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Imagination of Synthesis

Teaching at the New School mines the critical-creative seam. It strongly promotes interdisciplinary practices in response to the increasingly obsolete disciplining of knowledge into traditional fields.


We are more concerned with the permeability of subject boundaries than their policing: a principle at one with Ernst Haeckel’s 1869 definition of ecology as ‘the study of all those complex interactions referred to by Darwin as the conditions of the struggle for existence.’


This is what we mean by the Imagination of Synthesis, a personalised approach to university study invented by the poet-scholar, Eric Mottram. Our curriculum opens a space for the consideration of experimentation as prompt to action, wherein students are regarded as agile and autonomous citizens, entrusted to discover their own patterns within webs of knowledge. In so doing we strive to rebalance the stress of the conventional university on individual capital with that of collective endeavour through a series of individual and collaborative projects. 


Eric Mottram

I play what I don’t know.

Miles Davis (1959)

Students are encouraged to develop mobile perspectives from which to explore relationships that arise over time between texts, images and performances, and that engage with fundamental questions of memory, place and biology. The act of making – an act of nerve; of moving within forces and forms – is assigned equal primacy to that of critiquing.

I paint what I don’t know.

  Franz Kline (1954)

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