Enabling Relevance and Criticality in Trans-disciplinary Practices

By Bridie Lonie.

Published by The Arts Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper arises from the context of an institution in which students undertake courses in Art History and Theory as support for their studio practice in a progressively collaborative programme across the school. While Art History and Theory are seen as disciplines in their own right, they are positioned within programmes to provide the context for art-making. From the beginning undergraduates and postgraduates design their own written research projects with reference to their studio interests, that is, subject matter as well as media. This has led to a significantly increased number of art and research projects which both engage with and perform in wider inter-, multi or trans- disciplinary circles. The paper therefore asks how schools in the visual arts can enable their students to move with relevance and resilience as they create synergies with other disciplines, such as law, medical ethics, history, psychology, political theory, archaeology and the sciences relating to perception. It discusses existing arguments for and against students undertaking courses in other disciplines during their programmes. It considers the theoretical frameworks that enable students to develop and structure sustainable projects. It also considers what is excluded in such an approach. Contemporary practice in the visual arts engages with new and ever-changing models of subjectivity, interaction and relevance. What research methodologies and pedagogical approaches will best support learners to achieve depth of understanding as they work within other paradigms and contexts?

Keywords: Research Methodologies Transdisciplinarity, Criticality, Art Education

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 5, Issue 6, pp.71-78. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 695.250KB).

Bridie Lonie

Principal Lecturer and Section Manager, Art History, Theory and Drawing, School of Art, Dunedin School of Art at Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin, New Zealand

I teach Art History and Theory within the graduate and postgraduate programmes of a school that seeks to value notions of community and interdisciplinarity while retaining a distinction between studio disciplines. Our pedagogy builds on the understanding that artists are best enabled to gain control of their learning in all areas of their study through parallel learning approaches in theory and studio practice. My research interests are those of the poststructural period I come from: ongoing concerns addressed within feminist theory, psychoanalytic thought as a changing continuum, considerations in public art, and the ways in which artists can work with other disciplines, in particular those in the sciences.

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