Radical Sabbatical 2019
ESP and the University of Birmingham have teamed up to offer residencies during the 2019 spring term that will provide a unique platform for artists, writers and curators to work with academics and develop new ideas and research.
During the afternoon session, academics and artists that have previously worked with researchers at the University will participate in two discussions around this terms themes COMMON-WEALTH and THE UNCONDITIONED MIND. The academics will discuss how their research connects to the thematics, whilst the artists will give insight into their interpretations of the themes and how they may have chosen to work with the subject matter. These short presentations are designed to kick-start collaborations, conversations and ideas about how artists and researchers might work together.
About the Themes
Framing ‘common-wealth’ as a consideration of different ways of being with others, Radical Sabbatical 2019 calls for creative and academic responses exploring the effects of our current global political and economic climate on our social and national identities.
The distribution of common resources, whether environmental, cultural, digital, urban, economic or land, continually works to benefit some, but at the exclusion and detriment of others. But can this continue? and if not, what might an alternative future look like? We ask what the concept of the ‘commons’ means for current political and social interactions? And perhaps most crucially, how do we negotiate our understandings of ourselves as a C/commonwealth or towards a common-wealth?
• common meaning shared or public;
• commons meaning land/resources belonging to the community;
• commonwealth as an aggregate or grouping of states/bodies;
• Commonwealth as an international association of states previously part of the British Empire;
• common-wealth as the common good
Intentionally open to interpretation responses could incorporate ideas relating to the commons, undercommons, future cities, utopia/dystopia, nation and state, national identity, migration, displacement and diaspora, socio-economics, housing/homelessness, freedom of information/resource, commercialisation of social life.
THE UNCONDITIONED MIND
Considering understandings of the mind as both a medical and spiritual organ Radical Sabbatical 2019 welcomes multidisciplinary responses to the concept of The Unconditioned Mind, questioning the ways that we are conditioned and exploring alternative ways of being.
Advancements in medical practice and technology have allowed access to the physical mind through visual medical imaging in ways never before possible. But where will this sophisticated relationship to our bodies and science take us, and what relationships can science and more esoteric understanding of our minds create?
Recent press and media attention towards mental health in society has been driven by a government agenda of categorisation and self-awareness. However, the understanding of the mind and its transitional states has been common practice within spiritual learning and exploration for centuries. Are we moving towards a medicated society, and if so what behaviours and traits will move us between medical classifications? Are there other ways to consider traits often characteristic of ill mental health and would the genius of yesteryear be considered stable today? Finally, within our highly constructed and mediated modern existence is there still room in society for behavioural deviance?
We encourage applicants to think openly about The Unconditioned Mind, and the various components that this theme covers. Responses could include issues around mental health, wellbeing, mind and body, memory, neuro science, conditioning, cognition and perception, genius, and policy.