15 December 2020

Dear all, 

I wanted to fill this pre-festive (oh the irony) season missive with links and quotes and some witty and timely reflection on progressive ideas and ideals––as you will no doubt recall I am so adept at doing. But instead, I thought you probably really wanted a Zoom meeting! No, I jest.  

What I will do, however,  is let you know that if you want to read and look at some really thought-provoking material, then I will be launching my very own journal that will include the far greater insights of the guests, residents and participants I’ve hosted this year.  I know I took the rather unimaginative step of naming this journal after moi, but since I am but a fictive entity,  you will find not me in this journal, but the perspectives, voices, words and images of others. And how much better for it. If you missed the talks as part of the public programmes, then you will have a chance to watch most of them with Lithuanian and English subtitles.  What’s more, you will be able to read specially commissioned texts in Lithuanian and English which have all responded to the questions and practices of interdependence and care around which our programmes were configured this year.   This journal will continue the project of the five-year anniversary publication that gathered together the work of those who had been associated with yours truly.  There are only a few of these publications left, each with a limited-edition and specially made art-work. You can buy one, remembering that the funds go toward supporting the programmes.

As this year is feverishly coming to a close, the alternative education programme reached its final stage––an exhibition event named with a quote of a timeless thinker, Things that we were thinking with. This event, like the second part of the programme, gradually found a new home on many screens across the globe.  As the participants got familiar with their new surroundings and circumstances, they took their works though different iterations of digitized care and interdependence, keeping their individual voices sound and clear. Hopefully the past five months gave a glimpse into the elusive and simultaneously intensely present world of alternative education. If one thing is clear, alternative (education) is capable of growing not in opposition to something, but rather in active relation to multiple possible forms of being and learning. And it turns out, there is a lot to learn from and together with things. Dear reader that you are, please come to read together for our final reading session and continue to discuss all we have learned in our programmes.

Continuation and commitment is what I’d like to briefly reflect on, if you’ll indulge me for one final moment. Even if this year ‘care’ and ‘interdependence’ are words that have featured in all the talks, texts and announcements, let us not forget that these aren’t empty signifiers and ‘themes’ that only have intermittent ‘relevance’.  Let us continue to work toward challenging the ideologies of individualism and competition that have tried to disavow our fundamental interdependencies. Let us also continue to ask what care is, who has access to it and where it might be problematic.  This pandemic, as I think I noted in March, has drawn our interdependencies into relief. It’s a shame it took a pandemic to do this, especially when so many others have been acknowledging this for decades, if not millenia. But as these interdependencies have emerged with startling relief, we have become more aware of our mutual responsibilities––an awareness that may have been painful and joyous. With this in mind, let us acknowledge how deeply involved we are with each other, human, more than human, and work toward sustainable forms of relation and capacity building.  If not now, then when?  

Yours truly,