What is The Study Center for Group Work?
The Study Center for Group Work is an online resource and an in-person network of artists who meet to share methods of collaboration with one another. The Center provides: (1) an online resource of lesson plans, readings, and objects, (2) gatherings for artists to share resources, and (3) accessible public trainings in methods of listening, attention, and collaboration. Just as dancers take classes throughout their lives, the Center aims to cultivate a network of visual artists who are committed to group work through daily practice. It started with an exhibition. Watch a video about it, here.
Why does this exist? Who is this for?
We hope that art spaces, collectives, worker-owned businesses, art classes, and working-groups will use this online library of collaborative methods that have been recommended by artists. If most people have no experience of democracy at work, at home, in school, or online, how can we learn to collaborate? How do we develop a musculature of shared decision making and of shared work?
A few years ago, we began to notice that many visual artists had developed methods of listening and group work. Yet they did not have a way to share their work with one another or with the public. Just as dancers take classes throughout their lives, more and more visual artists are committed to group work through daily practice. We ran a pilot program that took the form of an exhibition called WOUND: The Study Center for Group Work, curated by Stamatina Gregory, at Cooper Union in 2016-2017. The Center was written up in The New York Times, Art in America, and Artforum; we knew it needed to continue. We are excited to share this online library of collaborative methods, and to announce that we will be working with Spaceworks at the New York Public Library to provide trainings throughout the year.
What is a practice or a method?
A practice (or a method) is a way of doing things intentionally to develop an ability or awareness.
What is collaboration?
Collaboration is the action of shared work and also of
shared decision making
. While participation
refers to involvement without shared decision making, collaboration
refers to shared work and
shared decision making. As Dont Rhine, a member of the collective UltraRed writes
, "historically, in political struggles for democratic participation in institutions, communities typically demand civilian control and oversight. What the state delivers in response to that demand is, instead, participation
." With few experiences of shared decision making at home, at school, at work, or online, people often have a hard time learning how to collaborate
What is cooperation?
Cooperation is the action of shared work and also
of shared decision making for mutual aid and economic power. The International Cooperative Alliance defines a cooperative (also known as co-operative, co-op, or coop) as "an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise." See the cooperative section under RESOURCES
for more information.
I want to contribute a practice / method. What are the criteria?
If you have a practice/method for listening, attention, or group work that you teach regularly, and that you would like to share freely, please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
I want to use a method here. Who has permission to do so?
These materials are the intellectual property of the authors (with Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike licenses) whose names are cited on the PDFs themselves. The material on this site should not be copied or used without proper citation and attribution. If you plan to use this material on your own, please cite the contributor and the creator, and consider contacting them to let them know that you plan to do so. You will learn more about the collaborative method if you attend their events and/or hire them to come into your group or classroom. If you feel that attribution has not been properly made on this site, or in an adaptation of a method from this site, please let us know: email@example.com.
Did these artists "create" the collaborative methods here?
In most cases, collaborative methods grow out of collaborative contexts, and therefore cannot have a single author. You will notice that the site says "Contributed By" as the person who is sharing the collaborative method did not create it. The majority of these practices / methods have been passed on from group member to group member, or from student to teacher to student. That said, the artists here have put many hours into adapting collaborative methods and creating the materials here to share. Please contact them, cite their work properly, and ask them to bring the method you are interested in into your group or classroom.
Where else can I learn about collaboration in classrooms and in self-organized groups?
See the resources page on this website.
Go here to for great suggestions about teaching in higher ed classrooms.
Go here to learn about cooperatives (worker-owned businesses): cultivate.coop and nasco.coop.
Who built this site?
, an artist, musician, and programmer, built this site in dialog with Caroline Woolard and Leonard Nalencz.
Why focus on visual artists with practices?
Caroline Woolard - whose opinions differ from many people on this website - says, "I think the visual arts as a field has a lot of growing to do (as compared to the performing arts) when it comes to practices. We need to build our capacity and recognize our collective need for growth, together. In the performing arts, think of the wisdom and rigor of Urban Bush Women’s Entering, Building, and Exiting Community, Pauline Oliveros’ Deep Listening, Sekou Sundiata’s The America Project teaching method, or Liz Lerman's Critical Response process. By narrowing this group to visual artists, or people open to practicing with visual artists, we can talk about how a dedication to practice over project can challenge many norms in the visual arts. We can notice that few visual artists (as compared to many performing artists) are dedicated to sharing their practice. We can grow a dedication to practices in the visual arts with us (ways of doing things intentionally to develop an ability or awareness)."
How is this site funded?
This site was made possible at first through funding from Cooper Union for the exhibition curated by Stamatina Gregory in 2016, and after that, through a grant Caroline Woolard applied for and recieved from the New York Foundation for the Arts'
Arts Business Incubator Program and from a residency at Eyebeam
with Or Zubalsky.
Shouldn't facilitators be paid to develop and share these methods?
Yes, and the artists here have been paid by The Study Center for Group Work to teach their methods. They have chosen to provide these PDFs for free, as they hope that collaborative methods are shared. If you would like to hire someone to come to your group or classroom, please contact them directly. While the Revolution Will Not Be Funded
, and collaboration must be taught, adjunct faculty and all precarious workers have a right to a living wage. Go here to learn about adjunct labor at the New Faculty Majority
. Go here to find your union representative:
for more on this topic.
How did this site start?
This site exists due to ongoing conversations between Caroline Woolard, Stamatina Gregory, and all the artists on this site, including Ultra-red, Shaun Leonardo, the Order of the Third Bird, Project 404, Sick Time with Canaries, Judith Leemann, Kenneth Bailey and the Design Studio for Social Intervention, the Extrapolation Factory, taisha paggett and Ashley Hunt, Jean Gardner and the estate of Paul Ryan, Asha Iman Veal Brisebois and Adelheid Mers, Christopher Robbins, Aaron Landsman, Cori Olinghouse, Melanie Crean, and Chloe Bass.
In addition to these people, recommendations and inspiration comes from Leigh Claire La Berge, Jennifer Monson, Risa Shoup, Alicia Boone Jean-Noel, the Pedagogy Group, including Maureen Connor, Susan Jahoda, Barrie Cline, Silvia Juliana Mantilla Ortiz, Laurel Ptak, James Andrews, Shane Aslan Selzer, Robert Sember, Taraneh Fazeli, Mark Read, and Sasha Sumner, BFAMFAPhD members, including Susan Jahoda, Emilio Martinez Poppe, Agnes Szanyi, and Vicky Virgin, former OurGoods and Trade School co-organizers, including Louise Ma, Or Zubalsky, Chisthian Diaz, Rachel Vera Steinberg, Aimee Lutkin, Rich Watts, Carl Tashian, and Jen Abrams, Social Life of Artistic Property co-authors, including Pablo Helguera, Michael Mandiberg, William Powhida, and Amy Whitaker, and SolidarityNYC members, including Ben Blackshear, Cheyenna Layne Weber, Evan Casper-Futterman, Lauren Taylor Hudson, Michael Johnson, Olivia Geiger, Zara Serabian-Arthur, Annie McShiras, Amelia Bryne, Caroline Woolard, Daniel Apfel, Jessie Reilly, and K. Kenneth Edusei.
2013: Caroline Woolard conceives of The Study Center for Group Work and begins writing grants and speaking with possible partners to open The Center in New York City.
2015: Stamatina Gregory and Saskia Bos invite Caroline Woolard to bring The Study Center for Group Work to Cooper Union in 2016. Stamatina Gregory and Caroline Woolard selected visual artists for the exhibition at Cooper Union based upon these criteria: (1) has a practice that has been taught to other groups and that they now use (practice over author); (2) has a practice that has been refined for years (rigor / commitment); (3) has a practice that is used within anti-racist, feminist, and/or disability justice; (4) has a practice with a beautiful sculptural tool; (5) has a practice with facilitators in NYC.
2016: WOUND: The Study Center for Group Work opens for the first time at 41 Cooper Gallery from October 13 - November 18th, 2016. The study center is featured in Artforum, Art in America, and The New York Times. The exhibition website is here: Wound. After the exhibition closes, the artists gather to discuss how, and if, meetings to share practices of collaboration might be of interest.
January 2017: The Study Center for Group Work recieves a residency at Eyebeam with support from the New York Foundation for the Arts' Arts Buisness Incubator program to develop the website as an online resource. Leonard Nalencz joins Caroline Woolard to move and support The Center. The Center installs portions of the collection at the solidarity economy meeting space at 388 Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn known as The Brooklyn Commons. Leonard Nalencz offers Project 404 practices at the Brooklyn Commons and at Eyebeam. Caroline Woolard hires Danielle Jackson to interview the artists from the exhibition and to facilitate a retreat to share practices with one another and to learn from Generative Somatics.
2018: Portions of the collection travel to Providence, Rhode Island. Portions of the collection travel to Dakar, Senegal.
2016 EXHIBITION PRESS
The New York Times
"Wound” also shows how the art world’s breakneck schedule of exhibitions, fairs and biennials undercuts the ability of socially engaged artists to develop long-term strategies and practices. In this sense, the project works within the time-bound exhibition system while pushing back against it.
- Martha Schwendener, The New York Times
"The word wound is one of the English language’s most powerful and contradictory homographs. As a noun it means bodily damage, a rending of the flesh or psyche; and as the past participle of wind, to have twisted something up. Artist Caroline Woolard defines her social-practice project WOUND, started in 2013, as the latter—like what one does to a clock. And yet “Mending Time and Attention,” an exhibition and a series of workshops organized by WOUND, seeks to heal the pain inflicted by late capitalism’s compartmentalization and commodification of time."
- Wendy Vogel, Artforum
Art in America
"When artists create opportunities for support and mutual aid rather than unquestioningly competing with one another for meager resources, they open a small space of resistance to the divisiveness that comes from an economically precarious existence. The brainchild of Caroline Woolard, a sculptor and social-practice organizer who has initiated various barter-based endeavors in New York, and curated by Stamatina Gregory, this group exhibition with work by seventeen artists and collectives is meant to be the first incarnation of Wound, a membership-based study center whose name suggests the activity of setting a clock. Attention and time, two things atomized by digital technology, are the focus of the objects displayed on the walls and tables and in the vitrines."
- Cathy Lebowitz, Art in America
If you want to get in touch with the people who work on this site, or suggest a collaborative method, please email us.
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