My teaching practice is informed by an interdisciplinary approach to studio and research practices. Studio art courses are especially equipped to allow students to experiment with the unfamiliar, to ask hard questions about how art relates to the global, and to acquire a broad range of technical skills and knowledge.
Students should not feel limited by mediums or historical contexts, but rather experiment and choose the right materials for the conceptual and visual ideas that they are working through. I encourage students to conduct independent research, which equips them with the tools to develop their own long lasting practices. For example, I developed, with the university library, a studio day of research and drawing using the library’s new virtual reality project space. As the first instructor to develop a project using this equipment, I demonstrated to my students how to seek out opportunities within their communities and develop working relationships across disciplines.
I aim to develop student’s material skills as well as prepare students to articulate their ideas, respond to criticism, and be able to constructively critique others. Critical engagement as well as developing a sense of community with peers are two objectives I achieve through formal critique, student to student studio visits, and skills-sharing workshops. The skill-sharing workshops allow students to develop presentation, teaching, and new media skills as well as create a habit of knowledge sharing and positive network building.
I have had the opportunity to teach art to students of differing abilities and majors which has strengthened my ability to create an inclusive classroom environment and accommodate the various strengths all students bring to the art studio classroom. For example, when teaching a drawing class to engineering students, I developed a project that prompted them to design and build their own drawing tools and machines in order to make an unpredictable drawing.
I demonstrate to students multiple perspectives on the materials and processes with which they are working. For example, a paper making workshop in a introductory drawing class presents the ideas of material histories and processes in a fundamental way. Students are able to understand and value their work more when they see other disciplines and processes and can relate them back to the work they are doing in the classroom. They learn to place value on their own labor as well as the labor of others in order to become more empathetic and knowledgeable citizens of the world. By introducing them to this process of material history investigation, I encourage students to investigate the histories of their own materials throughout their research. It is my hope that this self directed investigative and interdisciplinary approach to studio classes carries over to all aspects of the student’s educational, creative, and daily life.