The educational nature of the editions of the Bienal de São Paulo is a characteristic that distinguishes them from other international contemporary art exhibitions. In existence since the first edition of the exhibition, in 1951, the initiatives for engaging with different audiences, especially with teachers and students from public and private schools, educators, universities and other institutional partners, have been a part of Fundação Bienal’s ongoing work to ensure that different audiences have access to the contents and experiences provided by the exhibitions. The Fundação has had a permanent Education team since 2009, currently composed of ten professionals who are responsible for designing and implementing the educational project of each edition, in addition to other projects developed in the intervals between the Bienal editions, such as the Pavilhão aberto [Open Pavilion] program and mini-courses.
Currently, the Education team works on two fronts, which we call outreach and mediation. Outreach and mediation are integrated and complementary activities, which differ in the way they address audiences and in the methodologies and pedagogical resources employed.
- Outreach is the work developed outside the Bienal Pavilion and before the opening of the exhibition, where the team meets audiences in different places (schools, universities, school boards, teachers’ unions, NGOs, community centers, partners and supporters of the Foundation, cultural institutions in São Paulo and other cities) for lectures, talks, meetings, laboratories, and courses.
- Mediation is the work that takes place in the exhibition, in the presence of the works, in mediated visits by an extended team of professionals and interns. Taking the diverse experiences, contexts, and socio-cultural realities of the audiences visiting the exhibition as a basis, the mediation team seeks to build a critical dialogue about the works, artists, and contemporary debates present in the exhibition.
The projects developed by the team are conceived and executed collaboratively, and are constantly fed by a process of research and self-criticism, based on studies for building a common repertoire, on the study of the public’s evaluations of the actions, and on the reports produced by the team.
The team’s main working tool, this is always the first publication after each new Bienal. With a print run of 10,000 copies, the publication guides the program of outreach activities held before the exhibition, and is distributed free of charge to the participants of the actions and to the teachers and educators who take part in the mediated tours of the Bienal editions and in its traveling exhibitions.
Traveling Exhibitions Program
The education team also offers a preparation course for the teams working on the traveling exhibitions of each Bienal. The course is composed of a series of synchronous meetings (online) and face-to-face meetings, in addition to the sharing of research materials and a bibliography via a digital platform. After the preparation course, the team holds follow-up meetings with the educators from the partnered institutions. During the trips to attend the in-person training meetings, the team also carries out dissemination actions (lectures, laboratories for groups of teachers, among others).
With two editions (2019/2020 and 2022), the Open Pavilion program offers visits to the entirely empty building, providing a direct experience of an icon of modern Brazilian architecture and symbol of the Bienal de São Paulo. In addition, the program hosts guest speakers from various fields (artists, architects, and social activists) with different perspectives on the building and its possibilities as an exhibition space for contemporary art.
The mini-courses are meetings organized by the Fundação Bienal education team, based on research into the history of past Bienal editions, supported with documents from the Arquivo Histórico Wanda Svevo. Contact with different audiences, in the periods before and after an edition of the Bienal de São Paulo, is aimed at fulfilling the mission of discussing contemporary art beyond the exhibitions. African and Afro-diasporic modernisms in the Bienal de São Paulo and Crossing the fields: dialogues between contemporary art and soccer are some of the actions that have recently been undertaken.
Titled aqui, numa coreografia de retornos, dançar é inscrever no tempo [here, in a choreography of returns, to dance is to inscribe in time], the first movement of the 35th Bienal’s educational publication features contributions by Leda Maria Martins, Françoise Vergès, Sandra Benites, Anderson Feliciano, and Thiago Vinicius de Paula da Silva – Agência Solano Trindade, as well as by artists participating in this edition, including Inaicyra Falcão, Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz, and Torkwase Dyson.
The title of the first movement of the educational publication of the 35th Bienal de São Paulo – aqui, numa coreografia de retornos, dançar é inscrever no tempo – is a sentence by Leda Maria Martins.
Available in Portuguese only.
Intitulado meu modo de pensar é um pensar coletivo / antes de estar em mim já esteve nelas, o segundo movimento da publicação educativa da 35ª Bienal conta com contribuições de Rosana Paulino, Sueli Carneiro, Geni Núñez, Kênia Freitas, bem como de artistas participantes desta edição Aurora Cursino dos Santos, Ceija Stojka, Daniel Lie, Denilson Baniwa, Kapwani Kiwanga, Malu Avelar, Nontsikelelo Mutiti e Sarah Maldoror, Trinh T. Minh-ha e Wifredo Lam.
O título desta publicação é uma composição de frases de autoria de Rosana Paulino registradas durante a visita da equipe de Educação ao seu ateliê em março de 2023. Entre os conteúdos da publicação, foram inseridas ainda outras frases registradas durante essa visita.