Application deadline: 11 February 2018

We welcome your applications for the Political School for Artists (And All Interested), a three-month educational program whose goal is to provide insight into the critique of political economy, the basic theoretical concepts and history of capitalism, and the basics of socialism as the alternative to capitalism, with a special emphasis on the role and place of art in both capitalism and socialism.

The Political School for Artists (And All Interested) was established in 2016, this being its third iteration. The motivation to set up a continuous curriculum of such a profile is twofold: on the one hand, it is a reaction to the contemporary transformations in the field of education, art education in particular, and on the other hand a reaction to the transformations in the political field and the consequences of its restructuring on art.

In the 20th and 21st century alike, art has been characterized by constant tensions owing to its relationship with politics and political organizing. Politics and political organizing have been taken over by activism these days, due to the broader processes of ‘discrediting’ the Left throughout the 20th century. The pressure of the necessity for direct action has done away with political education, once a constituent part of political organizing from below. Although art institutions have never recognized the need for the political and social education of artists, artists themselves have gained access to such knowledge by participating in the political movements that invested in the education of their members. Contemporary activism in art, as well as activism in general, is exhausted in spontaneous rebellions, which are often entirely individualized in their nature, predominantly within the institution of art, which remains unquestioned. It is only natural to conclude that, following the discussion spanning 20 centuries, the predominant perception of art is that of an area free from social divisions. The fact should come as no surprise if we take a look at the political landscape, bearing in mind the development of art education. It flip-flops between conservative mastery and the liberal postmodern approach, the latter playing a crucial role in the academization of artistic discourses. The absence of systemic education based on insights from political and social sciences is furthered by the latest neoconservative tendencies, most visible in high school education.

The Political School for Artists (And All Interested) is structured as 3 three-day weekend sessions with lecturers, held between 23 February and 22 April 2018. Introductory lectures will be accompanied by discussions based on the reading list, and field lectures in the Zagreb area. Attendants should come prepared for each of the sessions and should be willing to participate in group work.


Session 1: Critique of Capitalism (23 – 25 February 2018)

Mira Bogdanović: The Emergence and Development of Capitalism
Stipe Ćurković: Classes and Class Theory
Ivana Perica: On Art (And) Ideology
Vesna Vuković: The Privatization of Culture (field lecture)

Session 2: Return of the Socialist Vision (23 – 25 March 2018)

Nikola Vukobratović: Socialism and the Birth of Mass Politics
Andreja Gregorina: Socialist and Marxist Feminism
Krešimir Zovak: Socialist State and Its Contradictions
Ana Kutleša: Artistic Production in Socialist Yugoslavia (field lecture)

Session 3: The Politics of Art and Culture (20 – 22 April 2018)

Goran Pavlić: The Emergence of the Institution of Art
Srđan Kovačević and Tena Gojić: What Does Political Cinematography Have to Say?
Emil Jurcan: The Political Form of Architecture
Ivana Hanaček: Materialist Perspective in Art History (field lecture)

How to apply

Send your applications to: blok@blok.hr (Subject: Politicka skola 2018) by 5 February 2018

The school is intended for all those interested in gaining insights into basic theoretical concepts and the history of capitalist social relations, and their socialist alternatives. No previous knowledge is required, but it is important that the applicants attend the lectures regularly, fulfil their obligations and contribute to the process of group work. The school is not intended for doctoral students of Social Studies and Humanities, as they are presumed to be familiar with these concepts already. Such applications will not be considered.

The application should include the following information: name and surname, year of birth, education (formal and informal), institution (if employed or studying) or organization (if you are involved in an organization or a collective), and a short motivation letter (up to two standard pages) detailing how familiar you are with the program topics and context, why you are interested in the program and what you expect to gain from it.

Prior knowledge and social engagement will not serve as selection criteria, but will help us tailor the lectures. Motivation and interest are the crucial criteria.

The program is free of charge. It will take place in Zagreb and the number of attendants is limited. In the wish to make the program accessible to those who do not live in the capital, we have provided funding for the travel and accommodation costs for five students. For this reason, we encourage applications from all those who live and work outside of Zagreb, whether it be in Croatia or the rest of the region.

For any additional questions, please write to: blok@blok.hr.

You will be notified of the results on 13 February 2018.

The program is financially supported by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Southeast Europe.