One of the earliest definitions of the word “art” is “to join”. An academic program can enliven this meaning by bringing together a dynamic hybrid of perspectives. Responses become available by initiating questions of what is being joined, for whom, for what purpose, with what intent and for what outcome. The following three key intersecting and interdependent themes represent a template of core values for an evolved, and involved, environment:
Inquiry, not Indoctrination
An authentic education and dialogue can emerge by seeking the removal of layers of hierarchical codification. Art and design are emphasized as participatory and inclusive instead of vicarious observation. The rewards of living a creative life are introduced. This awareness contributes to a visionary yet practical code of living and simultaneously enhances interpersonal, societal and global communities. My experience has validated the belief that innovative, student-centered learning incites discovery. An ongoing exploration of identity and meaning, particularly in dedicated arts and design graduate programs, is invested in a global society.
Ethics Across the Curriculum
Artists and designers engage with ethical decisions that are interfaced with their interpersonal, social, and global environments. A curriculum where issues and topics challenge and confront can be cultivated to create systems and processes of understanding and responsibility. Pedagogy and research can engage in dynamic world views when begun with the self as the locus of attention. Interconnected concentric circles of influence can then be developed. A challenging, commanding yet supportive environment invites the questioning of pre-existing ideas of art and visual culture. The interweaving of historical, cross-cultural insights with contemporary approaches encourages sincere and frank responses. Facility and awareness expand the investigation of media, criteria and meaning. Critical discourse is reinforced and provides the necessary determination towards commitment and responsibility in art and design.
My courses and programs have demonstrated that sharing core values and complimentary skills forms alliances that support sustainability. Just as theory and practice are ongoing and interdependent, discussion and dialogue permit continuous interpretation and expansive critical analyses. Whether in a course or within a program, the formulation of timely questions, the assessment of resources, and the creation of interactions that engage a larger community enhance and maintain viability.