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Gabo Camnitzer

This Seed Will Germinate


Guadalajara, México


07/17/2023 — 07/31/2023

Art and education residency organized by LA ESCUELA___, together with Casa Orozco and the Secretaría de Cultura de Jalisco through the Escuela de Artes Jalisco, with participation from Swedish-American artist, educator, and musician Gabo Camnitzer.

The project consists of a space for building bonds of solidarity between groups of teachers and students from Guadalajara and surrounding areas. The workshop will seek to amplify educational justice initiatives that are currently taking place locally, and connect them to larger-scale social demands.

Toward a Toolkit of Counter-Hegemonic Pedagogical Practices

The project Esta semilla germinará: Hacia un conjunto de herramientas de prácticas pedagógicas contrahegemónicas [This seed will germinate: Toward a toolkit of counter-hegemonic pedagogical practices], takes its title from a piece of graffiti written on walls in Oaxaca after the uprising surrounding the teachers strike in 2006. Esta semilla germinará… will consist of a forum for building bonds of solidarity between groups of teachers and students from Guadalajara. The workshop will provide a space for people in education to develop strategies for producing and communicating knowledge that challenges the dominant order, amplifying educational justice initiatives currently taking place locally, and connecting them to educational justice movements elsewhere in the world.

Esta semilla germinará… will connect work being done by different groups to counteract the interrelated effects of colonialism, capitalism, patriarchy, racism, ableism, and heteronormativity. Through a series of conversations and activities, the project will culminate in the production and circulation of pedagogical materials in Guadalajara and beyond. The outcome will consist of a compendium of materials made to raise consciousness, facilitate activist teachers, and provide materials to people interested in the issues discussed.

Gabo Camnitzer: The Student Body (2021). Video, 40 min. Photo: Hai Zhang. Courtesy: Gabo Camnitzer.

Formal education serves the interests of the ruling class, reproducing the existing economic and social inequalities of society. In Guadalajara, like the rest of the world, children’s access to education is dependent on economic standing and social capital. Poverty, gender inequality, and austerity measures are all both causes and effects of educational inequality. As in the rest of the Americas, in Mexico, there exists a two-tiered system of education: one for the class of the privileged, and one for the class meant to serve the privileged. This stratification is particularly pronounced in Mexico, where nearly 20% of the country lives in poverty, making it the second most economically unequal country in the OECD area, and the country with the lowest literacy, math and science scores.

Exacerbating the above issues, is the increasing precarity faced by teachers working in the Mexican education system. Mexico, like many economies, has experienced a major shift away from a unionized public-sector-driven economy to a globally integrated neoliberal one, compounding education inequality, and leading teachers' unions to be increasingly demonized by a privatizing society.
In addition to the economic factors, there exists a large cultural gap within the Mexican school system. As throughout the Americas, the Mexican education system is highly segregated along racial and linguistic lines. Over a million children in Mexico speak an indigenous language as their first language, yet the dominant education system continually erases indigenous cultures and languages by excluding them from decision-making and curriculums.

This reflects the ongoing settler colonial project transpiring in the Americas. While the particularities of the day-to-day exigencies vary from place to place, the overall trends are the same across the Americas. Thus, movement-building efforts should span borders.

Gabo Camnitzer: The Suit of Mirrors (2019). Photo: Gabo Camnitzer.

How can International solidarity in educational justice be constructed in a way that pushes back against globalization? How can art be used as a lens and tool to bring about change through meaning-making and consciousness-raising?

Together, participants in this workshop will create pedagogical and artistic materials that celebrate differences, while cultivating solidarity across them. In this workshop, educators and artists will be grappling with these issues in dialogue with movement workers from elsewhere in the world, exploring pedagogies that counteract traditional schooling's functions of assimilation, extraction, and exploitation. Importantly, participants will focus on the way educational justice is not merely a question of course design, but of addressing the larger context in which education takes place.

GABO CAMNITZER: Esta semilla germinará (Todo lo que cambias te cambia)