patterns of thinking and emotional balances) and use this experience as part of my academic development for the course too. In this workshop I am keen to relate to areas of my aspie experience especially in relation to hyperacusis which is something I am struggling with at the moment. So, I would take this workshop to reflect (with auto-ethnography) on this for the duration of the day, hopefully creating a visual output.

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Following from the previous Object-Based activity, here I am then considering the evaluation and conclusion, and taking the process further.

With hyperacusis (and severe tinnitus at the moment), all the different categories of time, reflection, thoughts get mixed-up. As a visual response to that, here I try to put the images as a selection of the pages/mind-flows present in the object, in the mind, but with the key element of disruption and disorder that hyperacusis brings. Somehow the different stages of thoughts are cross-connected and even mixed-up.

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…becoming a mix of data and info (both external and internal) … hyperacusis brings an atmosphere that makes overwhelming to decipher information, causing overload. So, the “clearer” and structured perception and mental processing become hard to analyze and to balance.

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…when the overload builds-up then the sensation is a repetitive matter, that:

  • scales down —–> multiplies —–>

  • reshapes —–> turns —–> scales down —–>

  • multiplies —–> disrupts itself —–>

  • disrupts itself —–> segments itself —–>

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And so here I finally develop the end-piece for the workshop:



Inclusive – Task_03 – Race

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Some thoughts written down…mixing-up the readings and related responses…no editing on purpose as I want to keep them as thoughts…some visual inputs…hope it flows!

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Within the Shades of Noir material, I could include a variety of links and resources to instigate further critical thinking, to show the processes of current debates in higher education, and to also cross-connect with different media art outputs for a more inclusive conversation. The balance with ethics, action, impact in academic steps both from staff and students. I find particularly relevant the connection with the various artistic practices, as well as the connection with social concerns from a macro to micro lens. On a couple of students’ projects this year, I have engaged with the Soul of a Nation exhibition at Tate Modern (http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/soul-nation-art-age-black-power) and this created very interesting discussion not only of the subject but also on a wide variety of artistic media practices and responses to consider. It underlined the importance of social justice education in higher education but in the wider society too, showing how art and design can create effective discussions and underline different voices. I believe more resources and outputs, especially with creative communication, should be available to the wider public too, in order to create different exchanges.

And these exchanges (also reading Tapper’s article http://www.abrahamsvision.org/files/A_Pedagogy_of_Social_Justice_Education_A__Hahn_Tapper.pdf) are key elements for shaping a social justice education model and methods. They can be a way to impact the university scenario, flowing between staff and students recruitment and creative critical practices, as well as being explicit in identifying the disparities and working towards a more balanced system and programme. This can be achieved in my own individual practice with my students and exchanges with colleagues, but it also needs a more larger cross-institutional action in order to affect guidelines and programmes’ roots. And also, perhaps we should work more with outreach and public engagement programmes, allowing open access and open data outputs outside the university setting too.

This might mean, create participatory art collaboration with grass root communities and/or libraries, offsite art installations, pop-up exhibitions, talks, street workshops, etc. And this could engage with Freire’s inputs on Pedagogy of the Oppressed, when we should then look at investigating further the structure of the roles, of the techniques, of the approaches we choose as practitioners. How can we empower more different voice and learn from it? What is the process of positive social change if we don’t put our own role and system into question?

And so here I connect to The Room of Silence film (https://vimeo.com/161259012) where I find very interesting to see a collective response through different students’ voices into how higher education (with a specific case study here, but I believe we could enlarge to many institutions) faces the very concept of race and ethnicity in academic work, practices, environment…I find this piece to be a good critical tool for enabling more social justice education exchanges, also creating provocations to question more our own knowledge and our own responses as lecturers and how we could create ad-hoc open discussions in our curriculum. That said, it came also clear that there is a need for open sharing and for inserting diversity in all its faces as a key aspect of the programmes in education, from professional developments of staff to rethinking how the curriculum is structured. As well as different analyses and approaches from teaching, we need a stronger institutional framework that can support it and can allow a more wide spread understanding of this healthy conversation we are having (without pointing fingers) even just here on this Inclusive Teaching unit.

Reading : Nixon “Public Education” – Reflections

Coding – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Social control? – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Or upholding transformations, changes, experimentations? – – – – – – – – – – – – – – In a flow of democratic thinking and the power of education. – – – – – – – – – – – – – – The masses vs the public – – – – – – – – – – – – – – techno and cultural challenges – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Agency for the many? – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Who are the many? – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Democratic voice online? – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Tension in shaping opinions? – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Are we allowing debate? – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Are we shaping risks to foundation of education? – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Are the masses, the many, in need of containment? – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Do we control it through sharing? – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Should we control it? – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Pluralism as an efficient element of transformations – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Educational flows in inclusivity vs exclusive/excluding – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Technology as “vocationalizing” narrator of educational present and future – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Experience vs knowledge – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Applied practices vs theories – – – – – – – – – – – – – – The tension of possibly opening to too many directions and not filling specialised specific view – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Self critical perspective – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Technological manners of public interventions and public sharing – – – – – – – – – – – – – – The moderation – – – – – – – – – – – – – – But who controls tech-learning? – – – – – – – – – – – – – – How do we reproduce experiences? – – – – – – – – – – – – – – The balance between technological related innovation/thinking and human related everyday senses – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Pedagogy in the adaptive path – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Decoding

Micro-Teaching Session : Reflections

Micro-Teaching Activity

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This was a ten minutes learning activity based around an object chosen by myself. Micro-teaching is something I have already explored with workshops (usually one-day sessions) especially in the arts&culture/gallery setting, working with artworks in the collection to then explore concepts, methodologies and responses further. I have previously worked with children and young people specifically using this methodology, so I found it very interesting to work with a different audience during this task, also focusing on a potentially more open outcome, and also having only 10 minutes!!! (Although it became 15 minutes in order to allow a post-activity chat!)

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Chosen Object

I have used my own notebook-diary as an object. I wanted to open an interaction with it as for me this object is about a collection of time, space, reflection, thoughts, doubts. I also wanted to reflect on the fact that a notebook is a generic object that yet becomes so intertwined with our own identity once we start inputting into it. And so, allowing the focus on my own notebook, I wanted to test if and how some aspects of my identity (precisely some of my Asperger’s/autistic patterns) might come out of it for someone looking at my work diary for the first time, having access to its internal design within my scheduling of each day and week. At the same time, I also wanted to discover some wider considerations and self-reflections that the participants could have brought-up as their responses. I wanted to use this object as a prompt to open a discussion that a longer session could provide in more details, allowing a next step of learning development.

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I have developed the micro-teaching activity on Wednesday 14th March. I could not attend the micro-teaching sessions at UAL, so I have led this during a mind-mapping/planning/development workshop-day I was part of in a studio-lab in London. The space was informal and this framed a very flexible and open approach to learning. Participants were four colleagues working in the art gallery sector: two artists/designers, one education manager and one learning curator.

I have divided the activity in 2 parts:

(Part_1) five minutes of participants led observation

(Part_2) five minutes of exchange, discussion of “findings”, and note-writing

During Part_1 I have let the participants have an open interaction and investigation of the object. The notebook was first looked closed and kept in the same position on the table. The observation had a macro-angle, with participants looking at its position, angle, binding-closure. The object was then taken by one participants and passed between the others; they observed it keeping it closed for a very little time, but it was then opened and put back on the table. At first there was a quick look through, which then morphed into a detailed analysis of some of the pages…somehow a case-study focus was created, narrowing the observation to seven spread of two pages each specifically. You can can see the material below.

During Part_2, the participants discussed their observations and had an exchange of thoughts and comments. A high quantity of repetitive patterns jumped out to the attention of the participants straight away, as well as a tendency to structure thoughts and keywords into squares, cross-connecting with arrows, having a structured and yet an intense aesthetic that could create a feeling of chaos. Another aspect that was noted was the physical texture of the object; its physical identity was also discussed, creating a parallel with the digital diaries most of the participants currently use.

While chatting, they also wrote down their quick responses into post-its. The post-its were actually taken from my notebook-diary itself, because I constantly use them for thinking and reflecting and they could be found in a pocket inserted at the end of the notebook. Following are some images of Part_02 dynamics + also the written the comments.

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Learning from Activity

After the ten minutes activity, five more minutes were taken by the participants to ask me some questions in connection to their observations. During the ten minutes activity I wanted to leave the participants complete freedom into their interpretation of the object, and so I did not give them any clues and/or specific directions for analysis. But at this point I was finally able to exchange with them too; as an informal chat, the main two key aspects raised for a further conversation were:

Patterns: these are patterns that I mainly make daily to balance my autistic response to a space where I am working/teaching/learning. It is a way for me to filter surrounding data, sounds, and to relax and balance reflections.

Physicality and Texture: the physical aspect of the object is important for me, in its variety of sensory feelings. The texture produced by my drawn patterns builds-up a sense of safe environment, as well as something that I then use in my artistic developments. I often use these patterns and their texture as part of both physical and digital artworks I create.

So, with these brief questions and answers, we (as a group) were opening an input for further reflection/discussion on identity, on personal processing, on learning and neurodiversity, pedagogically connecting to inclusive learning too as a wider topic of observation. This was also connected to other things we were going to discuss during our studio-lab catch-up, so it was a good input for a non-pg-cert related professional commitment.

→ ((( One further feedback that I have found very inspiring for my own learning was about how each page can be extrapolated and become a new object. And actually, that is what happened during the session itself as the group decided to focus on a set of selected pages. I think that was a good step that the group took, but I am glad I did not select those pages myself. I think if I had selected that content in advance, I would have changed too much the possibilities that this activity gave to the participants to make their own choices; I would have limited the agency of the participants in taking that decision. In addition, it could have narrowed down the focus of the session a bit too much. )))

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It is fascinating to look at all the different levels and stages that can be present in only one object, and how much you can explore and widen-up from it.

The diary/notebook as an object allowed a good investigation and freedom of choice for the participants. I wanted to create a session that was in part shaped as participants-led (apart the first chosen object!) and I believe that was effective. When running object-based learning, I believe that the participants’ exploration, their own framing of a potential question and/or interpretation, their immersion in the object considering all potential directions is very important to empower the group. With this activity I wanted to focus on a methodology to allow observational skills, awareness and ability to find a voice in an object, participants-led discussion and exchange, critical analysis. I believe this was achieved in different ways and it gave me good inputs to reflect further into the topic.

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Inclusive – Task_02 – Faith

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Some thoughts written down…mixing-up the readings and related responses…no editing on purpose as I want to keep them as thoughts…some visual inputs…hope it flows!

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I grew up in Italy and I was brought-up as a Catholic when I was a child; art and religion were somehow always the main method and connection, even in education, to teach various catholic/christian values and histories. Major artists in Italian history actually painted, sculpted, drew only the religious scripts and human dynamic coming consequently from it. Many artists at different point of history only worked and made a living as artists because the Church commissioned them to create art that was focusing on spirituality…and power we should add. Power that was balanced for human social constructed needs; power that was given by the strength of the religious architecture, by the dimension of the paintings, by the richness of the colours on the glass-windows, by the complexity of the construction of the mosaics.

And so artistic skills in combination with religion were a way of underlining the beauty of infinite and unknown spirituality as well as framing the human condition of belief and role in society. I even remember the convent and the nuns (who I loved a lot) in my primary school time, and how the space was shaped with paintings and sculpture and floor-mosaics in the context of education too. I don’t commonly connect religion within my own artistic practice and/or academic research, but religion was strongly present at the very beginning of my education path. Christian values are present in my way of being still today, and I have family members, friends and colleagues with a variety of religious beliefs and religions/scripts to follow; open conversation and respect if key.

I also have at least three UAL students this year that are looking at religion in relation to design; in the past there were a few other students looking at religion and race, as well as visual spirituality and social construction. My way of teaching and tutoring in these cases is open as it usually is in other projects; every project needs to be taken seriously and analysed in depth. It is interesting to come to term as well with ethnographic and auto-ethnographic practices and how those can also affect the students’ experiences during their processes. In the UK I find that even more exciting as you have a multi-facet cultural society and so the different angles and perspectives can be better contextualised, maybe focusing on case studies if needed, data gathering, self reflections and visual ethnography. From what I have observed from those projects, it was a flow of questioning faith in relation to art&design and vice-versa….

…and then, connecting again to Modood and Calhoun stimulus paper, this questioning and framing and contextualising comes as well into complex thinking about how identity is formed and shaped by cultural frameworks. In a public scenario, how much space we give to discussion and exchange around the topic, how institutions approach and/or how far they believe in diversity, and how the dynamic of treatment of differences is included in daily practices and not only in a written guideline…

…a written guideline that is then reflected by a political belief of some kind, that might change from political party to political party; of course that can have different degree from country to country, but usually a right conservative perspective and a left liberal political perspective is clearly very opposite and can affect national guidelines on equality, tolerance, respect for difference, help others.

And so, here, I just want to link to that cross-connection about written truths (that is also present in BBC lecture on Creed) and how those truths are used religiously and politically to determine and to shape an ad-hoc social constructed truth. And so those scripts (not only as religious texts but also political programmes) are then interpreted in a variety of ways for power dynamics and can be used to turn people against others (see also the use of social media in relation to that) for various topics of immigration, religious minorities, new sub-cultures forming.


Then it becomes clear (at least to me) that the practice of religious values can cross-over obstacles and change (in time and in people and in ideas) that a “following” of a static textual truth cannot give. The complexity of human identity puts us in this reality of struggles…and those struggles can be faced by communication and discussion and respect and openness. And so, as I see these as key elements and ingredients for a better society, I see those as key ingredients of my teaching and learning too.


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Reading : McPheeters “5000 Year Timeline of Learning Theories” – Reflections

Just some thoughts…

Although I found this very interesting and relevant in terms of structuring an overview of Learning within history (with a variety of methods that are present today in relation to a variety of ways of teaching and learning that I also use within my own practice), one part that really distracted me from the whole narrative and also primary reflection is related to something the author says at the the opening of the video itself: “…the US spends more on Education than on Defense”. Really?

The video-piece is from 2011, so I have looked into statistics of different years, and I am struggling to find a year where education in the US was funded more than Defense between 2009 and 2016. Will need to research more here, but I am quite surprised by the opening argument that the author does. And, whilst the historical framework of Learning is indeed very interesting, I am going back into thinking about the Education Systems, about Politics affecting the future of Schools (from primary to secondary), Universities, etc. Not only the US,  but also expanding and taking the input from yesterday’s comments of Theresa May UK Universities, describing them as one of the most expensive university system in the world and how people should consider other ways of learning and growing professionally. I mean, I agree that there are different ways of learning outside of university, but I also think: how can Theresa May talk critically about UK Universities being one of the most expensive in the world, when it is actually her Conservative party with Cameron that put up the students’ fees of 3 times?” I am probably going out of topic in relation to the reading/viewing we had to do (or probably not, maybe I am straight to the point) but how can we talk about learning methods and educational approaches without considering the bigger contextual picture? In history, socioeconomic reasons have shaped the way of learning and teaching too; it is theoretically  important to connect the flow of learning methods and how successfull they might be in connection to how we learn differently, but also what the society wants from the “learning”. Is it individual learning, or is it a public open learning for all?

Then yes, as the video recalls, technology comes now to the table too, allowing a different level of engagement and interaction. But that is a new method…only a method, not a new philosophy for learning. The philosophy of learning has a bigger system to consider and/or to be considered upon.

…just some thoughts.



Inclusive – Task_01 – Gender

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Some primary thoughts with no editing as I want to keep them as first thoughts + some visual responses + some links. Hope it flows!

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Patriarchy is embedded in all societal flows – history has shaped that frame of understanding (even in certain cases subconsciously in contemporary days) and it is challenging to come to conclusions, reflections and thoughts that can overturn it. The socio-political elements of it, in all situations from family environment, to education, to sport, to work, are important to be reflected upon. I have a couple of students looking at the role of male power in graphic design and typography, so will be interesting to open cross-connection not only with gender but with the concept and dynamic that a patriarchal system brings to the table with its socio-political elements, as well as the socio-economic aspects of it, building up the history of the roles of men and women, the expectations given to men and women in a variety of forms, and the dynamic of change, and if change, what change…

Just a few days ago we were celebrating 100 years of women voting in the UK – on February 6th 1918 the Representation of the People Act came to force and women were by law first given the vote in UK. How has patriarchy changed by then? Rooted in historical kingdoms and violence, and powering injustice throughout the centuries. Reading Hooks’s Understanding Patriarchy paper, I find troubling and real the fact that still there is a visible sense of a political and social system that identifies males as dominant, powerful, somehow superior, in charge. I mean, even the current BBC (just as one of the various examples coming to light now..) issues with equal pay between men and women covering same roles of talent, experience, responsibilities.

And then how men (who aren’t patriarchal in their being) can challenge that idea of men. At points, as a man, I want to argue back, trying to bring up examples where this isn’t the case. I analyse further my surroundings and can see that things are changing within new generations (still a lot to change of course…), but I also see how that patriarchal dynamic is so very present in family life, in university, in politics, in religion, in economics. And in certain circumstances, even where patriarchal ingredients are far from present, somehow there are situations that at points recall it. I can reflect on countries where I lived such as Italy, Spain, France, Burkina Faso, the US and the UK. Patriarchal systems, within their different degrees, are actually present in various entities and national facets. And so, perhaps, national identity could also be an area to be analysed in its connection and roots of patriarchal needs…? I wonder what are the relationship with nationalism (from a soft to a more strong believe in it) and patriarchal/dominant flow in life for example. Just mind-mapping here…but this also makes me think further about the internationality of my course and group of students and how we can build-up a constructive discussion around it; but also a cross-exchange with tutors, looking at the roots of our academic disciplines too.

From this, to actually shape a more inclusive debate around this topic, I connect with inputs of Hooks’ paper within religion – I grew-up within a catholic system, went to catholic school (and studied post-school with nuns) until I was 10 years old, and lived in a surrounding flow of catholic structure. I think there are good things in the structure, and in certain values (although I am not catholic) but also we should think of: God as male…? As the father…? As the lord…? Why not immensity without gender? Patriarchy within religion and, as that cannot be detached from a social and cultural aspect of society, then reflects on the forming of diverse shapes of the societal framework, even within its grades of colours within/of patriarchy in relation to faith. And so, when researching or reading about religion and the arts (i.e. music, paitings, sculpture, etc), how can’t we reflect on patriarchal practice then, as it is very present and underlined in the messages that artistic creations are also proposing within their tones, layouts, compositions, colours, narratives.

And then, what role has that played, in consequence, within the political responses…? I think of Italy here, just as an example due to my origin for instance, and how we see constant men’s powers and approaches not only leading the country, but also shaping a cultural discourse that then, at points, translates into not putting ethics first, leaning at times into corruption, scandals, etc…a male chauvinism and sexism that fully reflects the patriarchal philosophy in all its negative aspects. OK…now it just came to my mind what just happened in London last month within a gala for charities and how MPs are calling for action and change now, but how unknown that was? www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/jan/24/women-groped-and-sexually-harassed-at-london-charity-gala

And then, these men are fathers, they are sons, they are husbands, creating psychological imprints of social injustice. A social injustice that then can be fought by men and women who can change it, limiting the patriarchal needs that often come from unseen dynamics, or familiarity…and then often accepted within a “role play”.

And so, roles to play…



Roles to play that then clash with different perspectives. And here, connecting to the documentary on Marsha P. Johnson, a patriarchal system would not accept differences on gender identity, or recognise the importance to value diversity. And so, within the role playing, I start reflecting that performance is then an artistic response to this “role playing” model and scenario of thinking, allowing factors of fashion, music, drama, comedy to come to the surface as arguments and tools for social change and impact. This comes also into graphic design, media art, digital hacks…as well as photography and other creative practices, and so the artistic community questions the boundaries that we are given. Here is something within the Arts Council that I was looking into last year: http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/blog/celebrating-lgbt-community-through-arts-and-culture, as well as this one where I have also worked on with parallel workshops and discussions: http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/queer-british-art-1861-1967, and then this project of a former student of mine, looking at queer identity in art and design, and playing with concepts of product design: http://www.johnphilipsage.com/QUEER-OBJECTS-Exhibition-Design-1

I want to see Grayson Perry’s UAL talk next Wed 14th Feb afternoon, part of the Changing Mindsets programme. If you can go, here is the registration form: http://events.arts.ac.uk/event/2018/2/14/Changing-Mindsets-with-Grayson-Perry-Staff/

Within the arts we can push those boundaries more and more with artistic experimentation and cultural inclusion. But how can we expand outside to create a more open discussion within local communities for example? Personal change to internal institutional change to outreach development for opening new exchanges?