Discussion Strands


1. The Art School Gallery:

the role of the college run gallery.

The art school gallery is a place that can be described as a meeting of the inside and the outside where artists, students and teachers form an alliance bringing professionals in contact with training professionals. In its way it is permeable whether the gallery is of the fabric of the building or an external space used for this purpose. This workshop will explore effective models for leading and managing art school galleries; from the corridor with little budget to the fully staffed white cube space with a budget. We will determine the flexibility of the art school gallery and its ability to transform according to the project brief, the economic pressure and the currency of the debate. Participants are invited to share their experiences and develop new ways forward for consideration.

Stephanie James and Helen Baker will give short presentations on the art school gallery followed by questions, discussion and time for participants to present further models. The second session will bring together these ideas and the group will consider new ideas for future art school galleries. Student’s views and ideas are a key factor in the success of the workshop in figuring the ways they do and will benefit from gallery events in their education.

Session Convener Stephanie James Associate Dean, Arts University College Bournemouth; Co Convener Helen Baker Principal Lecturer Northumbria University, Director of Gallery North

2. Academy/City/Artist:

post graduation, what is the art school’s responsibility and role in enabling their graduates to develop a sustainable cultural environment? What’s the benefit of staying in the city where you studied?

This session will focus on the after-college relationship between graduate fine art students and their place of study.With the growth in the number of Fine Art MA courses in the 1970s fine art students increasingly choose to stay and develop their careers in the place that they studied at. In the case of provincial art schools, despite protestations to the opposite; the lure of the capital was still ever present, ultimately in many cases proving to be irresistible. More recently however, the previously unimaginable growth of the ‘cultural industries’ has led to a situation where this has changed. The spread of opportunities for artists, which when coupled with changes in the focus of fine art practice itself – away from the individual and the centre towards the local and the participatory – has resulted in a polycentric context where it is not only possible but desirable as a career move, to live and work as an artist in places previously deemed ‘beyond the pale’.

In order to make the most of the opportunities brought about by the phenomenon of fine art alumni making the conscious decision to take up residence on the Art College doorstep what then are the changes that the Art College has to make. Through an examination of test cases this session will look at and discuss changes in the relationship between the College and the City including that between fine art alumni as citizens, creative ‘movers and shakers’, and ratepayers.

Session Convener: Dr. Kevin Atherton. National College of Art and Design, Dublin. Co Convener Prof. Terry Shave. Nottingham Trent School of Art and Design.

3. Does Fine Art need a Facelift?:

If Fine Art is no longer at the centre of Art Education what is it like to be at the periphery.What is the educational consequent response?

Has Fine Art has become a marginal activity within the Academy? If we no longer think of our subject at the centre then where is it? Is it desirable to be on the periphery or even outside the Academy? Conventional academic subject areas are defined by their boundaries. What they do and what they do not do. These edges facilitate and denote funding opportunities, staffing resources and most relevantly the production of knowledge. Over the last 30 years many Fine Art courses in Europe have embraced inter-disciplinarity. Many teachers and practitioners in other disciplines now call themselves Fine Artists. If the discipline formerly known as ‘Fine Art’ is successful in becoming permeable, both within and without the academy, then how does Fine Art maintain its visibility?

This session will look at the differing experience of Art Schools across Europe in relation to the permeability of the subject Fine Art. All participants to this break-out are expected to share their diverse experiences and views on the theme. We will take a holistic approach

Convener Seán Cummins, Principal Lecturer Fine Art, Nottingham Trent School of Art and Design.

4. Art School as Broker:

the Art School facilitating commissions. Case studies/best practice exploring links and relationships with industry albeit in kind, live projects, slack spaces and pop-ups, internships and student initiatives.

What is the role and responsibility of the Art School in preparing graduates for professional practice. The response of the Academy to the Bologna process was often based on the belief that it takes at least 5 years to get to know your practice – a 3 yr BA just wasn’t long enough. Now as most, if not all, Art School situations comply with Bologna’s 2-cycle system we find ourselves working with a new set of criteria. Amongst these is ‘accountability’ and increasingly Higher Education is held accountable for its graduates’ ‘employability’.

To what extent should the Art School be responsible for brokering the relationship between study and the world of work?  And if this world is in a constant state of flux could our artists-to-be be caught in a world described by the expectations of a former generation? Whether it be work placements, internships, live projects or negotiating ‘slack space’exhibitions, does making Creative Partnerships with the professional world detract from the business of mastering an art practise or is it now an essential part of (post-grad) study?

Session Convener Mark Gaynor, Principal Lecturer Southampton Solent University; Co Convener Rebecca Fortnum, University of the Arts London


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