Pedagogic Starting Points and Approach
My pedagogic outlook is based on process-oriented methods, investigative schemes and laboratory-oriented methodologies. Modes of working and learning are tried out and developed through unconventional, situated experimentation, which provides a testbed for ideas, prototypes and projects aimed at developing new educational methods operating at the intersection of architecture, emergent technologies and digital commons.
My teaching philosophy is inspired by Paulo Freire’s concept of Critical Pedagogy, which applies notions from critical theory and the tradition of social movements to the field of education and the study of culture:
“Teaching as an inherently political act, reject the neutrality of knowledge, and insist that issues of social justice and democracy itself are not distinct from acts of teaching and learning.” (Paulo Freire).
Genuinely mediated through digital technologies, my teaching practice draws its inspiration from hacker ethics (Himmanen, 2002), the free software movement (Stallman, 2002), and the critical epistemologies arising from feminist techno-science (Haraway, 2002; Stengers, 2010).
My pedagogic principles emerge from a combination of two strong beliefs and powerful methodological tools:
- In the beginning, there is a lab!
The Laboratory here stands for a whole methodology that creates the setting for a collaborative architectural culture and practice, where strategies and proposals are developed through joint practice-based research. This doing-it-with-others approach seeks to generate a work environment where different interrelated subjects and projects can be explored, both individually and in groups, and a shared base for common knowledge and action is established. While architecture is the main discipline, lab methodologies encourage multidisciplinarity. Future architects are trained to also think beyond architecture, to reflect on the discipline in relation to other disciplinary and ontological frameworks.
- In the beginning, there is a map!
I understand the concept of map in its Deleuzo-Guattarian sense, as "more action than representation; the map, rather than represent a world that is already given, involves the identification of new components, the creation of new relationships and territories, new machines" (Deleuze & Guattari, 1980). A cartographic practice that "is no longer limited to a drawing that represents a geographical territory in two dimensions - but, as a tool of knowledge and production of the real, it extends to any (re) presentation of a complex situation that situates on the same (metaphorical) relations and heterogeneous elements, social, political, mental or technological processes, events, places, imaginary, etc". In-between the artistic and the scientific modes of cognition, cartography as a learning tool for collective action and agency: the map as performance.
My pedagogic attitude towards my students is mostly oriented towards encouraging and supporting the development of their abilities for critical thinking and radical imagination. I believe self-education and the exploration of new fields of knowledge are tools for self-empowerment, and I try to foster my students' awareness of their social responsibility but also about the importance of a playful approach to education.
As Bell Hooks said:
"The Academy is not paradise. But learning is a place where paradise can be created".
My pedagogic attitude towards myself as a teacher is based on a profound belief in the importance of continuous self-education through critical epistemologies, experimental practices and disruptive technologies. This continuous training and learning happens not only in the context of conferences in a wide spectrum of academic fields, but also in citizen laboratories and grassroots learning communities.
The context where I work has a direct impact on my teaching, and I adapt to it as the occasion arises. In that sense I am very much influenced by the idea of 'situated knowledges' (Haraway 1988), and the radical collaborative practice proposed by the Situationist International.
A short list of my literature references include:
- Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. 1980. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia.
- DeSoto, P., Delinikolas, D., Dragona, D., Senel, A. and Pérez de Lama, J.P. 2015. Mapping the Urban Commons: a Parametrical and Audiovisual Method.V!RUS, 11.
- Freire, P., 1996. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Penguin, London.
- Haraway, D., 1988. Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective. Feminist Studies 14, 575.
- Himanen, P., 1999. Hacker Ethic and the Spirit of the Information Age. Floris Books, New York.
- Hooks, B., 1994. Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom. Routledge, New York.
- Lafuente, A.; Alonso, A., 2011. Right to Know, New Technologies and New Communities of Citizenship. University of Nevada, pp. 145-160.
- Lafuente, A.; Alonso, A., 2010. Amateur Versus Professionals. Politics, Citizenship and Science: International Journal of Technoethics, v. 1, n. 2, p. 37–45.
- Stallman, R.M., Lessig, L., Gay, J., Lessig, L., 2002. Free Software, Free Society: Selected Essays of Richard M. Stallman. Free Software Foundation, Boston, Mass.
- Stengers, I., 2010. Cosmopolitics 1. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.
- Pérez de Lama, J.P. 2009. La avispa y la orquídea hacen mapa en el seno de un rizoma: Cartografía y máquinas, releyendo a Deleuze y Guattari. Pro-Posições, vol.20, n.3, pp.121-145.
In this web-based portfolio I am documenting my teaching experience through examples and the valuations and opinions that demonstrate it by providing documentation as evidence.
Image above: Mapping the Commons of Athens workshop, Museum of Contemporary Art Athens, 2010.