LIFELINES is an installation project developed out of the need to explore research concerns in a wider application than my own studio practice. The aim was to transfer already developed artistic strategies to the teaching and learning of students (and possibly other participants in the future). The objectives were to facilitate and enhance experiential learning through a practical project that viewed design development in a narrative and self-reflective context, and to introduce critical practice in a soft and non-threatening way to under-graduates. The project is based on ideas formulated by Claude Levi-Strauss that regard myths as a system that codifies knowledge based on an understanding of reality, that links fundamental cosmology with everyday experience; a structured system of signifier. He believed that the system of meaning within mythic constructions parallels closely that of a language system, but also exists on the level of the story that myths tell. Considering that a large part of art/design/craft education in Britain is either focused on product development, which by its very nature is geared towards success in the world of trading, or individualised studio practice, the relational and social function of art is often neglected. In that respect, narrative exploration providing the motivation for the making of artefacts, and collaborative projects, like Lifelines, can offer a particularly fruitful strategy to engage with and explore social and relational aspects of artistic production and enhance experiential learning. Apart from the aim to create a visually engaging installation that can be exhibited in a variety of contexts, the project served to enable students to better position their work with reference to diverse social, cultural and interpretative issues and appreciate the relationship between a subjective artistic position, a wider cultural context and the production of contemporary decorative objects.
|Keywords:||Installation, Myth and History, Meaning, Making, Relational and Collaborative, Experiential Learning|
Senior Research Fellow & MA Course Director in Jewellery, Silversmithing and Related Product, School of Jewelery, Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK
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