When education is discussed, it can be normatively organized in three different “categories”:
FORMAL, NON-FORMAL AND INFORMAL LEARNING
Based on formally defined practices, with the requirement of legal accreditation in Italy (MIUR, Const. art. 33), leading to a recognized diploma or qualification. This training takes place throughout the entire period of schooling, from primary school to university, and includes a variety of programs and institutes specializing in technical and professional training.
The term “non-formal” applies to any educational activity organized outside the formal system and conducted in the context of organizations or groups of the civil society, in associations, etc.
This is aimed at a category of clearly identifiable users and sets specific objectives in the field of learning, but without leading to the issuing of degrees or recognized qualifications.
The age of information (Castells, 1996) in which we live takes us into a new world: a world after the modern, in which on the one hand there is a new poverty, that of those who have no wealth or prospects, and on the other there is a new source of wealth: knowledge. In this world of new and particular characteristics, the question that arises is: in what way can a practice of diffusion, sharing and development of knowledge reduce poverty and sustain individual growth? What could and should be the structured form of this sharing? How can we construct the trust needed to share and give value to this necessary kind of training? (De Biase, 2013)
To understand this, we have to analyze the roots behind this change. It is based on a profound alternation of the subject, who has to adapt to a situation of education that continues through the entire life span, to approach the new world in a constructive and active way. This necessitates, of course, a new category of training programs that while being part of non-formal education, must necessarily take on high quality/excellence in their design and implementation; what is at stake, in fact, is the quality of the post-industrial and/or informational subject itself.
Though recognized by the European Union on a par with formal education, as a tool for achievement of the 8 Key Skills, non-formal education does not require the same accreditation as the formal system.
The world of education can thus be joined by an entire range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary courses based on forms of expertise, knowledge and thought that do not, precisely thanks to this opening, require legal recognition (MIUR, Const. Art. 33).
This is a process not connected to specific times or places in which each individual acquires – also in an unconscious, unintentional way – habits, values, abilities and knowledge from everyday experience and from the educational resources and influences in their environment: from the family to the neighborhood, work to play, the market, the library, the world of art and entertainment, the mass media.
Informal Education makes use of the environmental context as a training tool. Instruments like projects of Research and Development, exhibitions and displays, the writing of stories, the creation of films and media works in general, and related publishing initiatives in print or via web, focus different contributions on the comprehension of process relationships between the environmental sphere and the individual socio-economic and cultural sphere.
SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE, THOUGHT©
ARS ACADEMY RESEARCH operates in the field of Research and Education, in line with an academic, syncretic approach that sees research and training as processes integrated in a sophisticated complexity of meaningful relationships. This is why Ars Academy has developed its own method of formal, non-formal and informal education, though the term “method” may be misleading, because this is a project in the form of a process that does not present itself as an education movement, but instead recommends a dialogue between a territory, authors and already existing books. This Method is based on a ternary process of training:
SKILLS ↔ KNOWLEDGE ↔ THOUGHT
At the center of the Ars Academy method there is the conviction that every Skill should always be accompanied by pertinent Knowledge, and by related Critical Thought.
Knowledge is an understanding of facts, truths or information through introspection, which acts a priori, or the learning that is achieved a posteriori. Knowledge is possession of connected pieces of information, which taken individually are of less value and use. It is therefore a particular form of information, equipped with its own usefulness. Knowledge is studied by the disciplines of epistemology (which focuses on knowledge hypothesized as “exact” or as science that is measured in the methods and conditions of knowledge), gnoseology (found in the classical philosophical tradition, regarding the a priori problems of knowledge in a universal sense of the term) and hermeneutics (which focuses on the possible forms of interpretation). Knowledge is an investment in the future, because it permits evolutionary adaptability and problem solving. Furthermore, it permits the action of “care for the self,” a central praxis in the definition of the postmodern subject.
Thought is a process that leads to the formation of ideas, concepts, awareness, imagination, desires, critique, judgement, and every depiction of the world; it can be conscious or unconscious.
FREE TIME/SELF CARE
In the post-Fordist society free time collapses into time of updating and education. The forms of co-working and the fab lab extend the times of work and creativity to the personal sphere, enabling the sharing and hybridizing of practices. Free time becomes a space of reflection and redesign of a continuous flux in which the subject acts as the central element. Self care is the translation of the ancient Greek expression epimeleia heautoù, which can be traced back to the philosophy of Socrates and was taken up by Roman culture of late antiquity as cura sui.
The concept of “self care” is discussed in depth by Pierre Hadot, Arnold Davidson, the philosopher Raimon Panikkar, and by Michel Foucault, especially in the volume Le Souci de soi [M. Foucault, Le souci de soi, Gallimard, Paris 1984].
The notion of “self care” does not take the form of an abstract theory, but is expressed in a series of practical strategies that set it apart as a true “technique of life.”
These practices must be acquired through continuous work of research and training; they are not forms of biopolitics, i.e. the terrain of action of the practices with which the network of powers supervises the disciplines of life practices, as in the education provided by the “audit and automation” university, but an integral part of the offerings of ARS ACADEMY RESEARCH.
To be accountable for
ARS ACADEMY RESEARCH is part of a large, variegated community of study and research composed of innovators, professionals and researchers, which applies forms of intersubjective empowerment, making it possible – among other things – to achieve considerable reduction of the costs involved in processes and practices of Innovation, Research and Development.
By reducing the role of management and making consultants and researchers more directly responsible for industrial and cultural production, the model also leads to clear reduction of administrative costs.
Using its practices as a catalyst of innovation focusing on the products and the particular DNA of companies, ARS ACADEMY RESEARCH provides a HUB and a multifunctional space of Research & Development, as a response to the growing demand for processes of corporate innovation in the information society.
ARS ACADEMY RESEARCH acts as a device of Open Research, for the “capacitating” of products and, secondly, of the company/industry itself, recovering information and contents from the product and inputting them into cycles of research and innovation.
ARS ACADEMY RESEARCH considers research as a Second-Order process. Conducting research on a product, set of products or class of products, practices and/or procedures, Research & Development is conducted on the company itself, thus operating in the field of Innovation.
ARS ACADEMY RESEARCH sees research as a process of CORPORATE INTELLIGENCE; in other words, AAR provides the company with an initial phase of PLANNING & DIRECTION, with information useful for the administrative roles to define the information objectives required to make their decisions. This is followed by an organized process of COLLECTION, the gathering of information and resources on the part of AAR. The next phase is PROCESSING & ANALYSIS, in which the gathered information/sources are classified, evaluated and correlated as a whole. Finally, there is the phase of PACKAGING & DISSEMINATION (COURSES): the information/sources are developed into information that can be utilized, with indications of its reliability.