As someone whose schooling experience* is coming to an end, I had begun to question the way that I had learned. As a design student I have been taught that my work is separate from myself as an idividual, that somehow I can block off parts of myself from what I create. I was very aware of the ways white supremacy has structured institutions in America, education included. However, I wondered in what ways had it structured the act of learning. Which led me to my thesis question: How has white supremacy conditioned us to compartmentalize ourselves from education for the sake of learning?
Interview with Aneb Kgositsile (Dr. Gloria House)
I began my research by looking at historical Freedom Schools and their curriculum of questioning in order to make connections and highlighting the importance of honoring identity. I was able to interview civil rights activist and community organizer, Dr. Aneb Kgositsile (Dr. Gloria House). Throughout our conversation we were able to cover the differences in freedom school curriculum compared to Western curriculum. Kgositsile said in the interview, “Western education does not allow room for critical thought and self analysis.”
I modeled my workshop questionnaires in a similar way to the questions being asked in the Freedom School curriculum. The questions were split into two parts for the paper weaving exercise. One focusing on abstracting the self – which led to a pattern making peice, and the other focusing on interlacing identity within that pattern to create a final paper weaving. I conducted the workshops in small groups over zoom and participated with each in hopes to reframe the usual hierarchical roles of teacher and student. Complete the workshop︎︎︎
Due to ideologies like modernity, and the expectation of machine-like learning, we are indoctrinated to think of learning as an aquistional task. We are rarely given the space to process the information we have obtained and reflect on what that means to us in order to make greater connections. Inspired by the curriculum of Freedom Schools, where questioning and creativity is emphasized, the workshop questionnaires are meant to encourage critical thinking and self analysis with hopes of feeling more centered with your own being at that current moment.
“A more imaginative approach to education would lead us to ask questions to try and find the ways in which things are connected. Because fundamentally and intuitively we know that they are.”
Yasmin is a graphic designer based in Brooklyn, New York. She is interested in using design as a tool to understand the complex systems we live within and as a way to create meaningful interactions.
Yasmin AliGraphic designer based in Brooklyn, NY.