Digital practices: developing digital literacies in open-studio teaching for the post-studio art world

Dr Daniel McKewen (QUT)
2016 Conference

The teaching of contemporary art practice at an undergraduate level presents a complex web of challenges for the academic team involved. Contemporary student expectations and engagement, as well as institutional constraints can leave educators at cross-purposes, particularly with regard to the digital aspects of creative practice. While an open-studio model is uniquely suited to teaching visual art in a post-medium environment, there also remains a responsibility to explicate to students how their practices can develop and adapt in the ever-shifting, laptop-centric, post-studio reality they will inhabit as professional artists.

This case study will describe a pedagogical strategy of cross-fertilizing the oft-separated digital and analogue streams of studio practice. It will emphasise the value of integrating practical digital skills development into a post-medium open-studio teaching program and how this approach enables students to see the entirety of their studio activities as a rich terrain of creative potential to be explored. The importance of this inter-connectivity of practice is strategically enhanced through team-teaching that folds together skills development, conceptual/contextual/historical issues, and peer critique into intensive digital studio teaching sessions. In this way, the pedagogical strategy that this case study examines can habituate students into thinking holistically about their practice. Finally it will demonstrate how teaching this way fosters a more creatively generative, critically engaged, and resilient student-artist who is readily able to resourcefully adapt to the post-studio art world.

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About the author


Dr Daniel McKewen is a Brisbane-based visual artist and academic whose practice investigates the intersections of contemporary art, popular culture, and the entertainment and financial industries. He appropriates elements from screen culture in order to examine and critique how these institutional structures operate culturally, socially, and politically. In 2013 Daniel was awarded his Doctorate of Philosophy from Queensland University of Technology. His artwork is held in private collections and has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including in NEW14 at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, and You Imagine What You Desire at the 19th Biennale of Sydney.