Pre-Texts in Buenos Aires

September 21, 2017

Doris visited Argentina to facilitate a five-day long Pre-Texts workshop. The following is a translated reflection from her host, Gonzalo Aguilar:

Doris arrived to Buenos Aires Friday morning. I met her at the airport, and that same day we began our pilgrimage through the city. Doris, who I met at Harvard, came with the program Pre-Texts to train cultural agents in the vulnerable neighborhoods--or slums, “villas,” as they are known here--that the organization I work with (el Instituto de la Vivienda) is developing. First, we went to la Casa de Cultura de Villa 21-24, where we met with its director, Gustavo Ameri. There, as with everywhere we visited afterwards, Doris’s enthusiasm for learning, games, and creativity was contagious. No meeting was just a mere exchange of opinions. On the contrary, there was a feeling of participating in a mutual project: one of social change through culture and reading.

Doris’s workshop left many lessons. From my perspective, the most important element is that Pre-Texts demonstrated the link between knowledge and reading practices. It was not about sharing critique and literary theory, but rather about experimenting with texts to continue developing hypotheses, not according to abstract and old principles but rather according to experiences with reading. Secondly, in the questions round of the first Pre-Texts meeting, I came to see that allowing total freedom for questions does not spoil the course of the meeting. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of questions and paths that they opened.

Pre-Texts left its mark on Buenos Aires. Now, we must continue working so that this single footprint becomes a path.

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