“In light of the increasingly widespread pressure to work with one or more others, we should reflect on how such collaborations can be implemented, as well as on their stakes and underlying expectations.
During an “itinerant school” session organized by a teacher, a pre-primary education specialist assistant, a youth worker, the project’s creator François Deck and myself, we discussed the possible collaborations between the different professions involved with schoolchildren. The experience allowed us to share the difficulties of working together in terms of the rules and time management.
With [co-], I propose to continue the experience with an investigation of “open schools”. In 1969, an initiative of the postwar movement of popular education called “Francs et Franches camarades” sought to establish in a “unity of location a unity of education” (Noëlle Monin) meant to be global, co-educational and based on cooperation between a number of things, school and leisure; students, teachers, and parents; the different age classes; and “inside” (the school) and “outside” (the city).
Some of these schools, for instance la Maison des Buttes founded in 1972 at La Villeneuve de Grenoble, were inscribed in a global urban planning project that attempted the real-scale concretization of a utopian form of community life. As for the two education experts who worked with the architects in charge of the project, Rolande and Raymond Millot, they came from the experimental schools of the 20th arrondissement of Paris. The project led to the development of a network of experiences between Île-de-France and French regions, with the hope of revolutionizing the spaces and methods of education.
The [co-] project aims to meet the people who contributed to the project in Paris, Grenoble and elsewhere, paying particular attention to both the organization of the (architectural and urban) space and the alternative pedagogy it proposed, and to continue the debate launched by the initiative Un compodium (2016—2017) on alternative pedagogies and their relationship with cooperative art practices and co-creations.” (Marie Preston)
This project has been carried out in collaboration with the Community center Mik'Ados (Brétigny-sur-Orge), Le Grand Café—centre d’art contemporain (Saint-Nazaire) and the experimental highschool of Saint Nazaire.
Marie Preston is a graduate of the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts in Paris with a PhD in the visual arts and the art sciences. Since 2003 she has been developing a body of work and research based on encounters with people who, on the face of it, are not artists. Photographs, sculptures, performances, and films take shape according to a range of modalities run from the representation of specific experiences to collective actions. Preston is a lecturer at Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis and a member of Teamed (Équipe de recherche Esthétique des nouveaux médias/Laboratoire Arts des images et art contemporain-EA4010). She mounted a solo show at Mains d’Œuvres in 2014 and recently took part in the exhibitions “Commérages” at MAC VAL in 2015; “L'Heure des sorcières” at Le Quartier (Quimper) in 2014; “Tropicomania: la vie sociale des plantes” at Bétonsalon—Centre d’Art et de Recherche in 2012; and “Brigadoon” at La Tôlerie (Clermont-Ferrand) in 2013. Her project Le Pommier et le Douglas, shown at Treize (Paris) in 2013, was included in the collection of the Centre national des arts plastiques.
Since 2015, Marie Preston has been researching the history and function of local specialized preschool assistants (or ATSEM—agent territorial spécialisé des écoles maternelles). Vis-à-vis the community where CAC Brétigny is located and with the aim of initiating a local artistic experience, Preston invites anyone interested in pedagogy (pre-school and primary school levels) to reflect on the interdependence of the different actors accompanying the pupils and on the possible ensuing forms of cooperation.