Experimental Graduate-Level Education for Women

The Anhoek School is an educational experiment. It investigates alternatives to traditional American education at a moment in time when many experimental schools have closed (Black Mountain School and Antioch College) or ceased to develop inventive and/or radical methodologies.

In short, The Anhoek School is an experimental all-women's graduate school located in Brooklyn, New York. The curriculum is based on cultural production (political, aesthetic, and theoretical). Classes are small (5 to 7 people). Tuition costs are mediated by a barter system; that is students labor for the school in exchange for classes.

SEE http://anhoekschool.org FOR CORE DATA

The 'mother site' (http://anhoekschool.org) contains:

0 Mission Statement
0 Course Descriptions
0 Campus Locations
0 Exchange Economy/ Tuition
0 Samples of Student Work
0 Student Podcasts

Friday, November 13, 2009

Anhoek-Marfa '09: Digging Holes and Being Housed

Photographs by Julia Sherman

While in Marfa, the students were housed in a collection of restored air streams parked at El Cosmico, a hotel of sorts lodged between open road and the Border Patrol Headquarters. Liz Lambert, owner of El Cosmico, was on board with the experimental nature of Anhoek, and graciously offered to allow the students barter labor towards boarding costs.

They dug holes and planted trees.

After these morning chores at El Cosmico, students tended Sandra Harper's garden in exchange for vegetables they prepared together at night, perhaps in El Cosmico's outdoor kitchen.

I lived in a small house on the other side of the Border Patrol Headquarters and across from the obsolete Fort D.A. Russell. I left the students to themselves for the evenings. Students and teachers require a space where the performance of pupil and pedagogue is dispelled. In other words, if one person is in charge of ordering others' days, there must be a release from that system, no matter how dedicated to student-directed learning. Does this position miss out on a pedagogy forged in a shared teacher-student consumption of whiskey, bonfires, and slow dancing? This formula is workable in say a David Lee Roth sort of way. But if I was interested in a pedagogy based on the sense one might have of a musician, today I'll choose Karen Dalton, native american 60's folk singer. The Karen Dalton Method, if we just read the names of her slender discography at face value, would herald slowness (In My Own Time, 1971) and disloyalty to ideology (It's So Hard to Tell Who's Going To Love You the Best, 1969). It is hard to tell who's going to love you the best, author or sweetheart.

From where I slept, wrote and read, I could hear the Border Patrol's outside PA system broadcasting directives to BP who had left the building but hadn't yet hit the parking lot. The students were awash in these very same sounds: a specific set of directions, heard but not followed.