Radical Pragmatics: Re-Imagining Workplace Childcare for Art Schools Today

Royal College of Art, MA-level, interdisciplinary weeklong workshop, 27-31 October 2014

Course Outline

An interdisciplinary workshop of MA students across design departments working on collaborative projects to respond to the brief: can we reimagine workplace childcare in an art school today. Composed of core readings to provide historical, socio-political context and contemporary arguments on neoliberalism, labour, and feminism, and including field trips and site visits to places in London that offer various models and approaches to childcare, children, risk, and play. Students presented final projects that challenged what care could be and the relationship of an institution’s infrastructure to its creative work and ethos.

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Radical Pragmatics: Reading List

Fraser, Nancy, “After the Family Wage: A Postindustrial Thought Experiment,” Fortunes of Feminism, Verso, London: 2013. pp.111-138.

Hochschild, Arlie, “So How’s the Family?” So How’s the Family? and Other Essays, University of California Press,  Berkeley, Los Angeles and London2013. pp.47-63.

Hochschild, Arlie, “Inside the Clockwork of Male Careers, with a 1990s Postscript”, 1993 (1973)Kathryn P. Meadow Orlans and Ruth A. Wallace (eds.), Gender and the Academic Experience: Berkeley Women 1952-1972, University of Nebraska Press, pp. 125-139.

An Authors’ Collective, “Preface and Introduction,” Storefront Day Care Centres: The Radical Berlin Experiment, trans. by Catherine Lord and Renee Neu Watkins, Beacon Press, Boston: 1973. pp. vi – xxiii.

Nicholson, Simon, “The Theory of Loose Parts, An important principle for design methodology,” Studies in Design Education, Craft & Technology, 1972, Vol. 4, No. 2.

Royal College of Art, Handbook, 2013

1RCARegulations2013-2014_handbook_2 (3)

Royal College of Art, Children in College Policy, 2014

Children on College Premises Policy 19.3.14

Student Projects

Group A (Jin Young An, Christian Felsner, Melissa Evans, and Tetsuya Hayashi) developed a model for an adventure playground in a disused courtyard which occupies a central place in the RCA original campus in South Kensington. An ambitious work with utopian vision.

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Group B (Sophie Foan, Yixuan Peng, Yoony Choi, Xinyang Tan) suggested various temporary models in their project that could occupy temporaily, disused spaces, underused spaces, and occasional spaces from the outer podium adjacent to Hyde Park, corners of the cafe, to areas of the main galleries. From temporary pop up tents to secret gardens, and lower seating in existing architecture, the modifications to existing spaces were anticipated to be child-led and offer ways to re-integrate children into the art school setting.

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