Itineraries for a... Really Useful Knowledge

Diego del Pozo, 2014
Diego del Pozo, 2014

The exhibition Really Useful Knowledge endeavours to position the notion of critical pedagogy as a crucial element in collective struggles, and explore the tension between individual and social emancipation through education with examples that are both historical and current.

The exhibition Really Useful Knowledge endeavours to position the notion of critical pedagogy as a crucial element in collective struggles, and explore the tension between individual and social emancipation through education with examples that are both historical and current.

The notion of “really useful knowledge” emerged at the beginning of the 19th century alongside the workers’ awareness of the need for self-education. In the 1820s and 1830s, working class organisations in the UK introduced this phrase to describe a body of knowledge that encompassed various “unpractical” disciplines such as politics, economy and philosophy, as opposed to the “useful knowledge” proclaimed by business owners who had previously begun to invest more heavily in their companies’ progress through financing workers’ education in “applicable” disciplines like engineering, physics, chemistry and mathematics. In this reference to the long-forgotten class struggles of early capitalism, the title of the exhibition suggests an inquiry into “really useful knowledge” from a contemporary perspective.

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