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May 26, 2007 / conceptbin

What kind of ignorance does a teacher need?

Camouflage posterCamouflage-provocateurs

Yesterday was spent at “Camouflage”, a lively symposium organized by my colleague Johnny Golding, with support from our department at Greenwich University. Instead of conventional conference presentations, we enjoyed around 17 “provocations” ranging from performances to conventional academic papers.

It’s a pleasure to spend time discussing the art and research of a diverse group of people who like to venture beyond their immediate sphere of knowledge, expertise and comfort. The experience of the whole day was summarized by Petra Sabisch, on whose Ph.D. thesis I am a supervisor, who gave a presentation/performance composed entirely of questions: “What kind of ignorance does a teacher need in order to be interesting?”

The fundamental assumption here is that a teacher needs a certain level of ignorance to drive curiosity, experimentation – to remain alive to scholarship. I agree. One of the great disappointments of academic conferences for me is that they so rarely hold surprises. This is why “Camouflage” was such a pleasure – my notebook is now littered with many unexpected remarks, references and connections.

Excuse me, I need to look something up about “Zouzou” youth culture and the Vichy regime…

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