Graduation Presentation 2021

Annemarie van den Berg

Looking back at my practical experience with the designers’ collective Pink Pony Express, I try to analyse our way of working to see how this can be of meaning within my teaching practice. Pink Pony Express works at the interface of research, design and society. Site-specific research and making are at the core of their projects, which rely on notions of mutuality, reciprocity and relevance.

Meeting or involving other(s) is very elementary: including other voices in the process – and literally visualizing them, giving them a stage – brings in meaningful perspectives. I found out that the ‘Pony way’ of working is a setting in which I learned to learn, more than anywhere else. What intentions and attitudes contributed to my learning and how can I find a meaningful way to implement them in my current teaching practice?

[tips on] How to Graduate [during pandemic times]

This video is a representation of a booklet I made for my class of graduating students (New Design & Attitudes) at St Joost School of Art & Design. I could luckily meet the students in person at the academy and decided to make something physical to give to them. The booklet contains elements that are present in my practice with the designers’ collective Pink Pony Express, key elements of which are site-specific-research and site-specific-making. While I take a retrospectively look at my practice with Pink Pony Express, I try to make a connection between our way of working and my current teaching in higher art and design education.

In this process, I discover underlying notions such as not-knowing, reciprocity and relevance, which are all part of my overarching theme, ‘a pedagogy in the middle’. In the same way that all of the Pink Pony Express projects start (and try to stay) in the middle, and relate to a specific site, as a teacher I try to relate to the student – as if they were a site. Teaching then becomes a relational matter. The booklet shows me as a teacher trying to meet my students in the middle. It shows that the student’s voice matters (at least) as much as the teacher’s voice, and that looking at things beyond your own perspective is valuable.