2015 - Volume 34 : Number 3
The Challenges of Art Education in Designer Capitalism: Collaborative Practices in the (New Media) Arts (pages 282–295)
This article explores the challenges to art education in the twenty-first century as art curricula around the world begin to change so as to meet the new emergent technological realities. It is argued that within a ‘control’ society like ours, where the economic system of capitalism dictates the direction of education along with its accompanying neoliberalist philosophy of the self, art educators are faced deciding how to cope and incorporate the new media technologies into their art programmes. I try to argue that this direction should recognise the ‘affective turn’ within media and grasp the different orientations when it comes to collaboration. In the final part of the article I provide a number of artistic exemplars that illustrate the direction art education should follow, given the dire state of the world in an era that will be called the Anthropocene.
The Practice of Collaboration as Ethical Activity in Art/s Education? (pages 296–308)
Popular wisdom has it that collaboration is ‘the new black’ in the arts and arts education. Collaboration is viewed as the basis for the making of new and novel artefacts in contemporary cultures, while also being repeatedly used as a catchword in the development of curriculum. Yet, collaboration as praxis entails complex and contradictory practices. Collaboration as Brown explains, in its various forms, falls under the category of ethics. It involves people being motivated by various reasons to join in cooperative action with a view to the achievement of a common goal/s. A model of three types of collaboration is proposed based on Brown's explanation. Then concepts of the habitus and symbolic capital are briefly sketched from Bourdieu's theory of practice as a means to further understand what is at stake in collaboration. Three cases of recent collaborations are discussed. Each type involves different grounds for a commitment to action. The first, dialectical collaboration, involves a political identity. The case of the Australian government and ACARA, its curriculum authority, is characterised in an Australian curriculum, intent on critically redefining the Arts. The second, autonomous collaboration, involves an investigative identity and is characterised by Cultivating Urban Ecologies, a Sydney based Visual Arts curriculum collaboration. The third, consultative collaboration, involves a creative identity and is characterised by the case of an expert teacher and final year school students, who make their artworks under the pressure of high stakes assessment.
Owning Failure: Insights Into the Perceptions and Understandings of Art Educators(pages 309–318)
FREMANTLE, CHRIS and KEARNEY, GEMMA
Failure forms an important dimension of art and design and is inherent in creative endeavours. This article explores current literature on failure in the art and design context and offers a contribution through qualitative research drawing upon interviews with lecturing staff in a UK art school. The findings from this research emphasise the complexity of the concept of failure. Three key themes emerged regarding respondents' perceptions of failure: failure as a process, as a means of learning and as an issue in assessment culture. This research is exploratory in nature, and whilst the limitations of the small sample are accepted, the article contributes to the dialogue and discussion surrounding the often emotive concept of failure.
The Value of the Blueprint Festival (pages 319–325)
CAWLEY-GELLING, INDIA; HYLAND, STEVEN; MCCARRON-ROBERTS, CONNAH; MOHAMAD NOOR, SUFEA and RUTH MORRISSEY
Blueprint was a three-day festival which took place at Tate Liverpool in July 2014 and was organised and produced by Tate Collective Liverpool, as part of Circuit, a four-year national programme connecting 15–25 year olds to the arts. Circuit aims to be open, reflective and critical and bring about organisational change. Members of Circuit's young research and evaluation team, which is central to Circuit's evaluation and research, have written this article, about our experiences of planning, delivering and evaluating Blueprint. The article articulates our own sense of the value and the challenges of the processes in which we engaged. The Blueprint festival was aimed at young people aged 15–25. Our roles as members of Tate Collective Liverpool involved planning, curating and delivering an exhibition, activities and events that took place as part of Blueprint. We also had crucial roles in evaluating the festival. Our roles as young evaluators have been key to our awareness of the learning that has taken place, for us, through the process of developing and delivering Blueprint. In this article we outline the processes and mechanisms through which learning took place, articulating the value of research and evaluation processes led by us, as young people, for our own professional development and for the development of gallery practice. The article also indicates something of the potential of such approaches for formal education.
Students as Producers: An ‘X’ Disciplinary Client-Based Approach to Collaborative Art, Design and Media Pedagogy (pages 326–335)
COCCHIARELLA, FABRIZIO and BOOTH, PAUL
This article presents the findings of a cross-disciplinary project between BA (Hons) Interior Design, Creative Multimedia and Film and Media Studies at a large Metropolitan University in the North of England. The collaboration was part of Unit X, a faculty-wide credit-bearing initiative to enable better collaboration across art and design courses.
The project explored cross-disciplinary approaches to problem-solving and generating designed outputs using a ‘vertical studio’ model. The outcomes for the students were to create a number of media/arts/design-based interventions, responding to real clients (festival organisers, local bar and café owners) and real client briefs. The constructivist approach to pedagogy allowed students the opportunity to develop their practice skills within communities of practice to help explore, develop, support and form their creative identities. The aim was to facilitate a supported environment to allow knowledge creation to take place through group tasks, reflection and the challenges of working and negotiating roles as professionals.
Investigating the Experiential Impact of Sensory Affect in Contemporary Communication Design Studio Education (pages 336–348)
The studio is the primary site for learning in specialist Communication Design education worldwide. Differing higher education institutions, including art schools and university campuses, have developed a varied range of studio environments. These diverse learning spaces inherently create a complex fabric of affects. In addition, Communication Design studio education produces learning processes and methods of practice which provide affective sensory experiences for the students. Students may be sensitive to these sensory affects, yet the impact of these experiences may go unnoticed or unequivocally tolerated in the studio environment. This article examines the experiential impact of sensory affect occurring in contemporary Communication Design studio education: investigating the learning processes, within a specialist practice-led discipline in the context of a studio environment. A preliminary study generated the question: ‘How might Communication Design learning address and exploit the sensory experiences occurring in studio education?’. Therefore this article contextualises how students might benefit from being aware of the affective experiences occurring inside studio education in future research studies. This research is grounded in collaborative practice with students in the field of Communication Design.
The Problematic Nature of the Artist Teacher Concept and Implications for Pedagogical Practice (pages 349–357)
The main argument of this article is that the problematic nature of the artist teacher concept might not be the duality between art and education, but might refer to a limited understanding of education, in such a way that art would appear to be contrasting to education. A different definition of education is required to understand the qualities of the artist teacher. Pre-existing pedagogical practices where children initiate their own learning, like Reggio Emilia and the Dutch project Toeval gezocht, transcend the boundaries of the educational paradigm. These democratic pedagogies can inform the notion of ‘artistic teaching’ in such a way that the artist teacher concept is no longer one of conflicting paradigms but instead becomes a critical model for teaching.
Human-Centred Design Projects and Co-Design in/outside the Turkish Classroom: Responses and Challenges (pages 358–368)
Perhaps more than any other professional group in modern history, designers have felt compelled to undertake the responsibility of addressing and engaging with societal problems in their practice. Initially, this liability involved concerns of form and production methods during the industrial revolution era, and developed into existential, ethical and context-specific (Western) priorities of working and living during the twentieth century. Today, citizenship by design involves efforts that are directed towards creating social change for and with the audience. Drawn from empirical research, this article presents the challenges met and lessons learnt when introducing human-centred design practices to Visual Communication Design (Graphic Design) students in Turkey. As a self-reflexive study, it draws from students' reception and feedback on a studio project on social awareness, accessibility and authority sharing with visually impaired people, and an applied workshop on the benefit of user collaboration in design. It aims to raise questions of relevance and assimilation of a socially oriented design practice in a non-Western, commerce-driven economy at the urge of modernisation. Moreover, acknowledging the strong element of conformity with peer members in Turkish society (such as the government, family and teachers), this work also aims to examine hierarchy-challenging design practice in and outside the Turkish classroom.
A Collaborative Design Curriculum for Reviving Sheet Metal Handicraft (pages 369–377)
CHAN, PATRICK K. C.
Galvanised sheet metal was a popular and important material for producing handmade home utensils in Hong Kong from the 1930s onwards. It was gradually replaced by new materials like stainless steel and plastic because similar goods made with these are cheaper, more standardised, more durable and of much better quality. The handicrafts behind sheet metal products are also phasing out because the machine-based production process has become the norm. Today sheet metal handicraftsmen in Hong Kong are facing a survival problem. This article is a case study on the design of a 14-week curriculum, an assignment design and follow-up events aiming to preserve and disseminate the knowledge and skills of the craft to a younger generation of designers, who typically lack hands-on design-and-make experience since such hands are mostly replaced by computers. With the collaboration of a university design school, an NGO and a practising sheet metal handicraftsman, this design curriculum managed to achieve multiple-level objectives: the galvanised sheet metal handicraft being appreciated and inherited, the anonymous and forgotten blue-collar craftsmen being recognised as professional artisans, the birth of innovative products employing the material and the craft, as well as new job opportunities and markets explored for the profession in the contemporary world. From a pedagogical perspective, it also evaluates why the students found it a satisfying learning experience. The significance of the study is that it suggests a similar collaborative curriculum design could be applied to a broader scope of traditional handicrafts for cultural inheritance.