What's going on Here?
Exploring Elasticity in Teaching and Learning in the Arts

‘What’s going on here?’ is one of the first things that crosses our minds when we encounter something unexpected or unknown. This instant reaction to change, whether it is triggered by cultural, technological, societal or personal events, encompasses a wide range of emotions and meanings: surprise, wonder, curiosity, excitement or inquisitiveness, but also a sense of disbelief or even anxiety.
In higher arts education simply noticing or giving such response to developments usually won’t do, be it on an individual or institutional level. Rather, it is expected in your teaching, research or artistic practices to turn to this into action, or even to anticipate this in your students’ development and learning.

It could thus be said that this complex phenomenon makes elasticity a core momentum for teaching and learning in the arts – which is why we chose to place it at centre stage.
The 8th ELIA Academy will address elasticity in teaching and learning in the arts from four different angles:


Curiosity – a delight in serendipitous exploration and playfulness – underpins art school teaching and learning practices. The studio (physical or virtual) creates a certain milieu within which students and tutors create possibilities for learning. Curiosity turns the studio into a dynamic force field. Curiosity is the driver that helps students and arts educators create dynamic learning and new meanings. Curiosity speaks of our desire to learn; our desire to make; our desire to create. Curiosity enables students to take their creative practice to places and spaces their teachers could not have anticipated. In this strand we explore the ways that curiosity supports learning for lecturers and students.

Questions that go beyond a single discipline increasingly form the basis of today’s professionalism. The new knowledge and practices that are a result, point towards a new role of specialism. How do art schools today facilitate work on the intersections between art disciplines and art, science and technology? Being on top of interdisciplinary processes, artists and teachers produce innovative knowledge, tools and criteria which deserve sharing in and outside of higher arts education. In this strand we focus on the consequences of the shift towards hybridity in our programmes, teaching, research, professional development and facilities.

Research has entered higher arts education institutions at different speeds and with a wide range of methods and formats. A lot of effort has been dedicated to establishing practice-based educational and artistic research, both institutionally and politically. However, the question of what “doing research” actually means with regard to art school teaching and learning practices has received relatively little discussion and empirical, critical analysis – albeit the fact that any serious research practice clearly requires professional research training. In this strand we showcase and critically reflect on how research training is designed and implemented at student level, in specialised research career tracks and in staff training programs.

Social Change
In today’s world artists and designers increasingly respond to complex social, environmental and political issues and generate alternative social models through the production of their works. Engaging users, communities and stakeholders in the creative process challenges societal perspectives and institutional structures through innovative and propositional forms of practices. In this strand we explore how these creative and critical inquiries are facilitated and supported by higher arts education institutions and the teaching of creative practices.

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A Lab
Overhoeksplein 2

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ELIA - Lab 105
P.O. Box 3322
1001 AC - Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Phone nr. +31(0)20 330 1116

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