Politics, Art and Resistance
Iain MacKenzie and Stefan Rossbach, Senior Lecturers in the School of Politics and International Relations, and Mark O’Connor, Distance Learning Technologist in the Unit for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (UELT), created a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) on ‘Politics, Art and Resistance’, which ran for four weeks in April and May 2018. The course was offered through FutureLearn. Over 2,500 students worldwide joined the course, submitting interesting and engaging comments and observations throughout the four weeks. Hollie Mackenzie and Conor Heaney facilitated the discussions as teaching assistants, responding to many comments and summarising key issues at the end of each week.
As a unique feature of the course, participants were invited to submit an image of ‘what resistance meant to them’ as an end-of-course assignment. We received over 200 images, showing a wide range of resistance moments – some original artwork, created in response to the MOOC; some images of political protests, and some very personal work, addressing the kind of resistance and resilience we are sometimes required to show in our personal lives.
We collected the images and created a photo mosaic. Submitted by Ana Cecilia Parrodi Anaya, the main image shows a young person protesting against deforestation in Puebla, Mexico. The same image can also be found as one of the tiles making up the mosaic. The mosaic uses 4565 tiles, which means the same image had to be used several times in order to fill the mosaic. This website allows you to zoom into the mosaic and to see the individual tiles in detail.
The mosaic was on display in late May/early June at TATE Modern in London as part of a TATE Exchange workshop.
We were delighted to be able to welcome twelve students from the MOOC in the gallery! Some of them had travelled from far away in order to see their images on display in TATE Modern. We found that the mosaic is an interesting way of allowing students to work on their individual projects while still contributing to a collective artwork. It reflects both the diversity and the community of the students participating in the MOOC.
The pictures below show the display at TATE Modern. Although initially we wanted to show the mosaic as a projection, the lighting and space in the gallery were not ideal for this purpose. Moreover, we wanted visitors to be able to zoom into the mosaic and that was easier to arrange with a large LED screen and trackpad. The computer hosting the mosaic was behind the screen, and the trackpad connected wirelessly.
You can also view the images in their original form, together with comments from contributors, on our Padlet wall: