The Workgroup Art Educators was initiated in February 2021 to facilitate discussion and knowledge exchange between art educators, about the current situation of art education in the Netherlands. At different academies, educators have been working alongside students, to hold academies to account for their failure to provide sufficiently and equally safe and supportive conditions to all students and staff, to push for better institutional policies and practices, while also reconsidering their own (departmental) practices. This is complex, mostly unpaid labour that has an energetic and emotional toll, especially for those who are already working in precarious conditions, with small appointments, temporary or no contracts, and high workloads. In conversations it became clear that there is a desire to connect and exchange between (and even within) academies.
Therefore, the workgroup has started to hold monthly meetings that give room for updates from different academies, followed by a working session around a specific topic. The aim of these working sessions is to pool practical knowledge: about workers’ rights, grassroots organisation, ways to work within institutional structures (e.g., participation councils), as well as specific processes such as code of conduct development and implementation. Often a guest is invited to speak on a specific topic. The workgroup is in conversation with existing labour unions and looking into other possibilities of collectivisation.
Art education (studying, teaching, institution (re-) building) is an integral and important part of the art field and better working conditions for staff go hand in hand with better care for students. The workgroup Art Educators aims to support a certain continuity of attention and of a collective learning process that will hopefully support the long-term work within the different institutions.
On October 18th, 20:00-21:30, we organise our first Open Session, which is open to any interested members or supporters. During this session, the workgroup will introduce itself, share accounts and knowledge from the earlier sessions that have been held, and its planning of future sessions. The meeting takes place online. Are you a teacher or member of the support staff at any Dutch art academy, and interested in joining? Send an email to email@example.com to receive the link to the meeting!