Celebrated globally for its nimble nature crossing boundaries and thresholds, it is Brazil’s cultural fluidity that inspires Central Saint Martins: experimenting with methods of engagement, merging the formal with the informal and unleashing creativity from the studio into the wider context of the public.
Since a UKTI-funded trip in 2014, what began as a series of conversations and scoping visits between the college and various Brazilian institutions has given rise to connections across art, architecture, design and performance in São Paulo. As Jo Wheeler, Director of International Development, says: “our strategy eschews the more traditional approach, based on university-to-university exchanges, in favour of an academic and cultural network, rooted in the cultural ground of Brazil itself and the local ways of working.”
SESC’s position is unique; a cultural and social service funded by compulsory contribution from the commercial and service sectors. The organisation works across culture, arts, education, sports and health. SESC’s admirable model emphasises the connections across disciplines as well as embedding such practice within its public-access hyper-local centres.
When Head of College, Professor Jeremy Till, invited Danilo Santos de Miranda, regional director for SESC São Paulo, to speak at the Restless Futures conference at Central Saint Martins in 2015, Santos de Miranda said: “It is vital to refuse the existence of one singular legitimate culture. It’s necessary to recognise every single individual not only as a producer and participant in culture but also as someone able to discuss cultural policies. We believe that giving value to cultural diversity should be a priority. Saving cultural rights is an obligation. This is only possible in a democratic context.”