Welcome to the eighteenth issue of Networks
Networks team, University of BrightonThis is our final issue of Networks in its current form. For this issue we didn’t identify a theme, but put out a general call with the aim of celebrating the creativity, skill and attention colleagues devote to teaching and learning in art, design and media higher education. The themes and issues raised, therefore, come from teachers and others supporting learning in the sector. Neverthele...
This is our final issue of Networks in its current form. For this issue we didn’t identify a theme, but put out a general call with the aim of celebrating the creativity, skill and attention colleagues devote to teaching and learning in art, design and media higher education. The themes and issues raised, therefore, come from teachers and others supporting learning in the sector. Nevertheless, there are commonalities between many of the articles submitted and presented here.
Recurrent themes include: efforts to create a more holistic learning experience for our students through the joining up of activities, modules and disciplines; critical reflections on prevalent studio-based teaching practices and teacher/student relationships; and activities encouraging collegiate and collaborative learning amongst and between students.
Predictably, many of the articles reflect the implications of a marketised higher education system. While they focus on investigating, reporting and developing a positive learning experience for students, many hint at, or more actively articulate, a tension played out in the studio context as follows:
Whilst salaried artist-teachers seek to sustain relationships with their students which foreground qualities such as the development of a questioning criticality, the encouragement of risk-taking and the enablement of reflective contextualization, students…want to know what they’re going to get for their money (Grivell and Scanlon).
How to creditably manage this tension is evidently a preoccupation for many teachers in our disciplines.
In spite of a higher education system recently characterised by Thomas Docherty as 'impoverished by competition' (The Times Higher, 31 May – 6 June, 2012), the features, case studies and reviews presented here demonstrate an appetite for sharing, seeking feedback from and working with, rather than against, colleagues in other institutions. This was particularly apparent at our recent conference Drawing on All Resources, where the inclination and will to openly share teaching and learning resources was much in evidence. Delegates’ feedback expresses powerfully the mutual benefit derived from inter-institutional collaboration relating to teaching and learning, from keeping in ‘contact with relevant people to help support their work and inform mine.’
For those of you were unable to attend Drawing on All Resources, recordings of presentations (under Creative Commons licence), abstracts and reports are available online here.
As our readers know, the Subject Centre officially closed in March; we are delighted and grateful to the University of Brighton for funding this last issue and Brighton is exploring how we sustain this community and these debates and find new channels for their dissemination. Over the next few weeks and before summer’s out, the team here will be taking up new roles and challenges. Thank you to the contributors to this issue and for all for your contributions in the past; we hope that the will to share, so much in evidence in Networks, will continue to thrive in new ways. So watch this space!
The Networks team:
Professor Stuart Laing
Dr Stephen Mallinder