Since 2013, in collaboration with other academics, Rían Lozano and I have conducted the seminar “Visual Culture and Gender” at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
In our seminars we have embraced personal experiences in the process of (un)learning to explore the possibilities of an “engaged pedagogy” (1), both feminist and critical (2). As such we have encouraged creative formats of (un)learning, and the groups of participants have used different formats such as debate, visual methods, physical exercises, video, performance, radio (the classroom as a radio booth) as the basis of their activities. However, we hadn’t yet opened the very process itself of conceptualizing/producing (3)/facilitating/giving a seminar. In this regard, in April 2015, we invited those participants of the seminar who would be interested into a group, in order to deepen the research and debate on and diversify the approach towards texts as much as to discuss the proposals of the seminar’s guests. Initially twelve people joined, eventually seven stayed. This is the research and working group MANU(EL)(LA) (4), a group integrated by participants from different disciplines, levels of education, and people currently not enrolled in any educational system. The group is involved in the conceptualizing/producing/facilitating/teaching of the seminars TRADUCCIONES DESCOLONIZADORAS I y II / DECOLONIZING TRANSLATIONS I and II (semesters August-December 2015 and January-May 2016).
semester 2016-II (January-May 2016): Cultura visual y género. TRADUCCIONES DESCOLONIZADORAS II: NEPANTLERAS, ARCHIVAS (DIY) Y REPERTORIAS (DIWO) (con MANU(EL)(LA))
semester 2016-I (August-December 2015): Cultura visual y género. TRADUCCIONES DESCOLONIZADORAS I o ¿cómo crear una lengua tercera, una lengua puente? (with MANU(EL)(LA))
semester 2015-II (January-May 2015): CULTURA VISUAL Y GÉNERO: ESTRATEGIAS DESCOLONIZADORAS EN EL USO DE METODOLOGÍAS, INVESTIGACIONES Y PRÁCTICAS ARTÍSTICAS
semester 2015-I (August-November 2014): Cultura visual y género. Contravisualidades latinoamericanas y producciones culturales a-normales
semester 2014-I (August-November 2013:) Cultura Visual y Género. Estética performativa y Prácticas drag
(1) bell hooks, Teaching to transgress: education as the practice of freedom (New York: Routledge, 1994); Teaching community: a pedagogy of hopes (New York: Routledge, 2003).
(2) We depart from five of six guiding principles of a critical postmodern feminist pedagogy proposed by the feminist educators Jeanne Brady & Audrey Dentith: “students’ experiences as central to teaching and learning; provisions for safe spaces in the development of students’ voices; the revision of centers and margins to understand power and agency; the recognition of difference as central to the recogguration of existing social boundaries; the development of a language of critique and possibility”. See Jeanne Brady & Audrey Dentith, “Critical Voyages: Postmodern feminist pedagogies as liberatory practice,” en Teaching Education, Vol. 12, No. 2, 2001: 165-176.
(3) In this sense, we consider the research project Student as Producer at the University of Lincoln (2010-2013) important: “Student as Producer is a development of the University of Lincoln’s policy of research-informed teaching to research-engaged teaching. Research-engaged teaching involves more research and research-like activities at the core of the undergraduate curriculum. A significant amount of teaching at the University of Lincoln is already research-engaged. Student as Producer will make research– engaged teaching an institutional priority, across all faculties and subject areas. In this way students become part of the academic project of the University and collaborators with academics in the production of knowledge and meaning.”
Since 2014, Student as Producer remains the underpinning principle for teaching and learning at the University of Lincoln. More see http://studentasproducer.lincoln.ac.uk/
(4) MANUEL)(LA) was formed by Axler Yépez Saldaña, Valerie Leibold, Alejandra Gorráez Puga, Amor Teresa Gutiérrez, Toño Hernández, Nina Hoechtl, Rían Lozano, Coco Magallanes, Mauricio Patrón, Ariadna Solís. Its members’ age ranged from 23 to 39 years, five were Mexicans, one is binational, living in Mexico the last 14 years, three chose Mexico as their place of residence, being there since 8, 6 and 4 years.
Our goal was to create a group of analysis, debate and proposed actions that are informed by artistic and cultural practices from a partial and situated perspective. The core of our research and practice, in the frame of the Campus Expandido MUAC/UNAM, revolved around our approach to visual culture, gender, de(s)colonial studies, artistic and cultural practices, feminist, transfeminist, queer/cuir criticism; and we commited to a collective process of (un)learning and formation of strategic actions that situate us as researchers closely linked to social pressing needs of our immediate surroundings, but no strangers to events elsewhere.