Factory School

United States
California US
Record Status: 
Short description: 

As a learning and production collective, Factory School organizes a range of activities in the areas of publishing, broadcast, media display, policy research, community service, and skills exchange. Factory School projects assume one of several forms, including: books and book series; online handbooks, textbooks, and readers; streaming audio and video; research coalitions and think-tanks; online galleries and performance archives; online bulletin boards and discussion lists; community agencies or institutions; and public events such as readings, performances, retreats, and conferences.

Initially the collaborative project of two small press publishers, Factory School retains an interest in print culture, as well as the techniques and technologies of book production and distribution. However, Factory School is not just, or not only, a publishing imprint. Since its founding in 2000, Factory School has provided a networked resource for several independent learning and production groups, all committed, in various ways, to ideals of "public education and education in public" as articulated in the Mission Statement. Some of these groups operate in collaboration with Factory School to produce content, organize activities, and develop structures consistent with that mission; other groups are formally and informally affiliated through resource-sharing agreements and other relationships.

While education is in many ways the structuring theme and primary occupation of Factory School, not all members of the collective are, or are expected to be, educators in the strict sense. Factory School takes a critical-historical view of education as a form of knowledge and resource exchange and learning as a kind of critical-creative engagement with the cultural objects, practices, and ideas unique to particular groups in different times and places. To engage in creative production (of books, posters, open-source textbooks, digital artwork, videos, sound objects, etc.), and to participate in their propagation as communicative objects, is to assume partial responsibility for cultural meaning, its dissemination, and its reception in public spaces. In this sense, all participants in the Factory School project are both custodians of educational materials and co-inhabitants of the cultural commons defined by this site, its organizational architecture, and its mission.

The Factory School organization is comprised primarily of Designers, Curators, and Editors. Designers act as joint guardians for all Factory School projects and activities, utilizing an action-research methodology to help individuals and organizations reach project goals. Designers work closely with project Curators and Editors in the development, distribution and/or display of finished projects. Curators and Editors, as formal members of the Factory School collective, act autonomously but in close collaboration with Designers to realize publishing, broadcast, display, or training objectives.

Currently operating in several urban and rural locales, Factory School is nonetheless "based" in the collective vision represented by these editorial, curatorial, and design efforts. The Factory School website (factoryschool.org) both models and situates these efforts and, as the main site for broadcast and display projects, is itself one manifestation of the Factory School design initiative. Functioning simultaneously as gallery space, resource and development lab, and distribution gateway, factoryschool.org utilizes the networking and data-collection possibilities of the World Wide Web to facilitate community-building and project coordination.

Factory School is constantly adding new initiatives, programs, and projects, and is receptive to project proposals consistent with the organization's objectives as stated here and in the Mission Statement. See Participation for more information on how to get involved with Factory School or contact the Designers directly at info "at" factoryschool.org. (Source: mission statement).

Record posted by: 
Eric Dean Rasmussen
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