The FAST45 Learning Platform supports the public presentation of live research activities by members of the FAST45 research consortium. Over a three year period, interviews, workshops, lectures, webinars and seminars were delivered, archived and accessed through the platform.

Public Lecture Series

Beginning with the Public Lecture Series, the Learning Platform supported a broad range of discussions on the historical, theoretical, and political character of educational technologies, platforms and methods. The archival material produced through this series generated analysis, critique and experimentation with the  form of the Learning Platform at a time of unprecedented acceleration in digital education. In total, there were five public lectures in the Public Lecture Series, from Teaching Machines and Personalised Learning with Prof. Audrey Waters, though to Philosophies of the Art School by Prof. Michael Newel. Central to the Public Lecture Series was the concept of open learning, a common thematic emerging through the FAST45 interviews, developed for the data map. Reflecting on the ethos of open learning in art schools, Prof. Neil Mulholland at Edinburgh University highlighted “the challenge of open learning is to give access to educational resources online at a time of increasing surveillance and monitoring”. This sentiment dovetailed with many of our discussions on the ethical challenges presented by online learning, where the principles of public education are exposed to corporate interests through the platforms and apparatuses that we now use.

Fast Forward Webinar Series

Alongside the Public Lecture series, a number of online webinars were set up to explore one-off ideas and challenges emerging through the research. The first webinar, titled: Exploring Art School Futures was organised by Luca School of Arts to connect the field of future studies with art school ecologies. Through this webinar future scenarios for art schools and art education were discussed within a broader public realm. Building on these discussions, the second webinar Envisioning the artist of the Future organized by Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF focused on the different roles that artists might play within future societies and the different futures scenarios proposed in the first webinar. Art education and artists as change-makers and creative leaders was part of a thrilling, futures shaping panel discussion with Hideaki Ogawa, Director of Ars Electronica Futurelab artist/writer/researcher Luiza Prado de O. Martins,  and Rachel Uwa, founder of School of Machines. Experimenting with hybrid, live audience tracking, the themes in this session highlighted the need for transdisciplinary intersections between technology, business, and education as well as an inclusive, aware and sustainable approach to our futures. Shifting direction slightly, the third webinar was delivered by Stéphan Vincent-Lancrin, Senior Analyst at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. OECD. Titled, Pushing the frontiers of Education with AI, blockchain, and robots, this webinar opened up discussions around the politics of AI in education through a presentation of the OECD’s Digital Education Outlook (2022). Examining the potential for the emerging digital technologies of AI, blockchain, and robots to transform education in the same way they are transforming society, this session explored the use of data to help students and learn better and teachers to teach better, and to inform decision-making in educational administrations.

Seminar Series

Following the FAST45 Public Lecture Series, the Learning Platform research group set up a seminar series to enable a more dialogically focused inquiry on the role of digital education in educational institutions. Titled, Pedagogical Life and the Digital University of the Arts this seminar series aimed to explore different questions about the learning platform that might help us reimagine its educational use. To do this a number of key educational thinkers were invited to reflect on the future of education and learning platforms, beginning with Prof. Jan Masschelein. In this presentation Prof. Masschelein looked at the learning platform through the lens of the physical campus, paying particular attention to the material practices of study, its spatial characteristics and relational nuances. Extending this analysis, Prof. Leslely Gourley problematised idea of ‘synthesis’ in blended learning, arguing against the alignment of the physical and the virtual, and for the value of, seclusion, ephemerality and co-presence. This was followed by a presentation from Prof. Norm Friesin on the Phenomenology of Zoom, which developed an analysis of the bodily displacements that occur through online learning and highlighted the need for more research on the role of educational experience in technological education.  Adding to this seminar Dr. Eamon Dunne made a case for the spontaneity of educational practices to be understood as events in online learning, which he explored through the concept of unlearning, and from this session Lavinia Marin delivered an urgent explication and defence of educational values against technological standardisation and atomisation. The University Team at Microsoft presented on Alignment and Education through Artificial Intelligence which affirmed the need for educators to intervene in shifts towards fully automated teaching and learning, for fear that they may quite easily be replaced by more efficient, personalised and cost-effective systems. Throughout the course of this seminar the role of the body in education, both individual and collective, was theorised as an important site of resistance to the acceleration and fragmentation of online education. By extension, the aesthetic dimension of education, that is, the sensorial and environmental characteristics of education have taken a more critical turn. In the period of time since this seminar series began in Feb 2023, Artificial Intelligence moved from a rather faint activity playing out on the edge of our educational horizon to its centre, and while we always need to mind the hype behind such shifts, we also need to take seriously its impact on our practices, to ask uncomfortable… critical questions… to say, as Prof. Gert Biesta would say, Yes…but.