Lent and borrowed: risk and distributed authorship in tertiary studio research

Mr. Ash Tower and Ms. Sasha Grbic (University of South Australia)
2016 Conference

Engaging public, participatory or interactive methods in an art practice invites risk. Practices that interact with socialities and systems are open to unpredictability, and potentiality, and are sensitive to the behaviour of others. Porous to the world, these works are agentially entangled; formed by the commingled actions of artist, participant, material and institution. These emergent aspects of contemporary practice and form important trajectories in tertiary studio research. Students making works that incorporate different agencies (and by extension, risk) pose a challenge for art schools in how they are assessed and supervised. We consider the degrees of adversity that foster productive risk in studio research, as weighed against the need to shield students, staff and institutions from danger and liability.

The first discussion is centred on (and co-authored) through an undergraduate supervision example. Sasha Grbich and Ash Tower discuss the development of Tower’s work undertaken during his final year (under Grbich’s supervision), Postcards from the Bibliopolis (2013). The second example details a current student, Alycia Bennett and her work Announcement (2015) made during the second year sculpture elective Installation as part of the BVA program.  The examples activates questions of distributed authorship, students collaborating with outside institutions and the performance of works within public systems.

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About the author


Mr. Ash Tower (University of South Australia)

Ash Tower is an Adelaide based researcher and artist engaging with systems of knowledge such as scientific classification and academic practice. He holds an Honours degree in visual art from the Adelaide Central School of Art, and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of South Australia, researching how laboratory environments influence artistic production.


Ms. Sasha Grbich (Adelaide Central School of Art)

Sasha Grbich is and artist, writer and lecturer who makes works that explore how art performs with others and in local environments. At Adelaide Central School of Art she teaches video and installation, as well as coordinating the BVA Degree and Honours degrees. In 2015 she completed postgraduate research at University of South Australia.