Challenges and Strategies in Teaching the Art of Engagement
For those of us educated in the West, we have inherited an artistic tradition of practice and pedagogy rooted in 18th century European philosophy. Central to this tradition is the notion that art is separate from daily life and experience. The concept of disinterestness developed by Immanuel Kant and expanded on by subsequent philosophical movements was an attempt to separate the art from its function or utility. This consideration of the art object focused on the qualities intrinsic in the work and removed it from its context and instrumental value.
This modernist belief in the separation of art from its context has met with continual challenge by philosophers, feminists, ethicists, as well as members of non-Eurocentric communities.
Particularly since the 1970’s, artists have created practices that engage social, political and environmental concerns. In many academic institutions and art programs, however, there is no place in the curriculum for teaching art that engages these concerns. The art created in the academic institution is often made in isolation from other disciplines and the larger community.
This panel will examine the following questions:
How do we best introduce, inspire, and cultivate activism in the classroom?
How do we effectively connect our students with opportunities to engage with the issues and communities that are meaningful to them?
How do we keep the approach to these ideas fresh and contemporary and also honor the practitioners of the past?
What resources and successful models are available for those developing courses?
Can art heighten our awareness of the political and environmental conditions of our world—will that lead us to an increased sense of responsibility and active engagement?
The speakers will include:
Christine Baeumler, co-chair,environmental artist and educator.
Professor Baeumler's desire is to create places that engage the visitor aesthetically and function ecologically. She works in collaboration with engineers, soil scientists, landscape architects, architects, youth organizations and community groups. Her artistic ideas, therefore, are the result of the interaction with various people and disciplines.
New Genre public art is predicated on the conviction that art has a role to play in addressing social issues and as a tool for social change. In this regard, she see the artist as a cultural worker, a coordinator of projects that build community and impact the environment as part of the artistic endeavor. This paradigm doesn't replace individual artists and their work, but becomes another strategy for artists to use their creativity while encouraging others to do the same. How do we educate our students in developing projects and collaborative practices that engage multiple disciplines and communities outside the academic institution?
Cameron Cartiere, co-chair, educator and curator.
Dr. Cartiere's main research interest areas are curatorial practices, public art, museum studies, contemporary art history and environmental site based art. Current research projects include: the development of alternative exhibition models for interventions, a study on the effectiveness of public art in developing sustainable communities, an examination of the role of sculpture parks in museum education, and an interdisciplinary study (in conjunction with an anthropologist at University of Sussex) on the relationships between public art, cultural memory and government policy.
Ruthanne Godollei, activist printmaker and educator, Minneapolis, MN
Ruthann Godollei is a Professor of Art, Chair of the Art Department and former Dean of Fine Arts at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. She teaches printmaking, design and art theory. Working primarily in print media, Godollei creates art work incorporating political and social commentary in pieces with ironic humor.
How do we teach political activism and how best to incorporate it into the curriculum? How do students come to see themselves and their art as part of living history? How can graphic art effect social change? Ruthanne will discuss these questions using examples from her own art work, and
via how she teaches her Printmaking and Design classes at Macalester College. For example, one can teach Printmaking and Design using examples of activist graphics and political posters from different eras and cultures. One requirement for her Design class is to propose graphics for organizations that need it, such as area nonprofit groups. Thus,
Veterans for Peace or the Teen Drop-in Center or a battered women's shelter get free dynamic new brochure layouts or posters and the students learn how to design for a specific, real-world client.
Misha Myers, PhD. candidate at Dartington College, UK
Over the last three years Misha has established a long-term collaboration of exchange with Plymouth’s asylum seeker and refugee groups (ASRs) and support organizations through her practice-based research exploring agency, identity and place, and particularly questioning how ‘belonging to place’ is created. Through the way from home and VocaLatitude projects strategies of wayfinding and mapping were employed both as research tools and artistic strategies for social and political change and cultural exchange and dialogue between ASRs and public sector institutions, such as libraries, art centres and schools, and public officials.
Jane Trowell, educationalist in art and visual culture, San Francisco
Jane Trowell is an educationalist in art and visual culture. In parallel with her work as one of the co-directors of PLATFORM, Jane is deeply involved in questions of engaged and critical pedagogy, having undertaken an MA in the methods of radical art education. Since 1983 PLATFORM has established itself as one of Europe’s leading exponents of social practice art, combining the talents of artists, social scientists, activists and environmentalists to work across disciplines on issues of social and environmental justice. PLATFORM works in London and the Thames Valley, but its methodologies and strategies travel far beyond Britain’s capital. PLATFORM’s projects have been recognised for their innovation and imagination both in Britain and internationally - over recent years PLATFORM has been invited to make major presentations of its work in Germany, Yugoslavia, Canada, Bulgaria, Ireland and the U.S.A.
Keywords: Practice focus
Prof Christine Baeumler
Assistant Professor, Department of Art, University of Minnesota., Minneapolis
Dr. Cameron Cartiere
MA course director, lecturer, Department of Arts Policy and Management,
Dr. Cartiere has managed exhibitions and public programs and advised on exhibition strategy on behalf of such institutions as Chelsea College of Art & Design, Association of Art Historians, Richmond Art Center, Hearst Museum of Anthropology (UC Berkeley), Falkirk Cultural Center, Mills College Art Gallery, Sonoma State Art Gallery, Women's Caucus for the Arts, Nonprofit Gallery Association, California Academy of Sciences, and Berkeley Ecology Center. She has been a curator for Falkirk Cultural Center in San Rafael CA, California College of Arts & Crafts in Oakland and a gallery director at Academy of Art College, San Francisco.
Dr. Cartiere has lectured on public art issues and contemporary art practice at institutions such as the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, Chelsea College of Art & Design, San Francisco Art Institute, Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology, UC Berkeley California, California College of Arts & Crafts, and Academy of Art College, San Francisco. She has led panels and made public presentations at such forums as the College Art Association Annual Conference, Headlands Center for the Arts, the Association of Art Historians’ Annual Conference, the Djerassi Foundation and the Women's Caucus for the Arts.
Her main research interest areas are curatorial practices, public art, museum studies, contemporary art history and environmental site based art. Current research projects include: the development of alternative exhibition models for interventions, a study on the effectiveness of public art in developing sustainable communities, an examination of the role of sculpture parks in museum education, and an interdisciplinary study (in conjunction with an anthropologist at University of Sussex) on the relationships between public art, cultural memory and government policy.
Lecturer, Theatre, Dartington College of Arts
Prof. Ruthann Godollei
Chair, Department of Art, Macalester College