The Alternative, Denmark: Political party-in-residence at the Faculty of Fine Arts
Weeks of 2018 | April 18-21 | September 14-17 | November 2-5
Who is The Alternative?
The Alternative is a generous, action-oriented international party based in Denmark that has a special focus on creating serious sustainable transition, introducing a new political culture, and harnessing the entrepreneurial creative power of society and individuals. The Alternative is more than a party. It is also a political movement and a cultural voice. Of particular interest to the Faculty of Fine Arts at Concordia University is the fact that The Alternative is one of the few parties to publicly emphasise the role and significance of culture and art in the development of other life values and life strategies aside from material consumption and financial gain. A very strong cultural and artistic commitment runs through all The Alternative’s political proposals, events and actions which creates verve, dynamics, and a feeling of freedom in everything they say, do, and recommend.
About the residency
“Making Art. Making Politics.” is led by a cohort of independent study students with faculty supervisors from across the entire University. At its core, the residency is guided by mentors and members of The Alternative from Denmark and the UK, as well as municipal and cultural leaders from Montreal.
Hosted by the Faculty’s Institute for Urban Futures, the residency is an open-ended, collaborative experience. Participants experience a non-traditional learning format that promotes responsive, project-based action that is communally shaped and delivered through a variety of modes ranging from multi-day intensive sessions, in-person and online independent study, collective conceptual and logistical planning, both on campus and off-site in the city of Montreal.
We want students to feel informed, engaged, empowered, and excited by the role that culture can play in politics, and to see how their artistic forms of production can influence political decision making.
To share across diverse artistic and political platforms our modes and methods that we use to create community, to share ideas, to motivate action, and to enhance the individual and collective sense of self in society.
To promote mutual curiosity and respect for complementary ways of knowing sustained through a commitment to the transformational power of both art and politics to effect lasting change in society and within the hearts of every individual. Our year-long, in-residence relationship and emerging projects will be grounded in The Alternative’s six core values: courage, generosity, transparency, humility, humour, empathy.
Session one: Making friends.
The Alternative will be hosted by the Institute for Urban Futures along with students enrolled in the Autumn course or independent study students. The purpose of the initial visit will be to introduce key participants to one another, to make “soundings” into the cultural and political landscape of Montreal, to gain basic knowledge of shared Danish and Canadian political preoccupations, to begin brainstorming approaches for the Autumn course, and to meet key individuals in the University and in the city.
Session two: Making art. Making politics.
The purpose of the second visit is to create a curated set of immersive exercises for participants in the Making Art. Making Politics. residency so that they might experience firsthand the methods and modes of cultural production that are used to create and disseminate ideas and knowledge, e.g. critical/visual analysis; music and movement improvisation; ear and voice training; design ideation; art pedagogy; studio critique, etc. The second half of the visit will invite students and faculty to experience some methods used by The Alternative in their practice as politicians, e.g. political open source process, coauthorship, consensus-driven decision making, political laboratories, etc. Important in this session will be the full immersion of participants in actual practice guided by the motto don’t tell me, show me.
Session three: Making change.
The purpose of the final visit will be to bring together the cultural and political methods, tactics, strategies, practices, tools, technologies, and positions that the residency participants have experienced and researched in the service of an authentic reality that faces the city of Montreal (as a microcosm of the larger body politic). The Alternative and individuals involved in the Making Art. Making Politics. project and course will have the opportunity to collaborate with other individuals and groups outside the university during intensive challenge sessions grounded in real scenarios, located in urban enclaves, and informed by municipal concerns.