“What is this learning that gives us agency to cope, resist and change current conditions and ‘make other worlds possible’ from wherever and whatever is our position: as practitioners, activists, artists, researchers, students and ordinary citizens?” — Doina Petrescu, Learn to Act for an Engaged Everyday Life (2017)1
In the rural North East of Scotland, SSW is commissioning artist collective Myvillages as their first BE PART Fieldwork, to learn from and with the multitude of rural knowledge systems held within the local community. This will form a part of their Rural School of Economics.
MyVillages understands the economy as the way we assign value to things and organise relationships – it is social, cultural and should benefit those who make it. They believe the rural is multiple, entangled and complex, beyond the urban utopian gaze. It is a site for contemporary knowledge production and exchange.
The Rural School of Economics will be created with and around those who practice informal economies within rural communities. The School will create a space for transnational knowledge exchange, collective working and organising. It will take place in sites close to SSW where these multiple economies are practiced and where mutual relationships with the non-human are valued. The classrooms will be the fields, sheds, tracks, village halls and living rooms of the students and teachers (who are one and the same). Learning together, we explore how everyday lived experience of the rural can be key to a non-capitalist, decentralised and ecologically conscious future.
Myvillages was founded by artists Antje Schiffers, Wapke Feenstra (NL) and Kathrin Böhm (UK/DE) (DE) in 2003. Myvillages’ work addresses the relationship between the rural and the urban, looking at different forms of production, pre-conceptions and power relationships, whilst passionately questioning the cultural hegemony of the urban. www.myvillages.org
1 Petrescu, D. 2017. Learn to Act for an Engaged Everyday Life. In: Myvillages, ed., The Rural, 1st ed. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press and Whitechapel Gallery, p.p. 45-49.