The second annual Andrew Carnegie Lecture at Edinburgh College of Art was delivered by Professor Beatriz Colomina (Princeton University). It was titled “Towards a Radical Pedagogy”.

The Lecture Series is part of a ten-year initiative promoting international discourse in the arts.

Pedagogical experiments played a crucial role in shaping architectural discourse and practice in the second half of the twentieth century. These experiments can be understood as radical architectural practices in their own right. Radical pedagogies shake foundations, disturbing assumptions rather than reinforcing and disseminating them.

This challenge to normative thinking was a major force in the post-war field of architecture, and has surprisingly been neglected in contemporary thinking. This was a time of collective defiance against the authority of institutional, bureaucratic and capitalist structures; a geopolitical landscape further transformed by the Cold War and the Vietnam War; a domestic environment built out of consumable plastics and objects of mass-produced desire; and a utopian technological prophecy foretold in science fiction tales now realized in a brave new world of computation, gadgets, and space ships. Architecture was not impervious to such shifts. The discipline sought to stake its claims amidst a new territory.

Is anything similar happening today?