The Reflexive Archive: contexts of practice in art and design:

Renton, Lucy, Flint, Dr. Rob and Shave, Prof.Terry (2008) The Reflexive Archive: contexts of practice in art and design:. York, U.K. : Higher Education Academy.


From the earliest level, students in Art and Design education are expected to develop their studies in the context of existing external professional practice. Unlike many academic disciplines, there is no firm boundary between theoretical and applied practice in Fine Art, and many contemporary artists achieve their professional status directly through student degree-show exhibition. For this reason a key part of the student learning experience consists of exposure to the ideas and thoughts of external visiting artists who may not themselves be professional educators. The content of such artist's talks is as varied as contemporary art practice itself, and the challenge for the educator is how to co-ordinate, enhance, and modulate the educational value of such spontaneous and diverse content delivery. Our project uses e-learning technologies to develop reflexive strategies to supplement, extend, and therefore enhance, the student experience of the talks. In collaboration with partner institutions, online discussion is being initiated in which students from different colleges and Art and Design programmes participate in further evaluative and critical reflection on each talk’s content, through online communication with the guest artist/speaker, towards a 'reflexive archive', which includes the recorded talk and the following discussion. Reflexive Archive - Aims Basic aims of the project were: to provide an archive for video recordings of guest lectures; to extend post-lecture question and answer sessions in a more relaxed environment, to enhance the student experience of guest lectures/visitors talks. In addition the practical task of archiving the recorded talk material online is augmented by the concurrent storage of the online discussion WITH the audiovisual material. Wider aims of the project were: to explore use of talks delivery in online learning environments more generally, remaining open to the idea that the forms of delivery might be changed by the forms of archiving, storage, and later transmission; to provide a transferable model from these activities, for disciplines using external professional content, such as guest talks, interviews and discussions; to further encourage student use of online educational materials in keeping with local and national educational aims; to evaluate student response to the use of these environments in order to provide feedback useful for future development.

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