Educational Work and Artistic Practice.
In the current climate of contemporary art a major theme for many artists is how to interact within society to produce work which promotes, encourages or instigates cultural change. This reflects a general trend away from the importance placed on the production of art objects (i.e. painting, sculpture, installation, film etc) towards an emphasis on collaboration and social interaction to communicate ideas.
As well as experience within both compulsory and post-compulsory education constructing and delivering curricula for Art based practices and sustainable design. I have been able to design and develop opportunities for learning outside institutional education. These "workshop" based encounters deal with the re-learning of forgotten or neglected basic skills and practices. (See "Residencies and Workshops" section of this site). In addition they also investigate the student-teacher relationship and focus on possible ways to implement student led curricula. There are many advantages to a student led approach in Art and Design, among them are:
- The students feel more empowered and are able to take control, and responsibility for their own learning.
- Students are able to design, implement and assess their own goals and objectives.
- Students develop the ability to reflect and assess their own progress throughout a project. Modifying goals and developing solutions to creative problems when necessary.
- All this leaves the student better able to cope with developing their own creative practice and managing their own professional development.
However, experience has taught that the success of such schemes depends to a great extent on the motivation of the students. The student led curriculum works well for students who are self-motivated, interested in the subject and eager to participate in the scheme. This model does not sit easily within the current climate of compulsory education, where the responsibility for motivation rests to a large extent with the teacher.
However, I believe the student led curriculum is increasingly important in equipping students for the challenges they will face in the world during the next 10 to 50 years and ways should be sought to integrate them within compulsory education.As such a "Sustainable Design" scheme of work has been developed in collaboration with Plan-It Earth Eco Project (www.plan-itearth.org.uk)
There is also a current challenge facing educators who are trying to integrate children from societies who have a tradition of informal education into formal education institutions (e.g. the education of children from a Gipsy culture in Secondary Schools, or the education of children from traditional Amazonian tribes). I believe that student led curricula, and incorporating techniques from informal educational models could provide the basis for a possible solution.