Education is about the practice of freedom

Since the beginning of our work together as a team, at Nomadways we aim at introducing perspectives that are different from the normative ways of looking at the world. Oh, especially from those connected to Eurocentric white male gaze.

Feminist Pedagogy

Referring to feminist movement tradition that addressed the need for social change through formal and informal educational strategies for empowering the self and building community, in 2017 as a team we decided to include Feminist Pedagogy’s approach in our work.

Artwork created by our Anne Merlin.

Feminist pedagogy is a way of thinking about teaching and learning, rather than a prescriptive method. As such, it is used in different ways and for differing purposes within and across disciplines and learning environments. It can be also described as a continually developing phenomenon that invites teachers and students to work against hierarchical relations.

Last year we started designing several workshops that are about to use this pedagogy. In 2018 our training “WeMen” will take place — it aims at addressing the gender clichés and fighting them with artistic methods. We explained a bit more our ideas and way to look at the feminist challenges in our article “I am a feminist, but…”. Our next experimental training on gender challenges will be “Digitale” which will explore the methodology of digital storytelling.

bell hooks on education

One of the iconic books is Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom by bell hooks. In her text she proposes an engaged pedagogy to counteract the overwhelming boredom, disinterest, and apathy that so often characterizes the way people feel about the teaching and learning experience. For hooks, teaching is a performative act that offers the space for change, invention, spontaneous shifts and learning is a place where paradise can be created.

Hooks speaks to the heart of education today: how can we rethink of teaching practices in the age of multiculturalism? How should we deal with racism and sexism in the classroom? She investigated the classroom as a source of constraint but also a potential source of liberation.

Artwork by Angelica Becerra.

She believes that education should go beyond achieving a certain level of knowledge, the development of professional skills and/or conformity to the status quo, but rather to nurture a reflective and critical stance to reality. The pedagogy calls for a re-conceptualization of the knowledge base, linking theory to practice, student empowerment, multiculturalism and incorporation of passion, to make learning more engaging and meaningful.

Education as a practice of freedom

This is a way of teaching that anyone can learn. Teaching students to ‘transgress’ against racial, sexual and class boundaries in order to achieve the gift of freedom — that for hook is teacher’s most important goal. Educators must be actively involved and committed to the process of self actualization that promotes their own well-being if they are to teach in a manner that empowers students. Educators must be aware of themselves as practitioners and as human beings if they wish to teach students in a non-threatening, anti-discriminatory way.

Photo by our Ål Nik.

Freedom is the process that draws on the creative energy. Education, no matter formal, non-formal or informal, remains a place for all sorts of possibilities. There we (educators and students) have the opportunity to labour for freedom, to demand of ourselves and our comrades openness of mind and heart that allows us to move beyond multiple boundaries.

Stay tuned to our upcoming workshops that take place in Europe. Everyone is welcome to apply!

Article by our amazing Kika (Nomadways team), who studies Gender Studies — Intersectionality and Change at Linkoping University, Sweden.

About Nomadways

We craft international workshops for artists, educators and youth workers. Together we create pedagogical artwork, share and invent practical solutions to social problems.