Over the next two years (2018–20), artist duo Webb-Ellis will be working with secondary school students at Northfleet Technical College and Northfleet School for Girls, collectively re-imagining ways of being and learning together through the methods of philosophical enquiry, radical listening, dance, movement, and film making.
Eschewing competition in favour of care, the artists will work alongside the students to co-create an alternative environment for learning, where tacit knowledge, imagination and autonomous thinking are central. Drawing from ethics, history, pop culture and science fiction, Webb-Ellis will develop the direction of the sessions in collaboration with the students; listening and responding to what is most interesting, important and urgent to them, and sharing in a genuine quest.
Throughout the project, students will become familiar with the methods of philosophical enquiry: a learning technique that enables people to formulate and express their own thoughts through collective questioning, dialogue and reflection. This practice provides young people with intellectual strategies better equipping them to navigate a complex world which may not always make sense to them.
In collaboration with professional dance artists, Webb-Ellis will use movement in the sessions as a means to explore different kinds of knowledge; inherited, cultural, subconscious and embodied. Where language breaks down, the artists will harness dance as an alternative tool of expression and understanding, and make space for the body to speak, protest, and disobey.
The artists will use these workshops as a form of living research, gathering and sifting ideas and material to build towards a new film installation. The film will be collagic in nature and will grow directly out of their engagement with the young people, including materials created in collaboration and taking its lead from the adolescent experience.
This project is supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.