FAST45 Public Lecture IV

The Uses, Abuses and Possible Futures of the Workshop in Arts Education

Presented by Dr Jake Watts

29 April, 2022

12:00 - 14:00 CET

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The workshop has been embedded as both site and activity in the transition from talent-métier-imitation to creativity-medium-invention to attitude-practice-deconstruction (de Duve, 1994; Thorne, 2017); what role will it play in the future of art education and how will it enact an influence of how we understand artistic processes of making?

The workshop is a ubiquitous but under-theorised learning environment within arts education, it is often misunderstood, misapplied or undervalued and is therefore frequently misused term that often exists subserviently to the over-eulogised status and history of ‘the studio’ in art education. This is partly due to a lack of appreciation of the workshop’s historic and continuing role in shaping and supporting the production and evolution of artistic knowledge. Reconsidering the workshop offers an opportunity to recuperate the idea of artistic learning as a collective endeavour, redressing the idea of the lone genius artist in favour of a more generous and accurate conception of paragogical (Corneli & Danoff, 2011; Mulholland, 2019) artistic learning, innovation, and knowledge production. Its outlier status has in-turn offered agency to the workshop as an extra-institutional or extracurricular means of peers communing together to exchange ideas, produce things, and experiment with speculative forms of learning.

This talk will explore some of these provocations through the various applications of the workshop as it has mutated across the pandemic context to address analogue, digital and hybridised learning delivery; specifically in the case of teaching Art as Process: Ways of Learning, Making, Working Together at the University of Edinburgh.

About Dr Jake Watts

Dr Jake Watts is an Artist and Teaching Fellow in Visual Culture at The University of Edinburgh.

Jake runs the Art as Process: Ways of Learning, Making, Working Together and Approaches to Visual Culture courses in Edinburgh College of Art, he also teaches into ECA’s Contemporary Art Theory and Practices Masters Programmes contributing to the Contemporary Art & Open Learning and Future Business of Art courses.

His PhD research was a practice-led investigation of the workshop in arts education focusing on investigating and developing participatory learning environments for visual arts learning. In Edinburgh, Jake also works with Neil Mulholland, Dan Brown and Naomi Garriock as Shift/Work, a group of artists who develop workshop models for artistic paragogy, participatory visual methods and open educational resources.