Civic University

The Civic University is a pedagogical experiment that tests alternative modes of knowledge transfer at work in civic city making, challenging traditional urban teaching and disciplinary restriction. The Civic University manoeuvres across disciplines that complement one another, implementing new ways of knowing and acting. Teaching and learning at the Civic University is symbiotic; by situating its curriculum within live projects in the city, it can mutually provide a support structure back to the local communities, the sites they occupy and for the individuals enrolled.

The Civic University draws together a network of local and international 'civic classrooms' – physical rooms situated within specific areas in a city – where knowledge about hands on city making is produced and disseminated on various topics such as social housing estates, high streets, community gardens, parks and other. 'Civic classrooms' are already set up across London with potential to grow to other sites, forming new partnerships and supporting existing neighbourhood initiatives. 

The emerging curriculum is driven by the needs and desires of local citizens as its base, which is being developed and now brought to the Tate Modern in the course of a three-day program. During this residency, the Civic University continues to develop and grow outside the walls of Tate Exchange.

The Civic University builds on a rich tradition of artist lead initiatives of re-imagining educational models. It will reflect on such traditions, recognising itself as part of a larger movement towards more democratic forms of knowledge production. To map out this history, a growing 'Archive of Alternative Schools and Academies' will be launched during our stay at Tate Exchange.

The Civic University is facilitated by public works in collaboration with the initiatives, R-UrbanThe Old Tidemill Gardens, Interact Roman RoadLoughborough Farm and their associated local groups and networks.  

It is an ongoing collaboration with Professor Robert Mull and his initiative Global Practice Programme.
In its current form the Civic University draws from the students work produced as part of Architecture and Activism, the Civic University Live Project at the Sheffield School of Architecture (SSOA), as well as the ECODA research project on co-designing resilience.
The Civic University is currently supported by UMA School of Architecture in Umeå, Sweden, as part of their ongoing research into alternative models for community engaged city making.
Facebook: @CivicUniversity
Twitter: @TateExchange


A two day symposium at Tate Exchange as part of the Civic University 

Thursday 6th of April, 12pm - 6pm, THE CIVIC
Friday 7th of April, 12pm - 6pm, EDUCATION

Tate Exchange - 5th Floor
Switch House - Tate Modern

Under the title of ‘The Civic University’ public works, a Tate Exchange Associate, is exploring situated modes of education, both as a critique of existing university models, and as a new model where knowledges are produced by and disseminated to the civil society. It takes its point of departure from Jean-Claude Passerine’s  publication Les Héritiers published in 1964 denouncing the institutions role in the reproduction of unequal social structures in the content they teach, the modes of access to education and their methods of teaching. This inequality was reinforced by the coalition government raising tuition fees, the demand of a linear path towards the job market and the move away from big government to ‘the big society’, whilst offering no clear financial strategy of support. This changing landscape demands a closer look at the role the civil society plays in the production of knowledge and the politics of collaborative city making. The Art of Being Civic will bring together activists, artists, academics and architects to discuss pedagogies that enable civil societies actions towards social collective change. It will address how knowledge can play a role in civic activism claiming rights over the city, and act as a critical platform. The first symposium day will explore the role of civil society in relation to contemporary city making, while the second day will focus on pedagogy and education, understanding how and by whom knowledge is produced, who sanctions it and how it is distributed and accumulated.

Tickets for this symposium are free but limited due to capacity. 
To book your tickets click here - please note you’ll need a ticket for each day. 
The Civic University and The Art of being Civic Symposium is supported by UMA School of Architecture in Umeå, Sweden, as part of their ongoing research into alternative models for community engaged city making.