Talking Points

Why is a Creative Center Needed.

As a group we decided to look into the reasons why a creative school was needed… if “our” children are being taught for five days a week, should there be a need for a creative school? Or is creativity being ignored in school? And how important is creativity?

From our earliest days when we open our eyes and gaze in wonder,taking in this new world that is opening itself up to us, everything and everyone that we are surrounded by, is an aid to the exploration of our creativity. It is from this creativity that we have the capabilities to be able to express our wants and needs. If we lose our creativity, or chose to ignore it in what ever form we use it, we will lose out to a deeper extent then what is imaginable.

Ken Robinson is an author, speaker and international advisor on education in the arts, to the government, non-profit organizations and education and art bodies. He is a firm believer in an overall revolution of the educational system because schools kill creativity. We are educated to become skilled workers rather then creative thinkers, and live and work in a system that edges people out of their creativity, and sometimes even stigmatizing them.

We live with the fear of being wrong, the terror of the mistake, but what can be achieved that is original without the fear of being wrong so empowering. We have to be prepared to be wrong. But by the time we enter adulthood we have so much fear of being wrong that our creativity can be rendered as null, void… instead of growing into creativity, we are educated out of it.

THis is a direct result of the education system being set up as a means to supply workers to meet industralism, at the time of the industrial revolution. All educational systems around the world have the same model, the same hierarchy of subjects… at the top maths and language, beneath them humanities, and underneath that the Arts. But the arts has its own hierarchy, with art and music having more importance then drama and dance. The role of the educational system guided you away from creativity because in the industrial age, you were needed as a battery to power this industrial revolution.

Because the educational system, not just here but all over the world is a tool and means to guide people towards A University Degree, many great creativie people have slipped through the net. Yet in 30 years time a degree will mean nothing because by then the world will be overcrowed with people with degrees, so people will need an Ma to get that job…or a Doctorship!

Whats happened is that the education system has used our minds, and like digging for coal or certain fuels, it was looking for certain commodities, underlying the richness for human capacity. What we are presently doing is dislocating people from their natural talents, and as a society we need to change this…not reform, because that just improves a broken model…but we need a complete overhaul, a revolution! Education should be agricultural rather then industrial … because the human mind is organic!

Sugata Mitra is an education scientist, who set up a series of experiments, starting in india but went on to cover the majority of the world. What he did was set up a computer in a slum and let it there with a hidden camera.

What he discovered, and it was the same results throughout the world was that in the absent of formal teaching or supervision, that children can teach themselves and others if motivated by curiosity and peer interest. Children will learn to do what they want to do. Using many different experiments through out the world, he proved that left to their own devices, or just slightly aided, that we have a natural capacity to learn, and be creative, although our educational system directs this curiousuty, sometimes in the wrong direction.

Arthur c clarke is a author, inventor and futurist, mostly known for his work a space odyssey 2001 : he argued that if a teacher can be replaced by a machine then it should be, and also that if children have interest, then education is a by product of that.

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Death by Corporation – The English?

It is argued that for the first time in the history of the human race, the 19th century propelled the vast majority of people in the Western World to take employment in a new system in which goods were produced for sale only and not for personal consumption. This system became known as the Capitalist system. One where joint corporations, the minorites, have control over the the mass populations.

In ancient Ireland, this corporation were our neighbours across the irish sea, and the name of this corporation was the British Empire. And this empire done for centuries was to surpress the influence of irish trade. Systematically and ruthlessly wiping out Irish trade in all capacities, to such a degree that it has no parallel in the history of any other nation.

A land that by its very nature was favoured by the elements, yet for all its glory and its natural assets, was one of the poorest in europe. Britian cutting his oxygen source.

British historian James Anthony Froude commented that England had governed Ireland for what she deemed her own interest , making her calculations on the gross balance of her trade lodgers, leaving her moral obligations aside as if right and wrong had been blotted out of the statute book of the universe.

Irish historian William Hartpole Lecky added that it would be difficult in the whole range of history to find another instance in which various and powerful agencies agreed to degrade the character, and blast the prosperity of a nation…

And all for money….

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Corporation : The Facts

Corporations dont originally set out to be bad or to do bad, that is just a product of their system. The big executives get paid in bond shares so it is in their interests to keep driving for more profit so that they can sell their shares for a bigger margin. It is no unknown for an executive to earn 90,000,000 a year.!

These are well respected, well educated, charming individuals who dont get turned on by money anymore, they get turned on by power.

“the power to influence and to actualise what you believe in or have been programmed to believe in by your education and your social contacts.”

The legal process or incorporation gives all the rights of a person to a corporation yet also shields the owners from liability. The worker loses their own constiutional rights when they enter the work place. Since 1940 corpoartate tax has fallen from 33% to 15% while in the same period individual tax had risen from 44% to 73%. the world trade organisation gives corporations more power then the US enviromental and labour laws so dont look to corporations to do the right thing for people or the economy or the enviroment because it is just not in its interest.

The main influence is called the Revolving Door – where government officials that are in charge of regulating corporations later become corporate employees or know that they can if they are obident and do a good job of defending the corporate interest while employed in government.

100 largest companies – 51 are global corporations
Richest 1% of americans own 40% of all U.S assets
Assets of 358 billionaires = the combined assets of half the worlds corporations.

Corporations were used to aid the expansion of the state and served to expand colonial and imperial interests as well as help in the war efforts between empires.

“i see in the near future a crisis that concerns me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country…. corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavour to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggreviated in a few hands and the republic is destroyed.”
Abraham Lincon

there is a great quote in the godfather movie when Micheal (al picino) is talking to his wife kate about his father…. My father is just like any politician of business man kate…they are the same …

Dont be so niavie Micheal, business men and politicians dont go around killing people….

WHOS BEING NIAVE KATE…

Books- Worlds wasted wealth
Economic Democracy
Political struggle of the 21st century JW SMITH

The Long 20th Century – Giovanni Arrighi
Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism
DVD – The Corporation

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Whats The Motivation

With Social Practice being so loosely defined, what is the definition of socially engaged practice in art, its historical context and how it has come to develop. What motivates artists to become involved in such practices and how does public involvement facilitate such practice.
From the early caveman days of them decorating their dwellings with illustrations and scribes as a means to pass on valuable lessons, be it hunting tips etc, all the way through to the first world war, dadaism and beyond, Art, and in particular Art in social practice, can be difficult to define. The term and discipline of social practice pools its sources from so many different fields. Art History, Architecture, Urbanism, Planning, Theatre and even Advertising, with some commentators today even arguing that Social Practice is a new form of activism. So is protest dead, and could Social Practice be a reaction to that reality?
Throughout history, art has always been viewed as representing a certain class, an elite view, who had the opportunity to attend or were invited to the many private showing galleries. Yet it was protest, activism and revolution that opened the doors to these private galleries for public viewing.
One of the very first public exhibitions came about as a result of the French Revolution. After overthrowing the French monarchy, the royal palace was opened up for the first time to the public, who had the opportunity to freely view the work that was on display throughout the palace. Although the works that were housed inside were not that of a socially engaged nature, the single act of facilitating an exhibition inside the royal palace in itself brought about a social change simply through the participation of the public.
So did the artist give the art back to the public, or did the public regain it through their very own revolution? What is known is that exhibitions grew, it became increasingly more evident that the act of going to an exhibition began to lose some of its social context, thereby resulting in reducing the role of the active public to that of one of a passive audience.
 
Josef Beuys was a German performance artist, sculptor, installation artist, graphic artist, art theorist and a pedagogue of art, who amongst other things is credited with coining the term, “everybody is an artist”.
The knock on effect of this statement was that by declaring this, Beuys was beginning to take the ego back from the artist and starting to redistribute it back into the public domain.
 
By taking the artists out of the studios and back into the public domain, the creative process began to represent a two way stream of collective thoughts and ideas. By concluding with the term that “everybody is an artist”, Beuys was putting forward his argument that because of this change, he was confident in the ability of art to bring about a revolutionary change.
 
An example of the process of this type of work would be “In the Rope”, a piece created by Linda Montano and Tehching Hsieh. This work involved the two artist setting up an intense act of personal intrusion, a pact where they tie themselves together for a year, using a rope of eight feet long. These artists work away from the mode of studio and take art into the everyday detail of life, for 365 days of the year, thinking of art not just as a situation, but of every situation. This work corresponds with what Kester describes as art taking a gradual shift in the 60`s and 70`s away from the object based work to be more dependent on direct physical or perceptual interaction with the viewer, that is durational more then instantaneous.
 
 
Justin Langlois, is an artist whom is known for his work in integrated media and social practice, and believes that social practice should be aimed at enacting social change. Langlois agues that traditional forms of protest are ineffective in advancing any agenda and it is only when artists become community leaders will that protest become effective.
 
In more recent times as the subject of Social Art Practice has evolved, there has been a significant shift in how it is experienced. It could be better described as being about the notions of what are socially engaged, creative acts that create a concrete intervention in social situations and statements of intervention,which are removed from the traditional art materials and which are no longer produced in the studio.
 
Take the issue of Joe McNamara, a citizen who drove a dumper truck into the gates of Dail Eireann representing an act of what could be determined as a Social Art gesture. Is this citizen an artist? Has a two way stream between the public and an individual become a subconscious flow? Are the public now becoming artist even unknown to themselves.
Joe McNamara was reacting not only to his own situation but also to that of a social situation involving politics, protest and the public.
 
In a recent survey taken in our own class of “Social Practioners”,  only one in ten stated that their occupation could be determined exactly., for many were operating from mum to builder, to shop keeper and cleaner, so maybe the question has changed from one of “what is art”, to one of “what is an artist”.
 
Therefore now it could be argued that as a result of this shift, Social Art Practice is becoming more and more difficult to define, as it rapidly emerging as a new constantly changing, totally diverse practice that seems to have quiet an endless array of possibilities.

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Limerick, A Brief History

The Development of Limerick

Honan Merchants

” The unfolding of a hidden history “

Sarah McNamara

Martin and Mathew Honan built what is known as Honans Quay. Their main pre-occupation was the development of the City, reform of certain public practices, and improving citizens lives.

“Alas too many afar have flown

From the Olden City and the Treaty Stone

Away far over the ocean tide

To foreign lands where waves divide. “

Mathew Honan started the widespread advance of commerce, like the imports and exports to Limerick, which helped in the rise of prosperity that we have today.

The dismantling of the walls of the ancient City in the 1700s opened up an new era of vigour and enterprise led by the business community.

In a time of Famine when every Merchant refused the appeal of the major for help, Mathews was the only merchant to agree to provide food for the starving.

” The Honans as Merchants used means to

aquire money and riches, but never failed

to reckon the real value of wealth in

terms of service to others, particulary

the less fortunate. “

Inscription over the door of Parteen School :

Erected For Education

Of the Poor of the Parish

by Martin Honan, Quinnsboro, AD 1834.


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Potrait of Limerick

Mainchin Seoighe

City began in 922 as a Viking settlement. On this island is St Marys Cathedral, the Great norman Fortress and the ancient streets which later gave way to the Modern City. Across Thomand Bridge is the Treaty Stone, who`s base reads a message …..


Urbs antiqua fuit studiisque asperrima belli


It was an ancient City hardened in the pursuits of war

Another City folklore is the curse of St Munchin. St Munchin asked a number of natives to help him in the movement of a heavy block but they refused him. Then some time later a few strangers passed and when he asked for help they gladly assisted him. After that Munchin prayed that from then on strangers would always prosper in Limerick but that the natives would always be unfortunate and unsuccessful ….. perhaps true until the rise of might Munster.!

I have made my choice

and leave with little weeping:

I have come with meagre voice

to count the language of my people.

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Bygone Limerick

The City and County in Days Goneby

Hugh Oram

Danish Vikings – 922

For over a century the native Irish attacked the settlers. Then Brian Boru banished them, The High King of Ireland. Normans then captured the town in 1194, and sooon after St Marys Cathedral was constructed, Limericks oldest building.

There were more revolts over the centuries, 1571 led to the Gearldine Revolt against the English. 1691 after the Battle of the Boyne, Limerick was beseiged for two months by William of Orange.

In the 19th century Limerick was industrialised, yet still remained a two tier society and city. Small numbers of entrepreneurs occupied an exalted place as the cream of society, a disparity that lasted well into the 20th Century and is still very evident today.

But above all Limerick is renowed for its people …. independant, questioning, quirky, quizzical, rebellious, and all in a way that is not as evident in the rest of the country.

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Exploring Limericks Past

An Historical Geography of Urban Development

in County and in City

Patrick J O Connor


” in a larger sense the past never whooly dies: it

lives on, buried in the minds of men and in the landscapes that they have fashioned. “


E. Estyn Evans

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Georgian Limerick 1714 – 1845

Volume 2

David Lee & Christine Gonzalez

The glaring contrast between the prosperous middle class district of Georgian Limerick, and the terrible poverty existing in the poorer areas and in the writings of Thackieray, Inglis and Balch, their is a general consistency in their descriptions of the ghettoised areas.


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John Barrow after walking the streets of Limerick in 1835 …

” nothing i have seen equalled the streets and houses of this old town … for their dirty, dingy, dilapidated condition; the people at the doors, the windows, and in the street, ragged, half naked and squalid in appearence. “

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Henry D inglis … travel writer…

” i know no other town in which so distinct a line is drawn between its good and its bad quarters, as there is in Limerick Town. “

What happened was that in the New Georgian District a certain “type” of person moved in. The professionals. Lawyers, doctors, surgeons, actioneers, private tutors, architects, as well as commercial business such as banks, insurance, newspapers, hotels etc…

The exodus into the New City did not include the poor and did very little to improve their slums in the English and Irish Towns.

Again Henry D Inglis visited in 1834, and visited the parts where the greatest destitution and misery were said to exist. He entered 40 houses …..


” let the worst be imagined, and it will not be beyond the truth. At least three quarters of the hovels which I have entered, there was no furniture of any description save an iron pot, no table, no chair, no bench, no bedstead, two, three or four little bundles of straw, with perhaps one or two scanty and ragged mats, were rolled up in the corners, unless where these beds where found occupied. “

” in a cellar which i entered and which was almost quiet dark and slippery with damp, I found a man sitting on a little sawdust. He was naked: He had not even a shirt: A filthy and ragged mat was round him: this man was a living skeleton; the bones all but protruded through the skin: he was litterally starving. ”

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In 1829 Mathew Barrington rejected the idea of building his hospital in the NewTown Perry area. Instead he built it where he wanted it to be, in the heart of the old city, in the midst of the people it was intended to serve.

In 1842, eight years after Inglis, William Makepeace Thackeray visited the City …..

” They say that there are three towns to make one Limerick: there is the Irish Town.., the English Town, with its old castle, and finally the district they call the New Town Perry. In walking through this later tract, you are at first, half led to believe that you are arriving in a second Liverpool, so tall are the warehouses and brood the quays: so neat and trim a street of near a mile which stretches before you.

But even this mile long street does not, in a few minutes appear to be so wealthy and prosperous as it shows at first glance: for the population that throng the streets, two fifths are barefooted women, and two fifths are ragged men….

After you get out of the main street, the handsome part of the town is at an end, and you suddenly find yourself in such a labyrinth of busy swarming poverty and squalid commerce as was never seen, no, not in St Giles, where Jew and Irishmen side by side exhibit their genius for dirt. Here every house almost was half a ruin and swarming with people; in the cellars you looked down and saw a barrel of herrings, which a merchant was dispersing; or a soak of meal, which a poor dirty woman sold to people poorer and dirtier than herself:

Above was a tinnman or a shoemaker, or another craftsman, his battered ensign at the door and his small wares peering through the cracked panes of his shop.”

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Georgian Limerick

1714 – 1845

Volume 2

David Lee & Christine Gonzalez

The general economic decline, the intensive trade competition, the growing unemployment, the rapid increasingly population and the Famine of 1845 brought an Economic Recession. In the Brother Walsh Memorial School in John Street, this was the list of the trades and occupations of the childrens fathers …..

Raggathers, wheelwrights, thatchers, chandlers, coffin makers, basket makers, laborers, fishermen, brass founders, grave diggers, whip makers, stagekeepers, dairymen, coopers, dyers, tailors, auctioneers, glaziers, weightmasters, balcksmiths, tinmen, varnishers, stonemasons, nailors, bootmakers, millwrights, snuff grinders, fiddlers, candle makers, cafe makers, pavers, line burners, pipers, woolcard makers, billow makers, pipe makers, soldiers, coachmen, car makers and weavers.

Kevin Hannan examined how many of these old trades and tradesmen were bruttally cast aside in the economic scramble…

” many of these trades and callings, like those that followed them, are now extinct, and the monies

derived from the long and tedious practice of them allowed little or no indulgence in

the luxuries of the day. It was a time when dreadful conditions under which the

working class lived where taken for granted.

There were no trade unions as we know them today, no dole, no social welfare or unemployment benifits: there was nothing but the poor house. The pride of many of the destitute would not suffer them to accept the  “hospitality” of the “big house across the bridge.” They preferred the slow death

from starvation in their own hovels.”

From 1891 – 1926 the population in Limerick City reached 39,448, but with the poverty, and bad housing, emigration continued to rise. From 1881 – 1911 Limerick had lost 189,429 people through emigration.

In 1981, the Limerick working class paper, The Bottom Dog published this…

” is there outside hell anything approaching the conditions under which the poor are forced to live, all bereft of Sanitory Convience.

Boys and girls, men and women, eat, drink, sleep, and wash in these dens. Rents are squeezed from the poor of these houses by the owners …. It is against the Laws of God and man to leave these helpless beings any longer in chains. Put your backs against the walls and shout, shout, shout… pay no rent, pay no rent, raise the standard of christ high. Make Limerick ring with your shouting and topple over the edifices of your wrath…. What of the public health act? Has it become inoperative? If an owner fails to put a house in sanitary condition then the Corporation must do it. Why then is it not done? …. we suggest that the people themselves take the law into their own hands… Pay no rent for houses unfit for human habitation, and keep on paying no rent until approved accomodation is forthcoming. The guts, excreta, dogs and children rolled up their parcels in lanes, and the alleys of Limerick, and left to dry and rot, because no man of grit can be found to tackle the slum owners. “

In 1918 it was estimated that Limerick needed 2000 new homes to be built, but by 1932, Limerick Cooperation had only built 297.

A public enquiry found that much of Limerick City was without sewage facilities and that over one third of the cityconsisted of laneways and alleyways, half of which were a “menance in themselves.”

Also in 1932 the housing Miscellaneous Provisions Act provided local authorities with a state sudsidy for the provision of houses for the working class. During the next eight years, Limerick Cooperation built a total of 942 dwellings.

In 1936 there was a major development in the social and economic history of Limerick City. the festering slums were finally tackled, and the greater part of the Island Field housing estate had been completed. The people to move into St Marys Park were the people from the ghettos of the Irish Town, Boherbuoy and the Abbey.

The year also saw the start of Thomandgate, janesboro and Prospect begin development.

During the next twenty years the cooperation continued its housing programme until finally all the slums were demolished. Looking back over 160 years, it can be at least said that Barringtons Hospital just about managed to outlast the slums that brought it into exsistance.

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Ideology and the Ideological State Apparatus

Louis Althusser

In order to exist, every social formation must reproduce the conditions of its production at the same time as it produces, in order to have the ability to reproduce. That is how society rolls.

It is essential to forsee what is needed to replace what has been used up or worn out in production.

What do children learn at school, to read, write and add up. A number of techniques which are directly useful, scientific, or literary culture, which are directly useful in the different jobs of production. Thus, what they end up learning is known how, and how to follow the rules of authority, to be able to obey the orders of good behaviour.

Children are shaped by behavioural attitudes and educational know how, to grow and to blend into the Capitalist system, without ever knowing the how or why. It si because of this system that we are unable to have the ability to question it. Freire named it the culture of silence, Gramsci caled it the Ideology Hegemony.

Its the rules of respect for the socio-technical division of labour and ultimately the rules of order established by class domination.

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What is Needed

A reproduction of its submission to the rules of the established order. That is, a reproduction of submission to the ruling ideology of the workers, and a reproduction of the ability to manipulate the ruling ideology correctly for the agents of exploitation and repression, so that they too will provide for the domination of the ruling class “in words”.


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What is Society

The state is explicitly conceived as a repressive apparatus. It is a machine of repression which enables the ruling classes, to ensure them domination over the working class, thus enabling the former to subject the latter to the process of surplus value extortion. This is Capitalist Exploitation.

The police, courts, prisons even the army intervene directly as a supplementary repressive force in the last instance, when the police and its specialized auxiliary corps are outrun by events. Above all this is the head of state, of the government and its administration.

The state apparatus, which defies the state as a force of repressive execution and intervention in the interests of the ruling class in the class struggle conducted by the bourgeoisie and its allies against the proletariant, is quiet certainly the state, and quiet certainly defines its basic function.

Antonio Gramsci

As Karl Marx said, and many critical scholars after him agreed, that the driving force that moves society forward was the driving force behind the struggle between the ruling class and the subordinate working class. Marx argued that the only way for the working class to overcome this was if they rose together in a violent revolution against their ruling classes. Gramsci disagreed with this.

Gramsci argued that no regime, no matter how authorian it might be, could sustain itself primarily through organised state power and the threat of an armed force. He believed that the ruling class ruled with a theory Gramsci called ideology hegamony.

According to Anthony Gibbons, an ideology is a shared idea or belief that serves to justify the interests or common beliefs of the dominant group. This ideology, and its relationship to power is that it legitimises the differential power that groups hold, and as such it distorts the real situation that people find themselves in.

Ideology Hegamony is the organised principle that is diffused by the process of socialisation into every area of everyday life. This is done so well that it is hard to distinguish or argue against the popular culture.The knock on effect of this is that according to Gramsci, this prevailing consciousness is internalised by the population, becoming known as the common sense, so that in the end the philosophy, culture and the morality of the ruling class comes to appear as the natural order of things.

Gramsci believed that the reason after the war that the Working Class failed to develop a Revolutionary Consciousness as was predicted by Marx, was because instead of revolution people turned to reform, simply thinkering with the system instead of completely overturning it.

Gramsci asked the question that if the ruling class retained its dominance by the willing consent of the mass of the population, and also rarely used the force of Rule to order, then how can one possibly rise against the system, and perhaps force change. Well the answer according to Gramsci lay in the notion of building a counter hegamony to the ruling class and along with the labour struggle that marx had predicted, enter structural change and ideological change as part of the same struggle.

Ideological struggle had to be addressed if the mass of people were to become consciousness enough to be able to fully understand and question their political and economic masters right to rule. It is the popular conscious in civil society that had to be challenged and Gramsci believed that this could only happen through informal education.

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IDEOLOGY HEGAMONY is the majority acceptance that what is happening in society as common sense or as the only way to run a society. We all complain about how things are run, or look for improvements or reforms, but the basic beliefs and value systems underpinning society were seen as the elite, neutral or generally acceptable beliefs to the class struggle of society. Marx was asking for a bigger bite of the cake when the real issue was the ownership of the bakery.

Gramsci believed that society was made up of two different intellectuals, the traditional and the organic. The traditional intellectuals consider themselves as autonomous and independant of dominant social groups and as such are regarded as much by society, yet this is usually a myth or an illusion, because according to Gramsci this group is usually conservative allied to and assiting the ruling group in society.The organic intellectual grows within the dominant social group, and becomes their thinking and organising element within society. They were produced by the education system to perform a function for the dominant social group in society. It is through this group that the ruling class retains its hegemony over the rest of society.

So if the system reproduces itself and creates a mass acceptance in the very system that rules, what Gramsci believed is required to overthrow the system is a counter hegamony, a method of upsetting the conscious, of countering the common sense view of society. He believed in the ability and the opportunity of the human minds capabilities and capacity to think openly, and wanted to create new organic intellectuals of the working class and convert as many traditional intellectuals as he could to this revolution.

A movement would then grow that wasnt something that was immposed on the people but would rise naturally from their actual working life. He believed in the innate capacity of the human being in its ability to understand the world, and in its ability to change it.

Gramsci asked the question … ” is it better to think without having a critical awareness, or on the otherhand , is it better to work out consciously and critically ones own conception of the world.”

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Necessity of Education

The theory of this paper is to provide an insight into the ability of one fraction of society having the ability to control the other, and the reasons behind this. It will put forward the teachings, writings and words of Karl Marx and Antonio Gramsci, describing how the ruling class still assert that power, and the ideas of Ken Robinson and Paulo Friere, offering insights into the role and importance of education in breaking that cycle.

STRUGGLE AND CONTROL:

Karl Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto with his friend Friedrich Engles, in 1848, in which he declared that all history was the history of class struggle. He argued that social and economic forces, particularly those relating to production, determined human thought., and believed that the working class would unite against the ruling class, resulting in a revolution which would result in the workers having to emancipate themselves from the productive society, therefore resulting in a classless society. Marx believed that there wouldn`t be an end to the capitalist regime unless a violent revolution was instigated by the working class.

Antonio Gramsci and many other critical scholars agreed that the driving force that moved society forward was the driving force behind the struggle between the ruling class and the subordinate working class. Yet Gramsci didn`t agree that it was a revolution that was needed, he offered a lot more insight.

Gramsci believed that no regime could sustain itself primarily through fear, and that the powers that be are using a technique that he phrased as the “ ideology hegemony . This system is the organising principle that is diffused by the process of socialisation into every area of everyday life, and is done so well that it is hard to distinguish against. This prevailing consciousness becomes known as the common sense, so that in the end the philosopy, culture and morality of the ruling class comes to appear as the natural order of things. This, Gramsci argued, was the reason why the Marxist Revolution did not arise.

The real opportunity for change will only occur when society creates new intellectuals in communities, to replace the old traditional intellectuals and the organic intellectuals, and to use these people to teach communities with a full commitment to the local community. This opportunity can only happen through education, and a new education system. Gramsci wrote that each society had its own type of school intended to perpetuate a specific traditional function, ruling and subordinate, and these new schooling systems are destined not merely to perpetuate social differences but to crystallise them in chinese complexities. He asked, ” is it better to think, without having a critical awareness,or on the other hand, is it better to work out consciously and critically, ones own conception of the world.”

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CONTROLLING EDUCATION:

Unless the working class educate themselves to the realisation and truth behind how they are oppressed, then they will find it a lot more difficult to break free. And there are so many who fall through that schooling system, leaving them without the basic educational skills that society demands, resulting in further isolation. Paulo Friere believed rather then help the oppressed, the education system was in fact one of the most major influences and instruments for the maintenance of what he labelled the culture of silence. He believed that this will only change when those who in learning to read and write come to a new awareness of selfhood and begin to look critically at the social situation in which they find themselves, and often take the initiate in acting to transform the society that has denied them that opportunity of participation.

Friere believed that with the proper tools and means of education, that man can perceive this social and personal reality as well as the contradictions in it, become conscious of his own perception of that reality, and deal with it critically.

Ken Robinson believes that the education system today is ignoring the great richness of human capacity, with an education system that digs and scrapes at our minds like quarries, only searching for a certain commodity, killing creativity in the end. We have a system that dislocates people from their natural talents, in order to gear them towards a university entry. Sir Ken Robinson believes that instead of re thinkering, or overhauling the system, we need to completely revolutionise it.

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IRELAND TODAY:

In the book, Beyond Educational Disadvantage, it is put forward that, ” as with all change, aspiration is not adequate, piecemeal intervention is not productive; rather what is needed is a coherent, consistent commitment resourced and led by those who are motivated by the imperative that now is the time to vision and shape a new educational landscape and society in ireland where all people will be within that frame. Stated otherwise – changing the status quo requires a radical systematic change that calls for the co operation of all. This involves listening to the voices of those who have been frequently placed on the margins in the past, and placing them at the center. Part of this listening process involves a willingness on the part of the irish state to change the mainstream and not just the supposed margins”.

Paulo Freire

He has had a major impact in the field of education but also the overall struggle for national development and produced and perfected  a method for teaching illiterate people.

He believed that those learning to read and write come to a new awareness of selfhood and begin to look critically at the social situation in which they find themselves and often take the initiative in acting to transform the society that has denied them that opportunity of participation.

Freire`s thought process represents the response of a creative mind and sensitive conscience to the extraordinary misery and suffering of the oppressed around him. He realised that peoples ignorance and their lethargy where the direct product of the whole situation of economic, social and political domination, and of the paternalism of which they were victims.

Rather then be encouraged and equipped to know and respond to the concrete realities of their world, they were kept submerged in a situation in which such critical awareness and response were practically impossible.

It became clear that the whole educational system was one of the major influences and instruments for the maintenance of this culture of silence. He incarnates a discovery of the humanizing vocation of the intellect, and demonstrates the power of thought to negate accepted limits and open the way to a new future, this operates on one basic consumption…. ” mans ontological vocation is to be a subject who acts upon and transforms his world and in doing so moves towards ever new possibilities of a fuller and richer life individually and collectively ” . 

This world is not a closed door for which they must accept, but rather it is a problem to be worked on and solved. Every human being, no matter how ignorant or submerged in the culture of silence he may be, is capable of looking at this world critically, and in a dialogically encounter with others. With the proper tools he can perceive this personal and social reality as well as the contradictions in it, and become conscience of his own perception of that reality and deal with it critically.

Each man wins back his right to say his own word and to name the world, then educate each other through the meditation of the world. The young perceive that their right to say their own word has been taken away from them and few things are more important than the struggle to win it back.

They realize that the educational system today, from knowledge to university, is their enemy.

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Schools Kill Creativity

From our earliest days when we gaze in wonder, looking at the beautiful and mysterious spectacle that surrounds us, we gaze in awe at the world. Yet with the help of those who love and care for us, our creative minds are developed to grasp this new world and to explore it, and with the many different ways that we express our wants and our needs, we use our minds and a tool called creativity.

” it has so much to offer, so much so that to lose our creativity, or to ignore it, in whatever form that we use it, is to lose out to a deeper extent of what we can imagine “.

So as a group we were asked to explore the idea of creating a creative school in Limerick City, a place for kids to explore another world and a chance for them to experience a number of different creative avenues. Comedy, poetry, script writing, illustration, drama, and so on. A place where their creative minds are free to explore. In short ……“SCHOOL”.

According to Education Ireland, we have a long and honorable tradition in educational excellence. Furthermore, this so called excellence is recognized the world over, with a major factor of this being key investments from successive governments. Ireland has a sustainable, excellent, educational system that today has the highest educational participation in the world.

Yet in data calculated in 2006, this tradition of educational excellence has identified that 22.6% of our population are functionally illiterate, with a further 19.4% of our country at risk from poverty. Some argue that both of these are interlinked.

So what is illiteracy. It is not that nearly a quarter of our population haven`t the ability to read the latest Dan Brown, Irvine Walsh or Roddy Doyle novel, it means that throughout our country, there are men, women and children who haven`t got the ability to read place signs, destination signs, bus signs, even the ability to read a doctors prescription. These people stand helpless throughout our country, with a lack of the basic educational functions that we take for granted. What is left is a feeling of helplessness, stupidity, desperation and anger. And nearly a quarter of people on this island suffer from that disadvantage.

Today it is acknowledged by psychologist that this disadvantage can lead to many different problems, one of them being states of helplessness leading to uncontrollable rage and uncontrollable fits of violence. Ireland, with its excellent educational system, one that is recognized the world over for the highest standards.

Sir Ken Robinson is a well respected author, speaker, teacher and advisor on the role and importance of education, who grew up in a working class background in Liverpool. He argues that the educational system throughout the world is gone way beyond outdated, and it badly needs to be revolutionized. He puts forward the argument thatschools kill creativity, and that creativity is just as important as literacy.

Our educational system is based on the same system created to facilitate the industrial revolution, which before, did not exist.

What we have today is an educational system that dislocates people from their natural talents, guiding them in the direction of a University Entry, while in the process killing creativity. One of the main problems of this system is that the people who end up falling through the cracks of this system end up believing that they lack intelligence. This is simply not true.

Over the next 30 years, what we will have is an epidemic of graduates, more so then at any stage throughout our history. The effect that this will have is that our job that requires a degree will now require a masters because there will be so many people, all of whom have degrees of some sort. And this also leads on to the fact that the jobs that now require require a masters degree, will now require a PHD. What we are doing, and it is a result of the system of education that we are following, is saturising the market.

Today we are ignoring the great richness of human capacity, with a system that scrapes and digs at our minds, looking for a certain commodity to exploit and control. We have a society and a system that is obsessed with getting people to college, and who are drowning in a fear of failure. We are educated to become good workers rather then creative thinkers.

So if there is a need to build a creative space for children to explore their creative minds, should that place not be school?

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Social Practice Quick Guide

The inherent nature of art in itself is social and communitive. Yet as society has evolved and progressed, so too has art. So much so that art and particular artifacts began to become increasingly involved with religious propaganda, with the effect being that the artists who carried out the works for these so called higher powers, began to see themselves climb the social ladder very quickly. Artists where beginning to join the higher ranks of society.

With the Renaissance, or the rebirth, the social structure of Europe began to change, with art now housed, displayed  and exhibited privately. Art became a tool and a means for the wealthy, offering what artists had always referred to as a window to the world, yet this window did not reflect the visions that the ordinary man had of the world. It reflected the inner workings of a private world for the artists and their elite clients.

A number of factors began to alter this situation. Firstly the French Revolution. After the overthrowing of the French Monarchy, the Royal Palace was opened up for the first time to the general public, who were allowed to freely wonder and to view the works that were on display throughout the palace.

Although the works that were housed there were not of a socially engaged nature, the single act of facilitating an exhibition in the Royal Palace in itself brought about a social change simply through the the participation of the public. The Art of viewing became the focus, not just the paint on the canvas.

What is known after this point is that as exhibitions grew, it became more and more evident that the act of going to an exhibition lost some of its social context, thereby resulting in reducing the role of the active public to that of one of a passive audience.

Another major contribution to the change in the way that people viewed art came after the end of the First World War. People and Art began to  return to their Social Conscience, with many people believing that art had a more fundamental role to play in society. This in turn created the birth of Dadaism, and started to begin the re-socialisation of Art, with a return to the social conscience of art, and art making. This movement was considered to be transdisciplinary and gave art back to the public through art galleries and public exhibitions.

In the 1930`s new artists began to emerge and develop new ideas, with one of those being that artists shouldabandon plots for situations, and in doing so break the cultural distance of an audience and compel the viewer to take a position towards action. After this the Situation International(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Situationist_International) was created, who`s goal was to create art through constructing situations to awaken the viewers critical conscience and thereby resulting in new social relationships that would therefore create new social realities.

Then along came the 1960`s and the Social Practitioner, with artists like Joko Ono, Alan Caprow and Josef Beuys,who believed that art works could have a new direct social impact and mould society into changing society.http://www.walkerart.org/archive/4/9C43FDAD069C47F36167.htm )

Beuys was a pedagogue of art, sculptor, art theorist, and a performance, installation and graphic artist, who amongst other things became famous for coining the phrase that everybody is an artist. The result of this was that art was being taken away from the ego of the artist and being distributed back into the public domain. This creative process began to represent a two way stream of collective thoughts and ideas. Beuys was confident in the ability of art and human creativity to bring about a revolutionary change.

Art has gone from being used in propaganda, to being elite, to being given back to the public. Today we have gone from everybody is an artist, to everyone and everything is art.

The Contradictions in Society

On the 23rd of June, 2006, Sean Dorgan published an article in The Heritage Foundation entitled, How Ireland Became the Celtic Tiger, (http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2006/06/how-ireland-became-the-celtic-tiger). In the report he commented on how Ireland changed its course of history, evolving from one of the poorest countries in the Western World, to one of the most successful.

Gone were the days of mass emigration, poor living standards, and economic stagnation. Now the countries greatest no longer had to leave in order to find employment.Ireland now had the second highest GDP (gross domestic product) in the EU, a 15% increase in population from 1990 – 2005, and an unemployment rate that is half the EU average. Ireland was seen as the new land of opportunity.

In the same year as the above article was being written, Limerick City, situated on Irelands west coast, was under going a socio-economic and demographic profile, with the data used being drawn from the 2006 National Census of Population. The report had the following findings.

Although Limerick City in general saw a drop in unemployment, the city itself remained well below the national average, and within the city, certain parts were experiencing considerably higher levels of unemployment. In St Mary`s Park, nearly half the men were unemployed (49.8%), and 32.2% of the women were out of work. The same trend appeared in other parts of the city also, with 34.5% of men, and 35.9% of women unemployed in Ballinacura/Weston, and 39.6% of men and 28.6% of women unemployed in the Southill area.

On the education front the story repeats itself. Overall, from 1991 – 2006, the adult population in Limerick with just primary schooling fell from 36.7% to 18.9% . During the same period, the level of those seeking third level education was well below the national average. 23.9% of the adult population in Limerick City, compared to the national average of 30.5%. Again in certain areas these figures fared much worse.

In St Marys Park, 55.1% of the population had only primary education, and only 2% went on to third level. In Ballinacura/Weston, 53.7% of the population received primary education only, with 3.8% going on to third level education, and in Southill, 46.7% of the population had received only primary school education, with 5.4% of those going on to third level education.

This same report marked the overall relative disadvantage of areas of Limerick City, measuring the demographic decline, social class disadvantage and its labour market deprivation. It then added up the different scores awarded to these areas, to create a relative deprivation score,ranging from -30 ( extremely disadvantaged ), to +30 ( extremely affluent ). These are the results that it turned up, in 2006, when Ireland was considered by many to be the land of opportunity.

St Marys Park ….. -60.7% ….. extremely disadvantaged

Ballinacurra Weston ….. -48.1% ….. extremely disadvantaged

Southill ….. -46.6% ….. extremely disadvantaged

Prospect ….. -43.7% ….. extremely disadvantaged

Ballynanty ….. -32.2% ….. extremely disadvantaged

Killeely ….. -31.8% ….. extremely disadvantaged

Rathbane ….. -30.9% ….. extremely disadvantaged

At a time when so much opportunity was available, it puzzles the mind to understand how at least seven small areas, situated in a such a small city, in such a small country, can be considered extremely disadvantaged. And how does one prevent this from happening?

In the book, Beyond Educational Disadvantage, edited by Paul Downes and Ann Louise Gilligan, an idea is put forward. It states …. “as with all change, aspiration is not adequate, piecemeal intervention is not productive; rather what is needed is a coherent, consistent commitment resourced and led by those who are motivated by the imperative that now is the time to vision and shape a new educational landscape and society inireland where all people will be within that frame. Stated otherwise – changing the status quo requires a radical systematic change that calls for the co operation of all. This involves listening to the voices of those who have been frequently placed on the margins in the past, and placing them at the center. Part of this listening process involves a willingness on the part of the irish state to change the mainstream and not just the supposed margins”.

Everyday Life in the Modern World

What gives society, a society devoted to the all consuming transitory and to accelerate change, the illusion of stability.

Everyday life refers to the dull narrative, the ongoing go to work, pay the bills, homeward trudge of daily existence.

It indicates a sense of being in the world beyond philosopy and beyond the capacity of language to describe it.

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THE QUEEN

On the day of the 5th of May, 1981, Bobby Sands died in the Maze prison after spending 66 days on hunger strike. His body and bones had become so brittle that during the final few days of his life, his body rested on a waterbed. He was the first of 10 republican prisoners to die in that tragic manner, and more than 60 policemen, soldiers and civilians died in the violence that was directly linked to the hunger strikes alone.

Exactly 4 months later i was granted the privilege of entering this world and these islands. Who could have predicted, or even hoped back then how far we would come as a nation and a people, and how much change would occur. After much violence, death, bombs, heartache, movements and years, on the 10th of April 1998, 2 years of talks and 30 years of conflict were brought to a close when the Northern Irish Peace talks ended in an historic agreement, known as the Good Friday Agreement.
This agreement was endorsed by the people of these islands, both north and south or the border, when a resounding yes vote was passed in a referendum on the Agreement.

The people of these islands had spoken with strenght, clarity, intelligence and togetherness.
On Saturday the 24th of February 2007, the GAA passed a motion for Croke Park to be opened up for what was know as ” foreign sports “, and as soon as they did, the second team to come riding into town was again The English…. to play on the Sacred grounds, the hollow turf of Croker. The build up was immense. Why?

For those not in the know, Croke Park was the scene of one of the most infamous events in the History of our country, ” the troubles “, and became the line in the sand for what was to become the long, hard, hurtful, sometimes lonely battle of the Irish fighting to become an independent nation. The event was the reprisal of the killing by British soldiers of 13 innocent spectators and one football player at a match in November, 1920.

Since that day Croke Park has become a symbol of Irish Nationalism, with only Gaelic Sports being granted the privilege of playing there. 90 years on and the English were back.
At its worst sporting rivalries can intensify rather then reduce enmity between different nations or regions or groups. When the English players stepped out onto the hollow turf…. silence. a deafening silence… one that remained through out the playing of God Save The Queen, only to be shattered into oblivion with the playing of Amhrán na bhFiann. We had found our voice. The new Ireland had found its identity.

What the people in that stadium did that day, was an education to the entire nation watching in, for the millions of ex pats abroad, and for whoever else was looking in. It was thoughtful, intelligent, and brave. Their voices were added to the healing process that have been underway for some time on this island. I was so proud to call myself Irish. Proud to be Irish.

On the 17th of May 2011, The Queen of England visited these beautiful shores, in what was a first state visit of a British Monarck in 100 years. A journey of an hour across the Irish sea took nearly 100 years. But this was a remarkable moment in our History. What was even more remarkable was that her first gesture was to lay a wreath at the Republics Garden of Remembrance, one of which is dedicated to those who fought for Irish Independence against British Rule.

How symbolic to hear the anthems of the two nations side by side, with the Irish flag at full mast, blowing proudly in the wind. The President of Ireland, side by side with the Queen of England, head bowed in respect for those who gave their lives. Truly remarkable. The Queen was then greeted with the privilege herself to walk the hollow turf of Croke Park. Nothing but pride ran through my veins. The one thousand welcomes was multiplied. Economically we may have fallen, collectively and personally we have grown.

If as a nation we can move beyond the past, without ever forgetting it, and more forward towards a brighter future for all, we can also do it as a city, a community, a family, and an individual. Lets shake off the shackles of the past and move forward to a better tomorrow.

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