Contemporary Art, Theory, and Pedagogy
a graduate seminar at the University of Illinois at Chicago
Theoretical revisionings of such concepts as self, identity, language, representation, and knowledge, as well as contemporary practices of art, design, aesthetics and criticism, challenge traditional and modernist pedagogical models of teaching art. In this course, participants will examine the assumptions underlying their own arts education backgrounds and will consider how to structure contemporary curriculum that reflects the complexity of current practice in their fields.
Rather than gloss over the inconsistencies inherent in teaching art and design in heterogeneous, culturally diverse global societies, students will be encouraged to formulate teaching practices that foreground discontinuities and conflicts as generative sites in contemporary artistic discourses. While recognizing that there are no simple sets of foundational principles for contemporary art and design, this course will examine how artist/ practitioners can impart knowledge of complex practices of contemporary meaning making to students.
The course will also examine some of the many contemporary artists and artist groups whose work includes collaborative making with “non-professionals,” examining the interface between art and education. The course will include a review of the language and methodologies of visual cultural studies—considering how these discourses contribute to and comment on contemporary art and design practices.
We’ll investigate how personal styles of experiencing and making—both aesthetic and pedagogical—contribute to developing an artistic identity and an artistic voice through which the artist/teacher/student can represent and shape personal and social experience. While emphasizing the importance of developing unique teaching styles, the course will also regularly insert “practical pedagogy” strategies for structuring syllabi, stimulating class discussion and conducting critiques.
Work requirements for the course include readings, screenings, discussions, short response papers and research presentations on traditional, modernist and contemporary pedagogical models of art teaching as well as individual and/or collaborative curriculum design. In the final assignment, students will write a personal pedagogical statement that can be used as the basis for an essay in a job search portfolio
Contemporary Art, Theory, and Pedagogy welcomes thoughtful artists with little teaching experience as well as experienced artist teachers with little theoretical background. Through this course, graduate students can lay the groundwork for a career in teaching by acquiring vocabulary, approaches, and theoretical models that can be used to design curriculum that is intellectually and artistically challenging as it orients students to an understanding of the art discipline or practice being studied.