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Title: Training in the complex adaptive systems of media art: A critique of the mythologies of art and interdisciplinary learning in higher ed
Authors: Freire, Manuelle
Keywords: media art education
art pedagogies
critical discourse analysis
Issue Date: 18-Oct-2017
Abstract: Based on a meta-study into the mythologies and ideological commonplaces that have shaped the pedagogies and curricular structures for training media artist at the university (a critical discourse analysis of 102 articles, book chapter and policy texts published from the ’80s until today), I expose four predominant – sometimes conflicting – discursive streams that prevail in the communities of media art teaching-learning: 1) the cyclic rhetoric of newness; 2) the legacy of traditional art education guided by student-centered, critical pedagogies, turned discursive and curricular patterns; 3) the rhetoric of the neoliberal modern western university. The presentation focuses on the implications of the fourth influential discursive stream: the myths associated to interdisciplinary art learning. In an argument that extends that which Sonvilla-Weiss presented 10 years ago at MAH 2007, I demonstrate that emphatic discourses of interdisciplinarity continue to be assimilated into old curricular models and art teaching philosophies, with little impact for effective institutional change. I propose that methods that are used in complexity sciences for studies of social and natural systems have the potential to steer the education of media artists away from the traditional art education notions of individual authorship, unique paths of skills, and from the neoliberal entrepreneurial artist-persona that the institution promotes. Models for knowledge construction drawn from complexity science can inform media art pedagogies that will stimulate collaborative authorship, complementarity of skills, and a conception of media art (learning) as an adaptive, applied process within ecologies of complex contexts.
Description: Biography: Manuelle Freire, M.A. Ph.D. Candidate (expected graduation in summer 2017), Concordia University. Doctoral research in Art Education The unlikeliness of (new) media art pedagogies. Curriculum development for new media art at the university; pedagogical and institutional implications. Currently Associate Artistic Director and Executive Director at ELEKTRA – the Montreal Biennale for Digital Art. My research and professional orientation is in the development of media art education and mediation programming in higher education and the cultural sector. I am concerned with developing flexible and adaptive organizational structures (curricula, policy frameworks and sustainable institutional funding strategies) that are able to accommodate the specificities of contemporary media art practice. My current doctoral research is on the implications of the institutional legacies and disciplinary cultures that affect the implementation of new adapted structures. This research is funded by Fonds de Recherche du Québec (CA), Concordia University Faculty of Fine Arts Graduate Fellowships (CA), and Endeavour Fellowships (AUS). Since 2012, while conducting my doctoral research and teaching at Concordia University, I was programming coordinator of Hexagram – the International Network for Research-Creation in Media Art and Digital Culture (2013 - 2016). During that mandate, amongst other programming activities, I was the general manager for the organization and production of the 2015 Media Art Histories conference: Re-Create, under co-chairs Dr. Christopher Salter and Professor Gisèle Trudel. Early in 2015, I was a research fellow at SymbioticA - the University of Western Australia, where I conducted part of my doctoral research, investigating the curricular and systemic implications for bio-art programs of study at the university.
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