Taf Hassam (DAI, 2010) and Janine Armin invite you to the official Amsterdam launch of teacher, activist, and writer Fred Dewey’s new book, The School of Public Life (2015)

06.07.16 | tag: Amsterdam

It is with great pleasure that we invite you to the official Amsterdam launch of teacher, activist, and writer Fred Dewey’s new book, The School of Public Life (2015). The evening consists of a short introductory talk by Fred on his ideas and work followed by a discussion on self-governance, public space, and the possibilities within independent initiatives today. See full details below. 

The event is FREE and a homemade Indian dinner buffet will be available for a small donation. 

After the discussion New Conditions is open as per usual, with music, drinks, snacks, and talks into the night.

New Conditions
Burg. De Vlugtlaan 125
1063BJ, Amsterdam

For directions or further information, please see our website:


Drawing on two decades of interventions in politics and culture, The School of Public Life records Fred Dewey’s work to revive and rethink public space from Los Angeles to Berlin and beyond. Through manifestos, lectures, letters, and experimental texts the book chronicles efforts to secure a space for public reality, culture, appearance, and power. From helping to found neighborhood councils in Los Angeles to directing Beyond Baroque, a public space for poetry, art, sound work, publishing, and community debate, Dewey recounts a lived experience of self-government face to face with the rise of manufactured reality and an unknown political history. How can we answer the falsehoods of economics, parties, and a new slavery of fabricated powerlessness? Working with the examples of Hannah Arendt, Charles Olson, Václav Havel, John Berger, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., and more, Dewey’s account of thinking and public gesture proposes a new kind of school, one powerful enough to address all our conditions—a school for the people and their life.


Following Fred’s introductory talk we move into a discussion to see how we can begin answering questions such as:


With public (and private) space being taken away from us as a matter of policy, how do we continue to believe we can make or lay claim to our own? Is there another way, in whose hands does culture now reside? (NC)

How might the polis, and principles of a democratic republic, be updated, how might we begin to think politically again, in shared, widespread discussion, not in response to issues or cult figures, but concerning how we are and are not able to govern our lives, and mutually support each other in this? How does this relate to made things, to culture and to meaning? How does this get picked up by artists and writers and neighbors? (FD)

Fred Dewey is a writer, teacher, editor/publisher, curator, and co-founder of the Neighborhood Councils Movement in Los Angeles. He directed Beyond Baroque Literary / Arts Center in Los Angeles from 1995–2010 and has edited, published, and designed over twenty books and anthologies. He has collaborated and continues to work with numerous artists and thinkers, projects include: Hannah Arendt’s The Crisis in Culture: Its Social & Its Political Significance with artist Jeremiah Day and the publication and event series Burn Down After Reading by Second Culture Press. Currently Fred teaches in Berlin and in the graduate fine art program at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California.

The School of Public Life is the fourth issue of the book series Doormats published by Errant Bodies Press in 2015.