This Must be the Place

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 09.43.04Lightning Talk for Gearing Up for Transitions Conference, 2016

This Must be the Place, slides by Neil Mulholland

GUp Bring and Brag – This Must be the Place, A4 synopsis

Building and Installing Dividing Walls, a manual by Tobias Sternberg

Summary:

MFA students (School of Art) programme their own orientation week as a ‘paragogy’ project. They visit art organisations and, crucially, build their own studio spaces. They quickly establish socio-economic networks that serve them well in their careers as artists, critics and curators, generating an adaptive, geopolitical resilience.

This Must be the Place was concerned with the vital educational role of ‘place-making’, with how contemporary art students develop resources for their practice through the processes of orientation and socialisation. The orientation project was innovative in bringing together art students with non-academic partners for the purpose of introducing all of us to postgraduate education. It allowed MFA students to transition into platforms that suited their practices and so develop a generative context for work from the first week of the programme.

By collectively constructing their studio spaces MFAs gained a invaluable practical lesson in how to establish a studio with limited resources and find a practical solution to the ‘fit’ of the studios. This relates to the perennial problem of ‘allocating’ studio space, something nominally done by staff rather than students. The allocation of spaces is normally conducted before staff have had a chance to ascertain our radically different requirements as artists. RELAY proposed that MFA2s should first collaborate with new students to design and build the common studio spaces in Week 1 as a key component of the orientation project. Collectively designing the the studio space also ensured that all students got exactly the space they required. Part of this aspect of the project involved the construction of the Green Room with common, shared tools and resources and a means of ensuring that the social bonds cemented in the first week remain common, shared tools and resources and a means of ensuring that the social bonds cemented in the first week remain intact.

ABOUT Gearing Up for Transitions Conference, 2016:

The 3rd Annual University of Edinburgh ‘Gearing Up’ event took place on Thursday 5th March 2015 at the John McIntyre Conference Centre, Pollock Halls. To reflect the current QAA (Quality Assurance Agency) Scotland Enhancement Theme of Student Transitions, the event had a broader focus than in previous years and in recognition of this was called ‘Gearing up for Transitions’. It was jointly organised by the Student Induction Team and Academic Services.

The 150 attendees included current students, University of Edinburgh and EUSA staff as well as external colleagues from Higher Education Institutions in Scotland and two staff from Lund University, Sweden.

The day included:

  • a student panel talking about their experience of transitions;
  • Keynote address ‘What Works? Facilitating an effective transition into and through higher education” by Professor Liz Thomas, Liz Thomas Associates;
  • student Art Exhibition ‘It’s a Jungle’ by the University of Edinburgh’s student-run Graphic Design agency “Jungle Studio” dealing with the fear and anticipation before leaving home, school or university;
  • posters and bring and brag stalls;
  • 18 break-out sessions featuring a wide variety of current practice looking at all aspects of transitions during the student journey.