Tag Archives: Opencourseware

KuvA Research Days 2021

KuvA Research Days 13-15.12.2021 will take place at Mylly, the new building of Academy of Fine Arts Helsinki at Uniarts Helsinki’s Sörnäinen campus, and at Oodi, the central library of Helsinki. Some of the events can be attended online. Full program and information on practical arrangements and registration will be published in November 2021 on the Research Days website.

Monday 13 December 2021 
Time and Space Research Day activities
Hosts of the day:
Professor Daniel Peltz, University Lecturer Maiju Loukola and Professor Salla Tykkä

The days program is planned by Time and Space Arts, one of the subject areas of the Degree Programme in Fine Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts. The days program presents some of the research activities of the study area in the form of the research-based practice of Lawrence Abu Hamdan (PhD), visiting professor for the academic year 2022/2023, and a year-long, collaborative engagement by Time and Space Study Program MFA students with the Oodi Library in Helsinki.

Tuesday 14 December 2021
Reimaging the Art School: Pandemic Paragogies 
– workshop and symposium
Host: Professor Magnus Quaife

In his 2019 publication, Re-Imagining the Art School, Professor Neil Mulholland proposed ‘paragogic’ methods to re-imagine the art academy. With Mulholland as the main guest, this research day revolves around open source and peer-to-peer methods for re-imagining the art academy (para-academia) and andragogy (paragogy). Responses and provocations are invited from staff and students currently working in art school environments. The day will include a workshop version of the Open Educational Resource facilitated by Mulholland and Quaife.

Wednesday 15 December 2021 
Artificial intelligence
Host: Bruno Caldas Vianna, Doctoral student

This one-day symposium has two parts. In the morning, we will hear from artists working with AI. What it means to use it as a tool or a theme? How does it expand the artists potential and play field? In the afternoon, we will discuss the limits of AI from perspective of artistic creation. After all the advances in deep learning in the last decade, AI researchers are coming to terms with the fact that even the best neural network is far from having any kind of intelligence. They are amazing data processing machines but can really only do very specific tasks. Can we think that the arts have their own kind of intelligence beyond the formal artificial systems?

Image: Main staircase in the Mylly building. Photo: Tuomas Uusheimo.

contact: michaela.brann@uniarts.fi

CONTEMPORARY ART & OPEN LEARNING

20.4.21 11:20 BST

A Reflective Practice paper at #OERxDomains21 organised by the Association for Learning Technology @A_L_T in partnership with Reclaim Hosting’s Domains Conference, this special edition of the much loved event is the 12th annual conference for Open Education research, practice and policy.

This paper reflects upon the @eca_edinburgh paragogic OER Contemporary Art & Open Learning that started Sept 2020 https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/artandlearning

‘SCOOP’

Intentional art education today takes diverse organisational forms: traversing small artist-led initiatives, international biennials, art academies and artistic practices. Artistic learning is porous and ubiquitous: it is lifewide: discovered through a wide variety of formal and informal arts contexts. Art education is a distinctly ‘live’, embodied experience. Until the pandemic pivot, there had been few virtual communities of artistic learners. How might artists catalyse the post-Covid recovery of the artworld by engaging with emerging edutech practices such as the open paradigm (Winn 2015), paragogy (Corneli 2011, 2016) and para-academia (Wardrop 2014)?

To partly address these issues, I will reflect on a new course I taught in collaboration with my colleagues Jake Watts, Emma Balkind and Beth Dynowski at Edinburgh College of Art.

Contemporary Art & Open Learning was designed to enable colleagues and art students to open access to artistic learning by peer-producing, codifying and sharing their own learning practices. The OER practised a range of peer-based theories of learning and knowledge production to extend open access into the communal Third Places (Oldenburg 1999) frequently produced by artists. In particular, it promoted ‘paragogics’, learning principles that offer a flexible framework for peer learning.

Embracing the Open Paradigm’s vision of education as a human right might better equip formal art education organisations – such as art schools, workshops and galleries – to fulfil UNESCO’s right to participate in cultural life. However, we must also remember that cultural life is fermented formally and informally. Working together, OERs and people can catalyse the recovery by forming symbiotic colonies of artistic learning and, thus, new artworlds.

Contemporary Art & Open Learning

Corneli, J. and C. J. Danoff (2011). “Synergising Individual Organisational Learning.” Wikiversity.

Corneli, J., et al. (2016). The Peeragogy Handbook. http://peeragogy.org, PubDomEd and Pierce Press.

Knox, J. (2013). “Five Critiques of the Open Educational Resources Movement.” Knox , J 2013 , ‘ Five Critiques of the Open Educational Resources Movement ‘ vol. 18 , no. 8 , pp. 821

Oldenburg, R. (199) The Great Good Place: Cafés, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community. Boston: De Capo Press.

Wardrop, A. W., Deborah (eds). (2014). The Para-Academic Handbook: A Toolkit For Making-Learning-Creating-Acting. Bristol, England, HammerOn Press.

Winn, J. (2015). “Open Education and the Emancipation of Academic Labour.” Learning, Media and Technology 40(3): 385-404.

Plan S and the Pandemic Pivot

Increasingly, artistic learning and research is conducted in non-academic settings: in galleries, biennale, residencies, art fairs, and – of course – through artistic practice.

Para-academic art schools are perceived to be more personalised, flexible, engaged, accessible and cheaper than HEIs. Their alumni have already achieved many of the key performance indicators of our sector.

To remain relevant in this exploded network of artistic learning, HEI art schools must learn from para-schooling. Contemporary art is a parasite​(Serres, 2007)​; a good host forever seeking an equally good host. Pooling and sharing resources with partners that compliment the art school’s curiosities cultivates a climate in which all communities flourish.

As an SFC-funded charity, ECA must be a democratic intellect for the public benefit, visibly upholding the value of research-led art education, not just for artists, but as a means to develop a learning society.

Research-led Teaching

HEI art schools’ strengths here are the peer-esteem and artistic impact of their alumni and staff research. Emboldened by this, HEI art schools should systematically reframe research per se from the perspective of artistic research.

Tim Ingold argues that:

Research is not a particular thing you do for so many hours each day. It is rather a way of living curiously – that is, with care and attention.

​(Ingold, 2018)​

In this sense, all researchers should take their lead from artists, approaching re-search as a careful, continuous quest driven by curiosity.

Ingold’s vision of research is fundamental to re-imagining the art school’s contribution to knowledge and, in turn, its curriculum design.

This leads me to two correlated observations:

  • Art students learn by doing, starting in the same place as their tutors, and participating in learning alongside them.
  • Peer-esteem emerges from peer-support. We need to be curious about each other’s work.

The residual culture in most European art schools remains motivated more by teaching than by research. To grow and diversify our research culture, research groups need to develop learning and teaching. This means we not only teach our research, we are actively involving students in the research process. Because this is fresh to colleagues and students, the curriculum  provokes curiosity.

The strategic management of resources is here is driven and transformed by what actually makes us curious; emerges from elective affinities rather being superimposed by discipline or kinship.

What we are curious about is what we care for.

Curious Commons

Artistic research isn’t just for artists. Everyone is curious and everyone cares. In 2021, open research became the new norm across the EHEA. A Plan S for artistic research presents a major opportunity in the form of a challenge:

How can the art school common more of its research and educational resources for the public benefit?

As it stands, a lot of art is freely accessible in public contexts.

Open Access additionally offers insight into the ‘workings’ of such research. Organisations such as the Society for Artistic Research lead the way here, creating open platforms that can be used as open educational resources.

Contemporary Art & Open Learning OER Introduction

The courseware for Contemporary Art & Open Learning (see: above) is open access. Students created open distribution frameworks (‘scenes’) to host their open research objects. What students produced for the course, then, formed part of the Art & Learning’s research activities.

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The Pandemic Pivot and Plan S coincided in a perfect storm to ‘disrupt class’ here. Both have transformed student expectations of course provision forever. Porous forms of artistic learning are, thus, a key catalyst for post-Covid recovery.

Porosity means breathing IN and OUT

Art’s sub-disciplines are crucial to its future development. Sub-disciplines are the expanding lungs of artistic practice. Sub-disciplines are entangled and porous, venturing far beyond the boundaries of the art world. For example, think of UWE’s ongoing project on the artist’s book. To do justice to their research question, what is the artist’s book in the 21st century demands an extra-disciplinary approach.

ABTREE altered diagram by Dr Emma Powell, UK http://www.bookarts.uwe.ac.uk/canon/
ABTREE altered diagram by Dr Emma Powell, UK http://www.bookarts.uwe.ac.uk/canon ​(Powell, 2008)​

The challenge here for art education is this:

How do you teach what you don’t know?How do you teach what you don’t know?

The art school doesn’t have to try to teach everything, rather, it needs to carefully curate access to existing methods and resources that support working in less familiar fields.

To facilitate such Fantastic Journeys, the art school’s internal research and educational resources need to be aligned in ways that foster intermediality, extra-disciplinarity and more co-investigation. Sub-disciplinary expansion also means focusing not only on what we teach, but on on how artists learn and on the many different environments they learn in.

Care Ethics

Since difference is fundamental to educational diversity; it must mutually embodied. This requires a more carefully coordinated delegated authority and a care-based ethics. To bring educational diversity to life, all art staff need to be empowered to be visible leaders. To steward our colleagues to visibly lead our respective fields, leadership must nurture staff commitment, curiosity and initiative.

To transform a vision into a practice, good intentions must become good habits. Part of my artistic research – Shift/Work – involves creating workshops wherein peers compose new forms of artistic learning for each other to playtest. Participants shift from seeing parts to seeing wholes, from being passive to being active agents in their learning organisation.

Regularly composing and leading such workshops with colleagues and art students is a proven catalyst to collectively instilling good habits. In art schools, such a method of sharing insight and lending support can afford colleagues regular opportunities to align learning with their research by co-designing and updating the curriculum with students and stakeholders.

In turn, this can make the art school’s wide variety of practices more porous for students and our broader publics, dissolving barriers to learning to ensure that we can all feed our curiosity.


  1. Ingold, T. (2018). Anthropology Between Art and Science: An Essay on the Meaning of Research. Field. http://field-journal.com/issue-11/anthropology-between-art-and-science-an-essay-on-the-meaning-of-research
  2. Powell, E. (2008, October 28). ABTREE altered diagram. What Will Be the Canon for the Artist’s Book in the 21st Century? http://www.bookarts.uwe.ac.uk/canon/
  3. Serres, M. (2007). The Parasite. University of Minnesota Press.
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Neil Mulholland – Plan S and the Pandemic Pivot is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license. 16.2.2021