Carpe diem: but can we hold on…

Ms. Fiona Lee and Dr. Maria Kunda
2012 Conference

Seizing the moment is not a response normally attributed to academic curriculum development. In response to the international art work Our Day Will Come (ODWC), presented at the Tasmania School of Art in late 2011, a complementary studies unit was developed to seize the moment, and the momentum, of a month-long dialogical art project.

ODWC was an ‘alternative’ art school that cross-pollinated ideas and works of international artists, writers and others from across the world, alongside a core group of local artists and academics for a month-long iterative project. The energy generated and the creative innovation that resulted at times presented challenges for the local art fraternity, within and outside academia, but nonetheless precipitated vigorous co-option and collective engagement.

The ‘comp studies’ unit was timed to capture the generative energy left in the wake of the influx of interlopers into the Tasmanian School of Art, and devised to incorporate collaborative participatory practice and to address the idea of the artist-curator. As teachers and researchers new to the territory, our aim was to explore, devise and facilitate rather than teach, and to permit students to devise conditions for their own learning. Salient points about the development of the unit was that it occurred as a result of capturing a moment of productive energy—something difficult to achieve within restrictive institutional conditions, and that it allowed experimentation with teaching collaborative practice in the visual arts, an imperative signaled by the Creative and Performing Arts Academic Standards Statement, 2010

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About the author

Fiona Lee has an MFA and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Tasmania. Over the last thirteen years her arts practice has emerged from producing object and material based works into more social forms of practice. Employment within arts administration has fueled an enduring interest in dialogue and pedagogy within art, which have gradually become an integral part of her expanded practice. Her works include 12 Criterion (2008), CAST Board (2009), Kings Committee (2010), Level Directors (2010) and curatorial roles in The Arresting Image (2009) with Pat Brassington and Our Day Will Come (2011). Her collaboration with Scottish poet Liz Niven has resulted in a book; Anything you say… a commonplace book (2012) published by Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum and Art Centre. Lee worked for Contemporary Art Spaces Tasmania (CAST) for many years and held a position at the Australian Pavilion during the 2009 Venice Biennale. She has been awarded an Australia Council grants for residencies in England and on Barra, Scotland, and given an Australian Post Graduate Award for her current research. Her current focus is on deconstructing conversation, drawing from the fields of philosophy, cultural and social theory and education, in order to generate new transformative modes of learning within the visual arts.

Dr. Maria Kunda lecturers in art and design history and theory at the Tasmanian School of Art at the University of Tasmania. Her work spans curatorial and writing practices. She has participated on several gallery programming committees, was Chair of Contemporary Art Services Tasmania, and has contributed to numerous publications and curated exhibitions. Her doctoral thesis (2010) examined Surrealism and its politics of anti-colonialism