A two day Sponge workshop focused on learning about learning and learning about sea sponges. Day one includes visiting lecturers and trip to a marine biology lab. Day two includes a follow up panel produced by the experts and participants. Situated in the Sponge HQ and part of the Curiouser conference at VCUarts.

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The Workshop
In Other Pedagogies & the Phylum Porifera, Sponge participants will engage with artist-thinker-researchers that are reinventing school, classes, and knowledge transfer. And since discipline-bending and biological metaphor are encoded in the Sponge project itself, we’ll hear from two biologists who study this porous phylum, and we’ll travel to a sponge research lab at the University of Richmond to see our model creatures up close.  Prior to this day of absorption, those interested in boosting respiration can elect to join an early-morning yoga session.
The HQ is thrilled to welcome visiting participants from the fields of art, digital media, education, and biology. 
Larissa Harris will introduce students to Pragmatism, “America’s only contribution to philosophy.”
Dr. April Hill will host the group at her University of Richmond lab where she will make a brief presentation on her research and invite us to peer through a microscope at freshwater sponge growth.
Christopher Lee Kennedy will present the School of the Future, an ongoing project about what a school could be. In July 2010, School of the Future opened as an intergenerational free school in Sgt. Dougherty Park, Brooklyn. 
Tse-Lynn Loh will discuss the major research focus of her doctoral research, which is to determine if overfishing causes a trickle-down effect on coral reef communities, by releasing palatable sponges from being grazed, which in turn frees the sponges to compete with corals for space on the reef.
J. Morgan Puett will present Mildred’s Lane, a long-term experiment in large-scale project, research, and event-based practices with a living museum and an educational institution attached.
Christo Sims will introduce terms such as communities of practice and peripheral participation and organize his session around imagining learning innovations in those realms.
Caroline Woolard will introduce OurGoods.org and Trade School, two experiments that allow social, environmental, and aesthetic rationales to drive exchange behavior. 
Catherine Brookes will conduct an optional one hour yoga session at the Sponge HQ on the workshop morning at 8:30 am. 

Joshua Quarles will bake, simmer and roast a delicious, healthy lunch in the Sponge HQ.

The Panel

A Report from Sponge: Other Pedagogies and the Phylum Porifera
Panelists: Hope Ginsburg (Chair), Larissa Harris, Tse-Lynn Loh, Christo Sims, Caroline Woolard, and Participants from the Other Pedagogies and the Phylum Porifera Sponge event on Wednesday 10.20.10.
A Report from Sponge: Other Pedagogies and the Phylum Porifera will focus on emerging strategies for knowledge exchange. The panel itself is an example of such a project, as it will be generated by the preceding day’s Sponge event, organized in conjunction with the Curiouser conference. Conference participants from Wednesday’s event, along with visiting participants will relay gathered information about the Pragmatists, the effects of technological media on education, and experimental projects such as Mildred’s Lane, Trade School and OurGoods. A marine biologist will be on hand to put us in a biomimetic frame of mind.
Other Pedagogies & the Phylum Porifera is funded by VCUarts for the Curiouser conference. 

Thanks go to Amy Hauft, Andy Kozlowski, Peggy Lindauer, Holly Morrison, Dawn Waters, and Ashley Kistler.

Photography by Nikolai Noel

With assistance from Andrew Brehm and Theora Kvitka