The 11th ELIA Biennial Conference is over. We thank 408 participants from 31 countries and 4 continents who came to Nantes from 27-30 October to share fresh insights and experiences on the current state of higher arts education. We hope that many fruitful professional contacts have been made. We are looking back on a very successful and inspiring conference, which coincided with the launch of the SHARE project, the second NEU NOW Festival, the election of the new ELIA President, and last but not least, ELIA’s 20th birthday.
On this site you can still find information regarding the conference. In the coming weeks, we will add photos, Bernard Stiegler’s keynote speech, and papers from the symposia and discipline sessions. The conference and festival have also been covered on the ELIA blog.
A warm thank you again to all who were there, and we hope to see you all at the 12th ELIA Biennial Conference!
The Steering Group and conference organisers
Stephanie James, Arts University College Bournemouth
The role played by the Higher Education Art and Design sector in the development of ‘value’ and ‘quality’ in association with the cultural industries
This paper interrogates a much-debated but complex issue of current and future significance to the practice and dissemination of contemporary visual arts: what constitutes ‘value’ and ‘quality’ in this context? Further, how are these terms understood both individually and in relation to each other by stakeholders, including the public who visit the contemporary art gallery and engage with the work exhibited there?
In September 2008, the Arts Council England (ACE) published the findings of its two-year-long ‘Arts Debate’, concluding that ACE will ‘create most value for the public’ by enabling people to ‘experience high quality art’. However, the ACE policy document does not engage with what is understood by ‘value’, nor does it offer a range of criteria for an evaluative approach to what constitutes ‘high quality art’.
This paper discusses the generation of new insights and the role played by the Art & Design higher education sector in the development of value and quality in association with the cultural industries. This paper brings academic researchers into dialogue with those interested in the trends that have shaped/are shaping the practice of, and critical context that informs, the contemporary visual arts - artists/practitioners, gallery directors, representatives of funding bodies and other stakeholders.
Audience research reasons that the main criteria for ‘high quality’ relate to the crafting of the art work, the display of skills and virtuosity by the artist, in relation to the professed intent or meaning of the work. The measures of ‘high quality’ relate to the audience’s experience of the work and their satisfaction with the value of the experience. Contemporary art galleries struggle to find the appropriate criteria in order to identify ‘public value’.
The way the price of artwork influences its cultural value sits uneasily with Art & Design education and the success of Art Fairs such as Frieze has a significant impact on the expectations of students in determining their futures.
This contribution “Artistic Research and research through Designing” originates from the observation that there are plenty of similarities to the current developments in artistic research and what is happening in the field of architecture in relation to ‘research through designing’. These issues have been discussed during many international conferences including ‘The unthinkable doctorate’ (2005), ‘Communicating (y) Design’, ELIA Conference (2008), the Sensuous Knowledge conferences, ‘The difference of art and art research across the disciplines’ (2009) and many others.
The authors intend to first discuss developments in the field of architecture and report on the developments in their own School. The School of Architecture is currently in the process of forming a faculty of Architecture and Arts allowing to discuss synergy and differences between artistic fields (eg. music, visual arts, design, architecture).
The authors then intend to explore this field by introducing to and discussing with the audience statements which intend to trigger and provoke debate between the participants.
The statements/citations will include:
• Basic research is what I am doing when I don’t know what I am doing (Wernher von Braun);
• The outcome of any serious research can only be to make two questions grow where only one grew before (Thorstein Veblen);
• If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it? (Albert Einstein);
• Creative work is play. It is free speculation using materials of one’s chosen form (Stephen Nachmanowicz);
• The core characteristic of knowledge is the ability to recognize new elements of what is named via the name (Gerard De Zeeuw).
These will be complemented by some other citations of leading researchers in the field of artistic and architectural research (eg. Henk Borgdorff, Halina Dunin-Woyseth). They will be visually strenghtened with carefully chosen images – synergically supporting the content and introducing the parallel thread of understanding.
Moreover, this contribution will introduce some running PhD projects in the arts and in architecture to function as tangible cases to support and illustrate the more abstract discussions.
Based on the previous statements, the authors intend to start a discussion on the specific characteristics and differences on developments in the field of artistic research and (architectural) research by designing.
Johan Verbeke and Adam Jakimowicz
Designing a prime