THE BRUGES ART_INSTITUTE is a romantic place at an old canal in the medieval historic city center, named after the great Ambrogio Spinola, a condottiero and nobleman of the Republic of Genoa. THE BRUGES ART_INSTITUTE is a new constructed bay along the square named after the Flemish Primitive painter Jan van Eyck. It overlooks the Jesuits St. Walburga Church in late Baroque style in the South and the famous Groeningemuseum and collection in the North. THE BRUGES ART_INSTITUTE is dedicaded to bringing youth and general public close to the best Flemish-Italian and international contemporary creative work and ideas. In this historic noble Ten Vagheviere Residence, the institute is employing a team of teachers, artists, craftsmen and mediators for housing a new Flemish primitive art education center. A Louis Van Hecke refter for students and parents, a Memorial Book bookshop and library, an archisculpture platform, a Flemish-Italian Stereoscopic Company Studio Torino gallery an À tout Vent filmproduction company, an Akzidenz Grotesk winebar by Volatile, a Müller-Vanseveren design factory, a Charles Chaplin workcabin, a Comme Des Garçons Spinola street market, a Rogier Van Der Weyden home theater, a Flemisch-Baroque fountain, and a vibrant Jan De Cock Artist Studio.







The project presented here is in many respects unique. Its uniqueness lies – from a pedagogical point of view – not so much in bringing pupils in contact with contemporary art, but in the way this occurs. The social function of contemporary art can be to pose critical questions about what is considered to be the normal structuring of reality and, in so doing, to make new perspectives possible. At its best, contemporary art poses “slow questions” as Kunneman puts it: questions to which answers cannot be found quickly, questions that cannot be answered in terms of efficiency. Slow questions, adds Kunneman, are questions that arise where there is engagement. What is special about this project is that these slow questions, the disruption of the “natural” order, are not only asked in schools but are also about schools. They concern school as a spatial and temporal demarcation; school as the conceptualisation of a certain view of what learning is; the relationship between a school and its neighbourhood; the demarcation of “learning time” and “playtime”, and so on. Because the “slow questions” that this project poses are about schools themselves, or in other words about the social organisation of which the pupils themselves are a part at a given time, the project offers unique opportunities for meta-thinking and r eflection, but also for democratic citizenship. The project is aimed at schools that are frequented by pupils and teachers that we can expect perhaps to come in contact less frequently with contemporary art. However, the project is not motivated by a deficit view (a view of what the people ar e missing or cannot do) but will use subtle changes in the temporal and spatial organisation to appeal to their potential to deal with unpredictability and diversity, which will probably be formative in the changing relationships between them. For precisely this reason, it would be advisable to accompany the project with quality exploratory research that documents how these changes are dealt with spontaneously, how they are translated into “learning opportunities” in terms of meta-thinking (reflection) and democratic citizenship, and the conditions under which this happens. That means research that is not only concerned with outcomes but that documents the process, in particular, and indicates the significance that the various people concer ned (schoolteachers, pupils and any others involved) attribute to it. This would enable conclusions for further implementation to be drawn from this Italian-Flemish pilot project. Thanks to Prof. Michel Vandenbroeck, Department of Social Welfare Studies, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Ghent