How To

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Working Group coordinators: Sharon and Charlotte
Working Group Members: Cinzia, Metod Blejec


Welcome to the How To working group!

Five Years' Gallery Call for Proposals for This Is Not A School

Here is a link to the call for proposals from the Five Years Gallery
The deadline is 1st October, so we don't have long. I suggest we develop ideas here asap, and then perhaps meet in week 19th September. Then we can finalise the proposal here before submitting?

Perhaps we could take this opportunity to think about what being resource-like would mean for CP?

More information can be found about Five Years Gallery on their website.

Here is a link to Yes. Yes. I know. Free School. I know. A similar event at Five Years Gallery in 2009.

Exploring Ideas

Tuesday 20th September

Some ideas from Charlotte and Sharon from a meeting in the Student Bar, High Holborn.

We are interested in doing something playful/tongue in cheek. Neither of us wanted to be too overtly political or critique the use of the Free School ideologies by the ‘neo-liberal right’

We discussed Five Years’ statement that all the proposals will be accepted. We felt that this brings an interesting random element to the project/event. We have no idea who will be attending the sessions and so there is a large element of chance. If we recognise that each individual will bring something unique and different in their participation, how can we tap into that and play with it?

Nowadays it is possible to get almost any information from the internet so what benefit is there from having human contact? This is something we would like to explore.

We touched on CP’s recent discussions about resources. We questioned the need to create new resources as there is so much information ‘out there’, and discussed possibilities of pooling or repurposing existing resources.

We want to move away from the idea of an ‘Authority on High’ (teacher) transmitting knowledge to the taught, but acknowledge the need for guidance/facilitation and structure

Possible ideas include:

Taking to the session a ‘problem’ or questions that we want answered and working together with the random group of participants, using their individual and unique knowledge/talents to try to come up with answers. This could even include something like our building a boat proposal.

Taking an existing resource and re-purposing, re-arranging it. Ie taking a successful song and re-writing it.


I would like to suggest we set up a session in which we unravel ideas about neo-liberalism. We could do it through a practical activity to get us going ... I'd would be keen to have a session in which knowledge is exchanged with people outside of the organisers, not distributed in one direction.

What do you think? (CC)

Hi all

Cinzia - thanks for this. I think unravelling neo-liberalism sounds interesting - I don't have a fixed idea about what the term represents, so would be interested in, as you say, unravelling it. I do think it would be good if we could keep things relatively light though (is that possible?) What kind of practical activity did you have in mind? I am imagining taking the unravelling metaphor quite literally, and envisaging big tangled balls of wool.....I'm away from Mon 26th - Fri 30th at a conference, so won't be as available as I'd like. If we could get something together by the end of the weekend, would Sharon or Cinzia be OK with sending the proposal in? (CW)

Hello Everyone

Thanks Charlotte and Cinzia for very thoughtful and interesting contributions.

I am definitely interested in facilitating the exchange of knowledge rather than it being a one way street. And I am keen to explore this idea that seems to be forming about unravelling/answering questions together with the participants. If I’m honest, my immediate reaction is to run away screaming from anything that sounds vaguely political and ‘heavy’. But I think that that is probably mainly due to fear rather than apathy. I feel out of my depth using terms like ‘neo-liberal’ so maybe this would be a good opportunity to get to the bottom of understanding them.

I am also keen to keep things light-hearted if at all possible. While I am all for challenging myself and getting stuck into learning new things, I don’t feel that it is very ‘me’ to co-host an intense session on a political theme. Likewise writing a proposal on such a theme. I just wouldn’t know where to begin. That said, I’m not doing it on my own and between us, I’m sure that we can come up with something interesting, challenging and fun. Now, what was that about wool Charlotte? That sounds like a lot of fun! I was also thinking about the exercise that we didn't get around to doing at the CP workshop where we were going to make something that embodied the Aims and Objectives. Could we make, draw, paint something that could help us get to the bottom of our unanswered question?

Practically speaking, this weekend, I’m available on Saturday late afternoon/evening and Sunday afternoon and evening to work on a proposal. I’m free on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings next week and could meet up with Cinzia if that is useful and I am happy to send off the proposal in time for the deadline.

Hi all

Sharon and I met up again on Friday and chatted a bit more. We're really looking forward to hearing what you had in mind, Cinzia - if you could give an example of the sort of practical activity you had in mind that would be great.

Other things we thought about were - Recipe exchange session (which could result in an online recipe book) - Workshop on how to keep a secret, how to share a secret - Speed tipping - create a tip a minute for 1 hour, resulting in an online tip compilation (60 tips, we hope!) - Revisiting and repurposing some Hunt tasks

Whaddya think?


This is Not A School Proposal


Critical Practice is a cluster of artists, researchers, academics and others hosted by Chelsea College of Art and Design, a constituent college of the University of the Arts London. We have a long-standing interest in art, public goods, spaces, services and knowledge, and a track record of producing original, participatory events. For This Is Not A School, Critical Practice would like to propose the following:

Speed tipping: a group co-creates a tip a minute for 1 hour, resulting in a 60 tip compilation (group to decide what format this takes)

We envisage the event being speedy, energetic and fun. The session will draw on the fact that we are all a reserve of accumulated knowledge that is inherited, passed on and shared across generations and between peers. Critical Practice members will facilitate the group sharing ideas and personal resources. The tips could be lifestyle secrets, household suggestions, family receipes or learning and teaching strategies.

Keywords: informal learning, sharing, miscellany, speed, 60 seconds, recipes, the way Grandma did it.

Preferred dates: 29th October (first choice) or 22nd October (second choice)


Critical Practice is a cluster of artists, researchers, academics and others hosted by Chelsea College of Art and Design, a constituent college of the University of the Arts London. We have a long-standing interest in art, public goods, spaces, services and knowledge, and a track record of producing original, participatory events.

For This Is Not A School, Critical Practice would like to propose the following:

In a culture of information and resource abundance, learners, teachers, artists and citizens alike need to be resourceful. To explore participants’ strategies of resourcefulness, we propose an hour of ‘speed tipping’: A group co-creates a tip a minute for 1 hour, resulting in a 60 tip compilation (group to decide what format this takes) We envisage the event being speedy, energetic and fun.

From the financial to the educational to the emotional spheres of their lives, we want to hear people’s strategies and tips on how to be resourceful – up-cycling, re-mixing, composting, Googling (and beyond), foraging, packing your lunch, using household secrets or family recipes, unconventionally using objects…

Keywords: ingenuity, sharing, miscellany, speed, 60 seconds, resources, resourcefulness, survival kit, the way Grandma did it.

This is Not A School Documentation

On Saturday 29th October 2011, Sharon, Charlotte and Metod hosted "Speed-Tipping" on behalf of Critical Practice at This Is Not A School at Five Years Gallery.

Participants were:

  • Sharon Bennett
  • Metod Blejec
  • Edward Dorrian (from Five Years Gallery)
  • Mia (Charlotte's friend)

Together we exchanged tips on various topics using the following prompt questions to get us going.


  1. Top tip for saving money
  2. Best cheap eat in London
  3. Top tip for budgeting money
  4. Best way of being financially resourceful in your local area
  5. Most ingenious way to make extra cash


  1. Top tip to heal a broken heart
  2. Best coping strategy
  3. Best sure fire 'pick me up'
  4. Top tip for romance
  5. Top venue for a date


  1. Best learning strategy
  2. Best teaching strategy
  3. Top 'how to' website
  4. Most useful lesson passed on from a generation above you


  1. Most effective cleaning tip
  2. Top budget cleaning product
  3. Best red wine stain remover
  4. Quickest time saving cleaning tip
  5. Best budget home decorating tip
  6. Tip for using something to clean with that isn't known for being a cleaning product

Sports and leisure

  1. Top tip for incorporating fitness in everyday life
  2. Most effective abdominal exercise
  3. Top sporting tip in London
  4. Most fun and unusual sport/leisure/fitness activity


  1. Best budget travel destination
  2. Top travelling tip
  3. Top budget travel tip
  4. How to survive jetlag
  5. Best insect bite remedy
  6. Best packing technique


  1. Most effective navigation tool
  2. What to do when you are lost
  3. Top 'life' navigation tip

Fashion & beauty

  1. Best budget beauty tip
  2. Most effective spot remedy
  3. Top beauty tip using household items ie products not known for being a beauty product
  4. Top tip for mending clothes
  5. Favourite style tip
  6. Best kept secret shop in London


  1. Most effective (and unusual) cold remedy
  2. Best tip to keep colds at bay
  3. Top hangover cure
  4. Secret weapon to healthy living
  5. Top tip for getting your 5 a day
  6. Favourite alternative therapy/therapist if you have one
  7. Most effective old wives tip for health

Relaxation/well being

  1. Top tip for relaxation
  2. Secret to well being
  3. Top tip for instant guaranteed smiles
  4. Favourite self help resource or book

Artistic practice

  1. Top tip for navigating the contemporary art world
  2. Favourite website as information resource
  3. Top tip for self promotion!

Success and failure

  1. Top tip to promote success
  2. Favourite way to 'reframe' failure
  3. Best way to over come an obstacle
  4. Books/resources to recommend on the subject


  1. Favourite cultural secret in London
  2. In the world?
  3. Best budget cultural activity
  4. Best cultural resource (magazine, website etc)


  1. Top tip for over coming artistic block
  2. How do you nurture creativity
  3. Budget homemade Christmas decorations


  1. Favourite family receipe
  2. Best tomato sauce for pasta
  3. Top cooking tip
  4. Favourite receipe that includes a secret unexpected ingredient
  5. Top tip for potatoes
  6. Best budget meal
  7. Top idea for a quick supper

We recorded the resulting conversation using a dictaphone and we also videoed the session.

Here are a few still images from the session.

This is Not A School-1.JPG

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Marsha: 09_25_11: Proposal looks short and sweet--a good thing--I'm just wondering what the tips would be about? Perhaps I'm missing something...but would they be teaching strategies, learning strategies, something else? Un-raveling neo-liberalism? If so, perhaps it should go in the proposal? Maybe give an example of how this might unfold in practice? A quick play-by-play? Also, where will the tips go afterward? On the wiki? As a resource that could be shared? A PDF? Just a few thoughts....

I think you make very good points, Marsha - we had discussed the need to be clearer about what the tips were about. I think there may be a case for specifying. We discussed tips about sharing, collaborating - perhaps we need to flesh this out - I really like the suggestion of teaching (& learning) strategies.

I wondered whether it would be good for the group to decide what the best place for the tips to go would be, but maybe there won't be time.... An online resource? Something for the CP wiki?


I have added a couple of sentences to specify the tips abit more. What do you think? I'm trying not to write too much so that we can be a little flexible nearer the time as we won't be able to change the session once it is submitted. Feel free to add/subtract. I will send it off on Thursday night. Thanks. SB