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2021 SPE Annual Conference: Imagining Legacy: Archives, Collections, and Memoria

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Simple, Dark, and Deep:

Photographic Theorizations of As-Yet Schools

Postdigital Science and Education (a peer-reviewed, academic journal published online and in print b   /   Deadline: 07/10/20

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In 'Teaching with Conscience in an Imperfect World: An Invitation' William Ayers (New York: Teachers College Press) (Ayers 2016: 79) writes:
"We are, in spite of the existential feel of things and our own natural narcissism, finite beings plunging through an infinite space and gazing toward an expanding heaven. We are in the middle of things, and at the end of nothing—the unseen, the hidden, the mysterious, the invisible, the indefinite, the unfamiliar, the unknown, the unheard of, and the forgotten are vast, while our various maps of the known world are paltry, and, mostly castles in the sky. Learning to question, to interrogate, to experiment, to wonder and wander, to construct and create—this is the sturdiest foundation upon which to build an education of purpose for a free people.
In the schools we deserve, big questions can be followed to their outer limits because the pressure to "cover the curriculum" is pushed to the background—"curriculum" is transformed into a problem-posing and question-asking activity, and the pretense of "coverage" is thoroughly rejected. The schools we need will be simple, dark, and deep."

We invite you to share with us photographs of a simple, dark, and deep school as you imagine, understand, or have experienced it.

Broad interpretations of the call are encouraged. Broad interpretations of what can and might count as a school are also encouraged (a person, an object, an abstraction, a place, a process, a life experience, etc. could all conceivably operate as a school). What might a school or learning experience informed by the quote above look and/or feel like?

Selected photographs will be shared with 3 respondents who will each independently craft a written interpretation of the photographic collection, taking the above quote into account. Photographs and responses will be collated and published in a collective journal article co-authored by authors of all accepted photographs and texts and published online and in print in Postdigital Science and Education.

This interpreted, collaborative photo article will theorize embodied forms (physical, social, attitudinal, etc.) Ayers' simple, dark, and deep schools might take.


No fee


All are welcome to submit photographs for consideration.


For consideration please e-mail 1-5 photographs (JPG file type, 1500px on the long side, 72 dpi) as attachments by email to Sarah Pfohl, Submission deadline is Friday, July 10, 2020.

Include in the body of your e-mail an image list that provides title, date, and a descriptive caption for each submitted image. You may also include 2-3 sentences in the body of the e-mail to contextualize your images. Please use 'PDSE article submission' as your e-mail subject line.

At the time of submission, all copyrights for the submitted images must be held by you. By submitting your photo/s, you agree that your photo/s may be shared with respondents, and may be published in the article provisionally entitled 'Simple, dark, and deep: Photographic theorizations of as-yet schools' in Postdigital Science and Education.

Upon acceptance and in preparation for publication the following will be required for each accepted image:
1) Imagemakers will be required to grant Postdigital Science and Education written permission to use the accepted image/s in the article (a form will be provide by Postdigital Science and Education to facilitate this process). Imagemakers will retain their copyright.
2) Hi-res files suitable for publication for each accepted image will be requested and submitted. The utmost care will be taken with hi-res files during the publication process, after publication the files will be discarded.
3) If an accepted photo contains persons other than you, and especially minors, you will need to provide a completed, written release for its usage.

Contact Information

Sarah Pfohl
University of Indianapolis Department of Art & Design
Indianapolis, IN 46227


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