Pre-Sprint 0: The Educational Turn


This Learning Sprint is a ‘Pre-Sprint’.

A Pre-Sprint is a course of preparation that you complete as you start a new Sprint.

You will do this on your own.

This Pre-Sprint is discrete; it contains everything that you need to complete it.


  • In this Pre-Sprint, you will investigate the Educational Turn in art and in curating.
  • You will consider how the Educational Turn in art and the Educational Turn in curating have coalesced since the start of the 21st century into a continuum: art-as-learning-as-art-as-learning-art-as-learning-as-art-as-learning……
  • In addition to beginning your engagement with this topic, the Pre-Sprint Assignment will help you learn how to annotate a text online.

When you complete the Pre-Sprint Assignment, remember to post your Hypothesis ID in the Open Learning MS Teams Channel and in your own Open Learning Portfolio (WordPress Student Tool).

Learning Tools you will use

In addition to MS Teams, you will use one new learning and research tool: (link)

More info on Hypothesis will follow below. You don’t need to think about it for now…

First, read the preamble below…


First, you should watch these two short provocations:

How is the ‘Educational Turn’ manifest in art education? (Dr Jake Watts) (link)

What is the ‘The Educational Turn in the commons? (Dr Emma Balkind) (link)

When you have watched both videos and read the text that accompanies them, you can move on to read the next section>

A Brief Preamble on ‘The Educational Turn’


Since the establishment of Europe’s art academies – such as the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture in 1648 (link) – European art has had what we might call a scholarly focus. From the Renaissance to the 17th century, art schooling slowly became a practice of codifying and reproducing [tacit knowledges](Polanyi, M. (1966). The Tacit Dimension. Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday. ) (Polanyi, 1966) in ways that mirrored the High Scholasticism popular in European universities. European art has continued to be taught predominately in an academic context since.

Collegia Mosaic buried in Pompeii in 79 CE


However, the business of codifying and reproducing artistic knowledges existed long before the establishment of Europe’s art academies, and long before the Renaissance. For example, the workshop-apprenticeship models – found in C18th BCE Babylon, in Roman collegia, that were central to medieval government in Europe and Asia and which survive into the present-day – were precursors of art schooling. So, we would struggle to argue that art suddenly became educationally focused at a particular time.

Art and learning how to make art go hand-in-hand. There are lots of different ways that we can learn how to make art (they are not exclusively ‘academic’). What we might say is that there was a slow turn towards a scholastic model of artistic learning. The workshop-apprenticeship model didn’t disappear, it was, rather, assembled or merged with the European (specifically Christian) scholastic model.

This development could be considered to be a ‘turn’, albeit a very slow one! We need to add the caveat that this turn isn’t totalising; it doesn’t eradicate what came before and it isn’t followed everywhere.

The European Academy model has been successful in raising the status and wealth of artists and so has been reproduced globally; but it is by no means universal. Many countries have no equivalent of the Eurocentric Academies or are only now introducing such a model of art education alongside local learning practices. In countries with histories of genocide and epistemicide – e.g. Canada, Australia – art schools are decolonising their Eurocentric curricula, validating aboriginal programmes and building cultural centres. Moreover, the idea that art training is the same thing as ‘academia’ is not ubiquitous. For example, in Germany, ‘academies’ (Universität) and ‘art schools’ (Kunsthochschulen) are still very much separate educational domains.

What is Marginalia?

Marginalia refers to writing/scribbling in the margins of a text. In the middle ages, scribes would scribble and comment on the edges of manuscripts they were copying. Today, when we add comments to a news article, a YouTube video, a tweet or a blog, we are producing marginalia. Marginalia is a form of critique or para-text. It is a way of working alongside (much like para-gogy). Online, it’s often unhelpful (anonymous trolling).

Your task is to produce marginalia that’s helpful, constructive and supports peer learning.

See: Nicholas C. Rossis


Pre-Sprint Assignment

Marginalia: Annotating Turning


Accepting the above caveats, can we say that there has been a paradigm shift towards the ‘educational’ in art?

If so, what did that look like, and when/where, exactly, did it occur?

So that we have a common starting point, I’d like us all to engage with what Irit Rugoff – in 2008 – called ‘the educational turn’; a shift of attention that became increasingly visible at the turn of the 21st century.

To start with, I would like us all to read Rugoff’s influential text. The text is online (so is an OER, an Open Educational Resource).

Before we all meet for the course induction on Tuesday, please try to read it and start to share your thoughts on it:

Irit Rugoff ‘Turning’ e-flux Journal #00 – November 2008 (link)


How can you read and share your thoughts?

To do this, you need to get into the habit of using an online annotator. An online annotator lets you keep all of your notes on web reading in one place; just as importantly for our purposes, it lets you share your annotations.

Taking notes is viewed as a highly personal activity.


Q. Why would I want to share my notes?

A. As we will discover in this course, we are paragogues. Paragogues share their learning. That means reviewing, sharing and discussing what we read and reviewing, sharing and discussing what we experience. So having a simple means to share your reading notes is useful for how we are learning in this course.

Over this semester and beyond, you will routinely review, share and discuss your own research through techniques like online annotation.

This week, you will start by trying out a popular online annotator,

Annotating Online, A Step-by-Step Guide

Firstly, sign up to

Sign-up to and start getting into the habit of using it to annotate the web.

If you and your your peers share your annotations as much as possible, this can become a key part of your paragogic practice as a CATs.

Here’s how to set up Hypothesis, a free web annotator.

Before you start to read it, go to and sign up to get a free account. Hypothesis is a free web annotator tool that you can use to mark up and comment on anything on the web. Your annotations are indexed and searchable; it’s a very handy tool.

You can create an avatar if you like (rather than use your own name).

Because we are all doing the same activities, I’ve done this already. My (Neil Mulholland’s) Hypothesis avatar is AlexandrPetrovsky

Tip: it’s recommended that you use an avatar (name) other than your own if you want to protect your ID/privacy!!!!

Not working in your browser?:

If you open Chrome, you can add a plugin that will enable you to annotate Rugoff’s ‘Turning’

Remember to share:

Once you create a ID, share it with your Basho in the Basho Teams Channel.

If you are struggling to get to work, do not despair! You just need to do the following:

  1. Download Google Chrome (if you don’t have it already).
  2. Add the Chrome Extension/Plugin
  3. Create a account.
  4. Login to the extension/plugin in Chrome using your account

Secondly, share your Hypothesis avatar with the Open Learning cohort using MS Teams

Very simple. You have your Hypothesis ID you set up with, now post your Hypothesis ID in MS Teams

This will let your peers follow you and allow you to follow them too.

Third, start reading and annotating on your own:

Open your account and login then go to Rugoff’s ‘Turning’ e-flux Journal #00 – November 2008 and start reading. As you read, make notes, queries, comments using Hypothesis.

We will all have different notes and queries to add to this text. Try to raise questions that you think might benefit your group as a whole. Which notes and queries would you want to take to the group/your tutor to try to develop or answer?

You can also simply make notes to aid or remember how you engage with the text.

As you annotate, you might go outside of the boundaries of the text to research key terms, writers, curators, exhibitions or artists. If you find something out, add it to your Hypothesis annotations. That way your peers will benefit from what you learn. If they do the same, you all benefit.

You can look at comments left by your peers. Remember to share your Hypothesis ID in MS Teams to enable this.



☑️ Have you read the text and add your annotations to it using share Hypothesis?
☑️ Have you shared your Hypothesis ID in MS Teams?
☑️ Have you shared your Hypothesis ID in your own Open Learning Portfolio (WordPress)?


If you’ve completed this, then you can move on to familiarise yourself with the Course Induction (link).


Return to Open Learning Timetable

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Neil Mulholland 2022-23



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