Thinking with Conditions: from Public Programming to Radical Pedagogy in and Beyond Contemporary Art

Graham, Janna. 2018. Thinking with Conditions: from Public Programming to Radical Pedagogy in and Beyond Contemporary Art. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

Text (Thinking with Conditions: from Public Programming to Radical Pedagogy in and Beyond Contemporary Art)
Redacted_VIS_thesis_GrahamJ_2018 (1).pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (6MB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

Thinking With Conditions: From Public Programming To Radical Pedagogy In And Beyond Contemporary Art is a study of the contradictions and possibilities of public programming. Charting a rise in discursive events in galleries since the 1990s, (called public programming), the thesis analyses the claims made for these events as moments in which to create alternative enactments of the public sphere and poses alternatives.

The thesis posits that in our current moment such claims are overshadowed by a mode of post-Fordist production that propels individual, virtuosic and communicative performances, regularly detaching a political kind of speech from meaningful political action. I argue that in this tendency, described by Paulo Virno as ‘publicness without a sphere’ public programming joins a suite of other ‘public’ practices that enact a public pedagogy in which its agents learn to detach passionate and politicised speech from practices in their life worlds. I call this tendency thinking without conditions.

Part I of the thesis examines instances of thinking without conditions in public programming in the arts, and in fields like Education and the Law. Drawing from the work of Paulo Freire, archives of popular education in Latin America and genealogies of Institutional Pedagogy in France, Part II of the thesis argues for thinking with conditions, through radical pedagogy practices that more meaningfully connect what is said and what can be acted upon.

Each chapter is structured around anecdotes drawn from experience working in the fields of public programming through which I have attempted to chart the intersection of micro and macro political concerns as they manifest in everyday working practices. Throughout the thesis I argue that practices of organisation — though often eclipsed by more heroic narratives and thematics in public programmes – are crucial to understanding how radical change can and does take place.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):

Additional Information:

Printed thesis available for reference in Goldsmiths College Library from 1st June 2021.


pedagogy, public programming, contemporary art

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Visual Cultures


31 May 2018

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

25 Jul 2018 14:14

Last Modified:

07 Sep 2022 17:13


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)