In light of the recent closures, mergers, and restructuring of many independent art schools and
programs such as the University of Wisconsin who decided to stop offering six liberal art majors,
including two- and three-dimensional art, and history. What are the lessons, implications, and
strategies that might be explored for both private and public art institutions? How might impacts
and responses differ for schools and departments within large, R-1research universities as
opposed to smaller liberal arts colleges? How does the pressure to recruit—and
retain—students impact the classroom, teaching styles, and research? This session will explore
these—and related topics—from cultural, social, economic and pedagogic perspectives.
There is a growing chorus amongst the arts community to be at the forefront of not merely highlighting environmental issues, but taking action. From groups such as the Green Art Lab Alliance (GALA), “a partnership between 18 European cultural organisations which aims to explore what environmental sustainability means for the visual arts and design,” to the Green Arts Web, “a resource for those who want to be more informed about the practices and theories of environmental art,” there are increasing calls for localization. What are the implications for travel to conferences, the materials we use in our classrooms, studios, and for our institutions concerning our carbon footprint? What is the implication for groups such as ThinkTank itself? A more regional or even localized structure? Virtual presentations through robust on-line platforms? When approaching the classroom, curriculum, and creative practices should we also begin to explore environmental sustainability and green practices? How could/would/should these environmental green-friendly practices impact the visual arts and design?
Much—perhaps too much—has already been said about the disconnect between our
hyper-connected virtual, digital lives and our decreasingly face-to-face “real” lives. Studies have
shown that “‘Hyperconnection’ is related to irritability, anxiety, insomnia, and isolation due to
extending on-work hours. It is caused by the erosion of barriers between private and work life,
also contributing to elevated patterns of sedentary behavior and mortality.” Artists have long
understood what a 2010 study published in the American Journal of Public Health stated: “there
is evidence that engagement with artistic activities, either as an observer of the creative efforts
of others or as an initiator of one's own creative efforts, can enhance one's moods, emotions,
and other psychological states as well as have a salient impact on important physiological
parameters.” How can we use art to increase connectivity? Develop a sense of community?
What is the relevance of “traditional” foundations when encountering UI-UX design, graphic
design/ visual communications, and extended media? Are digital platforms only new tools, or
are they new ways of thinking, perceiving, defining and interacting with the world? While many
still call digital technologies “new media” hold to Bauhaus traditions and Gestalt perceptual
theories, do “enhanced” humans need new pedagogies for a new art and design thinking? If
colleges and universities are to “seize the upside of disruption” what are the investments and
risks we must undertake for the long term while remaining efficient, relevant and competitive?
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