The studio sans frontières : the open-studio as an answer to the challenges of teaching contemporary art

Robb, Charles (2009) The studio sans frontières : the open-studio as an answer to the challenges of teaching contemporary art. Scope : Contemporary Research Topics (Art & Design), 4.

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Since at least the 1960s, art has assumed a breadth of form and medium as diverse as social reality itself. Where once it was marginal and transgressive for artists to work across a spectrum of media, today it is common practice. In this ‘post-medium’ age, fidelity to a specific branch of media is a matter of preference, rather than a code of practice policed by gallerists, curators and critics. Despite the openness of contemporary art practice, the teaching of art at most universities remains steadfastly discipline-based.

Discipline-based art teaching, while offering the promise of focussed ‘mastery’ of a particular set of technical skills and theoretical concerns, does so at the expense of a deeper and more complex understanding of the possibilities of creative experimentation in the artist’s studio. By maintaining an hermetic approach to medium, it does not prepare students sufficiently for the reality of art making in the twenty-first century.

In fact, by pretending that there is a select range of techniques fundamental to the artist’s trade, discipline-based teaching can often appear to be more engaged with the notion of skills preservation than purposeful art training. If art schools are to survive and prosper in an increasingly vocationally-oriented university environment, they need to fully synthesise the professional reality of contemporary art practice into their approach to teaching and learning.

This paper discusses the way in which the ‘open’ studio approach to visual art study at QUT endeavours to incorporate the diversity and complexity of contemporary art while preserving the sense of collective purpose that discipline-based teaching fosters. By allowing students to independently develop their own art practices while also applying collaborative models of learning and assessment, the QUT studio program aims to equip students with a strong sense of self-reliance, a broad awareness and appreciation of contemporary art, and a deep understanding of studio-based experimentation unfettered by the boundaries of traditional media: all skills fundamental to the practice of contemporary art.

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ID Code: 28973
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Visual art, Studio teaching, Interdisciplinarity, HERN
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > OTHER STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190999) > Studies in the Creative Arts and Writing not elsewhere classified (199999)
Divisions: Past > Disciplines > Art & Design
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 Charles Robb
Deposited On: 29 Nov 2009 22:18
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2013 23:40

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