photographic portrait of Piotr and Andrzej (APE)

Piotr and Andrzej (APE)

One a sociologist, the other a linguist, both are teachers, social activists and educators.
They cooperate with each other as part of the Autonomiczna Przestrzeń Edukacyjna [Autonomous Educational Space] – a grassroots organisation dealing with achieving equal access to free education. For nearly five years, they have been (co-)conducting classes on social and political topics, as well as workshops for grassroots organisations. Their interests overlap in the sphere of political philosophy maintained in the tradition of pluralist agonism. In addition, they share a passion for spicy dishes and beverages with a high caffeine content.

https://ape-edu.org/

Testimony

2020 is leading to questions being raised about the legitimacy of hitherto existing pedagogies. Both the immediate consequences of the Covid Pandemic and the spectre of social, economic and political crisis have accelerated the already existing sense of alienation, so peculiar to late capitalism. The current situation calls for new pedagogies that would put intimacy and care at their center.

We became residents as representatives of Autonomiczna Przestrzeń Edukacyjna (Autonomous Educational Space), a left-wing organization providing free-of-charge classes accessible to everyone, regardless of their financial status. With ethics of care being one of the pillars of our educational framework, we found the topic of Future Intimacies vital to our pedagogical development.

The project we proposed was based on the concept of comradeship and affinity groups. In small groups of four to five people, with help of the phenomenological method, we were discussing the prime factors of the notions of care and intimacy. The project involved putting yourself in uncomfortable situations, where you need to confront your weaknesses in showing care and creating intimacy. At the same time, we participated in some projects proposed by other participants.

The one-month residency was a profound experience for both of us. Our conclusions were largely influenced by the political turmoil that started close to the end of October. The first conclusion we can draw from this residence is that the online realm poses unique challenges that traditional pedagogies have no answer for.

The second conclusion is that care and intimacy are becoming more vivid in the face of threats. In our case, a tense political situation and a common opponent. Such a conjuncture creates a situation where the ideals of comradeship can come to fruition.