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Rogue Academy : conversational art events as a means of institutional critique


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Lee, FMJ 2016 , 'Rogue Academy : conversational art events as a means of institutional critique', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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‘Rogue Academy’, developed as a research project, comprised two curated dialogical
interventionist art events presented here as visual arts case studies. The research scrutinised
aspects of a university art school as a critique of the common type of institutional structure that provides educational instruction in contemporary art practice. The case studies sought to use a form of parasitic activity independent of, yet attached to, the art school. The strategy was to further develop the relationship between the institution and participants in the projects into mutually symbiotic platforms that would encourage social engagement, artistic autonomy and co-productivity. The platforms were designed as agonistic tools for use in future art programming and education curricula to enable current unconventional practice in the field to be brought into the academy so that they could to work together with existing educational and exhibitionary structures.
My original contribution to the field of visual arts is in the identification of a curatorial
methodology informed by a ‘Community of Inquiry’ approach that is self-regulated and has a
use-value. It is a conversational tool for staff, researchers and students within tertiary art
institutional structures to foster the acquisition of knowledge and empowerment through
intervention, curiosity and inquiry-based learning.
Central to the investigation is the idea of an essential coupling of conversation and contestation as necessary to the possibility of creative and productive practice and engagement.
Contemporary institutional structures, such as art schools, and especially the bureaucratic,
corporate, and commercial determination of those structures, render problematic the very
possibility of such ‘conversational contestation’. Likewise, the unquantifiable, flexible processes and outcomes of many unconventional contemporary participatory practices make awkward the development of structured undergraduate teaching and learning. My research identifies a significant gap in knowledge that adequately accounts for social, community and participatory practice, as well as providing critical grounding needed to validate these fields of practice within an academic environment.
The interventions that made up the project were pluralistic and curatorial, devised to foster
social exchange, inquiry and conversational contestation in a provincial art school, as a means to understand and deal with the wider cultural ecology that artists in training will come to experience. The research was undertaken as a response to, and an institutional critique of, the lag between aspects of contemporary art and undergraduate art education—the former characterised by open-ended practices that are socially engaged; participatory, process-driven, co-productive, performative and dialogical, the latter by traditional studio-based models of practice that demand projected and measurable results.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Lee, FMJ
Keywords: Dialogical art, Conversational art, Socially engaged art, Community of Inquiry, Thinking aesthetics, Art pedagogy, Tertiary art schools, Transpedagogy
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Copyright 2016 the Author

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