Pedagogy is an exploratory exhibition that considers the relationship between the gallery and the classroom, between curating and teaching. The exhibition reflects on the practice of the Market Photo Workshop itself, its curriculum, teaching, projects and gallery practice; and through this it deliberates on wider issues of education practice, skills development, transformation in the arts and photography more broadly. These issues are central to discourses in academia, the arts, and the wider public, as a country struggles with a failing education system and the complex role of art in South African society today.

The exhibition takes, as it point of departure, the word pedagogia, the root term from the Greek for Pedagogy. While the term pedagogy references ways and approaches to teaching and learning, the term pedagogia means “office of the tutor” and therefore references a space, of teaching and of contemplating the practice of teaching. This exhibition takes the gallery as the “office of the tutor”, imagining a space in which image-making and image-teaching might meet and be jointly considered.

As the “office of the tutor”, Pedagogy is modelled loosely on a number of curatorial and conceptual issues and makes use of a varying approaches to explore these notions. This includes works that consider the role of the school and the gallery in growing critical art audiences that renegotiate the status quo of art audiences to date, works that are actively didactic — considered by the photographers as tools of teaching and knowledge production, as well as images that are considered “exhibition photographs” and those that are not. The works on exhibition are taken from the Market Photo Workshop’s collection and are a consideration of what the Photo Workshop and its students have produced, how, and why.

The exhibition also makes use of intertextuality, bringing into the gallery space the objects of the office of a tutor such as teaching materials, texts that consider pedagogy, renegotiations of the classroom, and issues of transformation in education in the global south, as well as teaching documents. These play with notions of artefact and replica in the gallery context, as well as the role of text and non-art objects. By including them in the gallery, we are compelled to consider how the gallery space and the practice of curation should be activated for the purposes of learning and skill transferral.

While this exhibition is to some extent a self-serving inquiry into our own practice, our approaches, and our challenges, this exhibition also has wider significance for an audience interested in how critical visual practice develops in so complex a context today.

Installation image of Pedagogy showing Kom Vir playing in the background.
Two men stand and discuss the work of Tracy Edser on the opening night of Pedagogy.