Field Notes | Eskwela

  • May
  • 27


In a country that continues to suffer from education inequality, it’s easy to dismiss art as elitist, or worse, disconnected—an opportunity reserved only for the affluent members of society. Bellas Artes Projects challenges this myth with the launch of its newest project, Eskwela—an informal art school open to anyone passionate about linking art with social phenomena. (And no, you don’t need to have a degree in art history to join.)

Eskwela harkens back to the days of Escuella de Bellas Artes, the original School of Fine Arts in the University of the Philippines. But where most art schools require students to enroll full-time, Eskwela is more forgiving, requiring only a minimum of three sessions from a wide array of topics: gender, politics, anthropology, dance performance, context-responsive art, and so on. It’s an antidote to the snobbery that continues to afflict the art scene; The courses are designed to interest people from different backgrounds, whether you’re already a cultural worker looking to refine your expertise, a humanities student starting out on your journey, or generally a lifelong learner, curious to understand the dialectic relationship that exists between art and society.

As much as Eskwela is about educating and attracting a newer breed of art audiences in the city, it also offers an opportunity for BAP’s resident artists to interact with the local art scene. By bringing together artists, academics, historians, curators, and anthropologists from both the local and international scene, Eskwela diversifies its pool of ideas, touching not only on topics that are relevant and urgent to the local context but also to the bigger picture. 

Eskwela’s maiden run, happening this May to June, explores five central topics: Queer Filipiniana, Asia Pacific: Visual Histories of War and Postwar, Movement and the Choreographic Turn in Performance, Indigeneities & Art, and Context-Responsive Art Practice. These seminars and workshops aim to address critical analyses from a global perspective and cater to all levels. All sessions will take place at Bellas Artes Outpost, Makati.

To apply for the June seminars and learn more about Eskwela’s future courses, visit: