Of course there are many brilliant observations made by Stuart Hall – but one of my favorites is his description of the early days of the Centre for Cultural Studies. To me it reveals a lot – his enthusiasm for the present, a desire to promote an open exchange of ideas and an unconventional and innovative approach to education. Taken from a conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist, Interviews, Volume 1, Hall noted about that period:
“To go back to what I think was inspirational about the Centre’s way of working. Because it was a new field, we couldn’t set ourselves up as teachers in the conventional sense, as the exclusive owners of knowledge – we had simply read a few more books than our students. So we had to work collaboratively with them. They knew that we were often reading the next three texts in a week before they did. So that exploded the myth of the professor and “his” apprentices.”
I never had the possibility to see Hall lecture publicly – I wish I could have – but his writing was certainly an influence on my thinking, work and approach to education. There was something gentle about the way he approached contentious issues – an enviable quality, not to evade what’s important, levy astute criticism, but to leave space for grace and production.