Eugenie Keefer Bell
A Gust of Myrtle Trees and Other Curious Proposals: Engaging Studio-Focussed Students with History and Theory
Students who enrol in architecture, design or visual art programs usually expect to become creative practitioners in their chosen field. The focus of their interests is typically the studio component, frequently followed by an interest in technological and digital aspects of their studio practice. Rarely do they intend to become historians, theorists or scholars. For this reason, it can be challenging to engage student interest and excitement in history and theory, especially at the early stages of their studies. Incoming student knowledge ranges from a relatively sophisticated understanding of social, political, geographic, architecture, design or art history to those who think Paris is the capital of Rome, and the Sydney Opera House was designed in 1850.
This paper examines strategies and programs designed to shift undergraduate architecture students’ initial perceptions and scepticism regarding the difficulty, relevance or purpose of studies of the history and theory of their selected and related fields of practice. It is based on the author’s experiences developing architecture, design and art history / theory studies for studio-based programs in several Australian universities. It also draws on the work of Biggs and Tang, Toohey, Ramsden, Pallasmaa and other writers.Download A Gust of Myrtle Trees and Other Curious Proposals: Engaging Studio-Focussed Students with History and Theory (121.18 KB)