The Artist-in-Residence: A New Paradigm for Teaching and Learning in University Art Education

By Pamela Zeplin.

Published by Journal of the World Universities Forum

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Artist-in-residence programmes at Australian universities occupy a vital, but largely undefined position in tertiary art education. While widely acknowledged as offering broad positive value for both artists and their university host communities, the specifics of residency programmes rarely appear as research topics, despite the current vogue for theories of 'relational aesthetics'. In 2007 eminent Indonesian artist Heri Dono completed a seven-week residency programme at Adelaide’s University of South Australia, culminating in a major exhibition. Unlike conventional residencies, this ambitious, cross-institutional, cross-cultural and collaborative enterprise actively involved staff and students across four visual art and performing art institutions. Given the demanding parameters imposed by space, bureaucracy and budget, as well as a related ‘adverse aviation incident’ that precipitated a curatorial crisis, the project took on unexpectedly new dimensions. In fact, the challenging circumstances expanded the scope of how a residency and exhibition might be approached; in this case, providing a workable model of alternative practice for art students, academic and technical staff, and local artists. The case study explores different strategies of collaboration between the visiting ‘trans-national’ artist and the local community that transcend conventional paradigms of individualistic and Eurocentric art practice. Drawing upon discourses of relational aesthetics, the study suggests that deeper understandings of social and artistic transactions can effectively assist collaborative endeavour in and beyond tertiary art colleges.

Keywords: Artist-in-Residence, Collaboration, Relational Aesthetics, Art Education, Heri Dono

Journal of the World Universities Forum, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp.173-182. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 986.853KB).

Dr. Pamela Zeplin

Head of Art and Design History and Theory, The South Australian School of Art, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Dr. Pamela Zeplin is an artist, Senior Lecturer and Studio Head of Art and Design History and Theory at the South Australian School of Art, University of South Australia. She has been publishing art criticism and scholarly articles, and regularly presenting papers on contemporary art since 1985, with a particular focus on regional cultures in the Asia-Pacific and Southern Hemisphere. She has undertaken residencies and Visiting Scholar programs across rural Queensland, in New Zealand and ANU (Canberra). More recently, Pamela was invited to present papers and Plenary Addresses at the international South Project gatherings in Melbourne, Wellington, Santiago and Soweto. With an abiding interest in cross-cultural issues and multiculturalism, she introduced new courses in Asia-Pacific Art and Indigenous Art & Visual Culture at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and headed Student Support & Equity (International) Portfolio (2001 –2002). She has received numerous grants and University awards for teaching, research and collaborative initiatives, including community Public Forums programmes (1998- 2003). In 2007 Pamela co-ordinated a major cross-institutional residency and exhibition by Indonesian artist Heri Dono.

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