Artists teaching artists: a survey of current debates

Dr. Grant Stevens (UNSW)
2016 Conference

With their abilities to draw on first-hand knowledge of the techniques, processes, and concepts informing the development of artistic practices, artist-educators have long been integral to the teaching of fine arts studio programs. Since the formalisation of modern art and design programs, the most important and influential art schools have placed artists at the centre of the design and delivery of their courses. Today, artist-educators continue to play important roles in the training of future generations of creative practitioners and thinkers. However, current shifts across the higher education sector, which demand ever-increasing levels of transparency, accountability, and rationalisation, are bringing the contributions of artist-educators into renewed focus. Envisaged as the first part of a larger project, this paper seeks to chart current debates on the role and value of artist-educators in fine arts higher education. Through a survey of recent literature in the field, the paper aims to identify the key ways that artist-educators can contribute to and shape fine arts higher education in the current university environment.

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About the author


Grant Stevens is an artist and Lecturer at UNSW Art & Design. He received his PhD from QUT in 2007, and was a Lecturer there 2011-15. Stevens’ artworks have been exhibited widely, and are held in public and private collections nationally and internationally. His research traverses practices and theories that connect contemporary art, new technologies, visual culture, and subjectivity, as well as the changing nature of teaching and learning.