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Global Art Forum speaker Fernanda Brenner on the ideal school environment

Global Art Forum is Art Dubai’s critically-acclaimed annual transdisciplinary arts conference, which combines original thinking and contemporary themes in an intimate, live environment.

Following on from last year’s theme of automation, Global Art Forum 2019 unites a diverse cast of global minds – from renowned curators and critics to educationalists and entrepreneurs – under the theme of ‘School is a Factory?’ to address some of the urgent challenges and opportunities facing education today.


In the lead up the two-day summit, its co-directors Victoria Camblin and Fawz Kabra asked some of this year’s speakers a few fun questions on their unique educational paths, if school prepared them for real life and just how optimistic they are about the future of education.

Neither, group show at gallery Mendes Wood DM, Brussels in 2017, Courtesy Mendes Wood DM

Fernanda Brenner, Founder and Artistic Director of São Paulo-based art space Pivô and co-curator of this year’s Art Dubai Residents shares her school experience and thoughts for the future:


Where did you first learn about art?

I guess my family first introduced me to art history but my fist remarkable contact with contemporary art was in the São Paulo Biennial in the 90s.


Did school prepare you for “real life”? If not, what did?

I went to a progressive Montesori school, and this was very important in shaping my relationship to arts and culture, but I guess what prepared me more to “real life” was hanging out at the school courtyard on the break between classes

Leticia Ramos, Universal History of Earthquakes, at Pivô in 2018. Image: everton ballardin, Courtesy of Pivô

Would you trust a robot to teach your child?


Never, I still believe human contact is crucial to knowledge dissemination.


What did you have to unlearn after school?

To think about disciplines as separate subjects.


Given the choice, what would you have done differently in your educational path?

I wish I had paid more attention to physics and biology classes.


Do you apply anything you learned at school to your current occupation?

Yes, I had a very good grammar and literature teacher, this is very useful in writing.


Are you pessimistic or optimistic about the future of education?

I guess it is hard to think about on a global level. In Brazil for instance I am very worried about the current government approach to education, which is a mix of a far right wing mentality with religious fundamentalist values.

Fernanda Brenner, Photo by Everton Ballardin

Describe your ideal school environment.

I guess school is the perfect platform to rethink the connection between humans and nature, which I find the most important issue of our times: environmental discussions. To me, ideally, the school would combine a holistic approach to humanities and hard sciences while fostering critical thinking and creative autonomy.

Fernanda joins Global Art Forum on Wednesday March 20, 5:20-5:45pm, for “YOUR RESEARCH IS SHOWING!” a dialogue between her and researcher, art critic, editor and curator Barbara Vanderlinden on questions faced by interdisciplinary and research-based cultural projects when they enter the public sphere.

Global Art Forum is open to the public (including non-ticket holders) and free to attend. Global Art Forum is supported by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

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