Counter with Care

Counter with Care is a project cre­at­ed by Shan­non Ger­ard and the stu­dents in her Press­ing Issues course at OCAD Uni­ver­si­ty, in Toron­to. The goals of the course are to con­duct research, share knowl­edge, and work with­in the field of con­tem­po­rary pub­li­ca­tion. Press­ing Issues sit­u­ates learn­ing, as much as pos­si­ble, out­side of the class­room. There is one assign­ment: TO MAKE A PUBLIC.

Press­ing Issues stu­dents ana­lyzed texts such as Erin Char­p­en­tier and Travis Neel’s Art and Social Prac­tice Work­book, Mau­rice Stein and Lar­ry Miller’s Blue­print for Counter Edu­ca­tion, and Cori­ta Kent’s col­lec­tion of assign­ments Learn­ing By Heart: Teach­ings to Free the Cre­ative Spir­it. They cri­tiqued ideas such as the rela­tion­ship of learn­ing to pow­er, explored OCAD’s own his­to­ry with rad­i­cal ped­a­gogy, and used map­ping strate­gies to cre­ate space for mar­gin­al­ized or sup­pressed ‘knowl­edge practices.’

Part of their research includ­ed ‘a pil­grim­age’ to the Cori­ta Art Cen­tre in Los Ange­les where they cel­e­brat­ed CORITA 100 (Corita’s 100th birth­day) by facil­i­tat­ing a ban­ner mak­ing work­shop with artists, local politi­cians, col­lec­tors, Cori­ta enthu­si­asts and many of Corita’s for­mer stu­dents. Par­ty vis­i­tors con­tributed to the ban­ner through sewing, sten­cilling, draw­ing, writ­ing and col­lag­ing. Many peo­ple sat around the ban­ners telling sto­ries about Cori­ta and the pro­found impact she had on their lives. The fol­low­ing day they parad­ed the ban­ners from the Pacif­ic Ocean at Playa Del Rey Beach to Otis Col­lege of Art and Design in a re-per­for­mance of the exu­ber­ant Immac­u­late Heart street parades cen­tral to Corita’s ped­a­gogy. Stu­dents also made com­mem­o­ra­tive view find­ers, anoth­er of Corita’s icon­ic tools for look­ing at the world.

The final cul­mi­nat­ing project is an updat­ed ver­sion of the Blue­print for Counter Edu­ca­tion— a series of posters that sug­gest mul­ti­ple points of entry into a web of fem­i­nist, artist-led, rad­i­cal, decol­o­niz­ing and unset­tling texts, art projects, archives, and more.