I thought several times at what I learnt from this class. Right now, my answer is mostly: a way of looking at the city and the society that didn’t come from lectures but from living experiences. I usually evaluate the academical way of teaching that transmits contents through lectures, but It’s necessary to be aware of the limits of this didactical approach and understanding how school can improve the capacity of students to learn through their way of listening to people and sharing knowledge with them. I think the possibility itself of understanding the ecology of the city needs this kind of skills. Anthropological and sociological knowledge, if abstract and without a deep and personal engagement in the object of research, are not enough to get into the comprehension of the complexity of the city.
Engaging the Cambodian artists into a dialogue has meant precisely that. The human and social skills became in this class as relevant as our cultural backgrounds and intellectuals capabilities. At the beginning, these new requirements, totally different if compared to what is usually aimed in a course in terms of knowledge achievement etc.., meant a bigger effort. Eventually, I have to say, this approach became more and more natural. Probably It will require me more time to really understand what this course, but I would say the whole experience of this semester at Parsons, has meant to me. Right now, I just see how deeply It has questioned my previous education and my way of looking at the city.