The Art School as Gift Economy
A paper/presentation by Laura Onions & Gavin Rogers
NAFAE (National Association of Fine Art Eductation) Conference, 23rd March 2018
Contemplating activism and resistance in fine art education leads to a consideration of conflicting economies. The tensions between values of creation and the market, the orders of worth, the contractual exchange. Lewis Hyde wrote in The Gift; ‘Art exists in both economies, but where there is no gift, there is no art.’ How does art school sit between the gift economy and the market economy?
Within this short performative narrative, a series of exchanges take place that keep on moving. Gift exchanges that produce alternate structures of power and community relationships. We explore that which is passed on, transformed, received and bestowed and how teaching and learning in the art school can function within an alternate economy in resistance to the University. ‘While the gift has always thrived without a market, the market cannot flourish without the gift.