If life is what happens to our plans, then dance is what happens to our steps.
ideas sometimes when you wait they come to you.

Preparation for starting with BAPP

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Opportunity for conversation

This Monday (April 26th) there is an opportunity for BAPP students to meet some artists working in Education. We are meeting at Cat Hill. If any of you want to come and ask questions or comment about arts-in-education, etc... you are well to come along for 45 mins starting at 3pm. This will be room G.097 which is in the Peter Green building just on the downward ramp from the coffee shop. 

All so I will be having rehearsals for a show I am choreographing through May. If people are interested in this kind of process, I am thinking of having and open rehearsal... would anyone be interested??

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Conference second day

Second day: Alan, Peter and I began with our presentation. We shared about the curriculum at BAPP and got some good feedback. A lot of people were really excited about the programme. The other paper that was presented with ours was a case study of a programme for Design students to work with companies to help create real products. It was very interesting.

After this I went to a seminar that looked at the role of ‘threshold concepts’. Ideas that completely change your point of view and mean you never go back to think the way you did before you absorbed the concept. During the talk about the paper we also talked about the ‘pedagogy of Ambiguity’ (the importance of confusion and NOT understanding to the process of constructing (understanding)). In the Arts particularly it is important for some peoples practise not to know what they will create but to set up a process by which creation will happen. For many learning is the same if you know what you are going to learn from the start how will you ever learn something new? If your way to recognising learning is to need it to be ‘clear’ ‘true’ &/or ‘right’ how do you ever understand about things you did not understand to begin with. It goes back to the words in the seminar the day before about ‘meaning, experience, and behaviour’  (see blog before this one).  I want to find out more about the literature on both these ‘threshold concepts’ and ‘pedagogy of ambiguity’. I plan to do a literature search when I get back to London.

The other paper in this session was about a programme that used digital visual diaries. Some of the students work was shown and it was really lovely. The paper talked about using Story as a means to generate focus. Students had been asked to focus on a character (not necessarily human) and an environment. The Character becomes a vehicle for exploring identity and the environment augments this by developing a sense of place and interaction.

This was followed by the last Keynote who had been doing neuroscience and cognitive science with Wayne McGregor and his dancers. This was followed by lunch and the last session of the conference.

I went to a session with a paper about how people in different practises invariably think their practise is the most enlightened, or wonderful or has unique powers to change the world and that this goes hand in hand with thinking other practises are slightly inferior. This paper was saying that in fact there are more commonalities between practises than we think and it is the small differences with a field of practise that can be bigger.  This was likened to post colonial theory that talks about the ‘other’ and how the ‘other’ shaped by ‘us’. The second paper talked about the changing status of the Arts in University settings.  Both papers were talking about looking beyond your practise to understand the context you work in. During the second paper the presenter said
You may think you are on the verge of something revolutionary, but it is only within your own group”.

The conference ended.
What do you think of all of this? 

Conference continues (first day)

Carrying on about the conference. The Keynote on ethics in the fashion industry was interesting particularly because it illustrated an aspect of the underlining discussion across the conference about information and knowledge, (and their shifting relationship in education). In this case the charity that worked for ethical methods in the fashion industry realised it had information that could be given to teachers that would inform the practise and could change the way people approached teaching some areas of the curriculum. You could argue that when they just had the information themselves it was just information but the act of sharing it and using it for something made it be come knowledge. At BAPP we are sort of saying this that knowledge is how you validate, use, authentise and apply information. Particularly, with my own research I am starting to from an argument that knowledge has something to do with action. This Keynote also spoke about Empathy, and showed a web-site / blog called Social Alterations by a student in Canada.

I then went to another session this was only one paper and it was about the importance of look for problems rather than solving them. It was the presenters first time presenting a paper and he was quite nervous but he did ok. Because this session was short I went into another one to catch the second half. I caught a paper about the artists Studio (fine art). It was talking about the importance of the Studio space. These are white boxes like the spaces near the canteen at Cat Hill. I wondered if our blogs were like Studio spaces – places to explore, listen, reflect and see each others work. This speaker also talked about the importance to her of play, chance and ignorance in the artists creative process.

Finally the last session for that day I went a session where the first paper was about where there was a quote by J. Gill “Knowledge is not a thing to be processed but an activity to be engaged in” . This really reminded me of a number of quotes by J. Dewey who I am following to form the theoretical framework of the research I am doing. I realised in this part of the session how theory in design could be drawn on to explore the experience of creating work in dance. It seems obvious if you look at my work because a lot of the dances I create like site specific ones are created using the same questions about space, function and aesthetic that a designer would use. But whereas dance could be called knowledge in action, a lot of people cannot see it because dance is too hard for them to analyse through watching, (they just think it is amazing or awful) but the crafting of design seems easier for people to be able to analyse where the person making the artwork is making decisions of aesthetic &/or function etc…in the artwork and therefore the written theory in design seemed to bridge just was well for dance to philosophy as it does for design. The second paper presented in this session was about the shared language that could be created between designers and sociologists and how this could inform design / art works and social understanding. This paper talked about design as being – ‘how could we do this?’ and sociology being ‘how do we do this?’. I wondered if it was more ‘how do we do this?’ for design and ‘why do we do this’ for sociology. But there were three words that joined across the two practises ‘meaning, experience and behaviour’ which was thought provoking for me. Again I find this really interesting because of my interest in experience as knowledge. The discussion about these two papers went over time and I had just enough time to quickly meet with Peter and Alan before we had to go to a conference dinner, which was very nice.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Going to talk about BAPP and hear what other people are doing

Alan, Peter and I went to a conference in Berlin to talk about the BAPP course. We were talking about how we use the blogs as part of the course. Other university faculties were also talking about how the inter-net could be used to support the learning and teaching of subjects. It was really interesting. Some people had built their own spaces in the inter-net but we are pretty much the only group of people using existing sites like blog-spot and Google-reader. We tried to encourage people at the conference to join in and follow everyone’s blogs.

Apart from presenting we got to go to a number of other presentations.

Here are some things I learnt from the ones I went to:

There were three Keynote speakers who spoke throughout the two days of the Conference. The first one had done a lot of work with conceptual art and outside installation. I love this kind of work and he showed some great pictures of work he had created or help support. He used to work with an organisation called Artangle in the late 80’s and early 90’s

Then I went to a seminar on a software programme for students, which is being created in New Zealand. It would allow design students to register in a web-site and state their interests, also registered would be companies with problems or a design briefs. The programme would match students, companies and briefs that all had similar interests. A bit like a dating agency. Also at that seminar there was a paper presented asking who is creating the content for university courses, especially arts course. Should it be industry/ businesses saying what they want students to know to work for them or should it be the artists and teacher saying this is what art has to offer. I may have phrased this to read along the lines of what I think !!! but what do you think of this? This presenter asked questions like is education a way of ‘being’ or a way of ‘doing’?

Next, I went to a seminar that was about a group of students that had felt out of the system of a university and had formed a group with a tutor to talk about their feelings. These talks ended up being the source material for a lot of work they created about their identity. The question here for me was that the work was extra-curricular but will the context and relationships change if the same experience was offered as part of the curriculum. People went to the group to talk because they wanted to but not everyone went. To make it part of the curriculum would mean everyone benefited and those working would have their work recognised as credits but it would also mean there would be new pressures of covering particular work that before when it was extra were not there. What do you think? Also presented was a paper on techniques for inspiring yourself to work / start a design project. I found this really interesting and I am going to try the same things out but as choreographic tasks.

The second Keynote speaker talked about ethics in the fashion and design industry. I will stop here and write more later.