Stephen NAYLOR

Moving the Mind


Traditionally, undergraduates in visual and performing art courses have been grounded with a significant allocation of technical skills though formal teaching in studios, with a lesser emphasis on art history/theory and professional business studies.

Following a significant course review in 2004, James Cook University has renegotiated its five named degrees from the College of Music, Visual Arts and Theatre and condensed them into a Bachelor of New Media Arts. At the core of our new curriculum was the necessity to develop more practical theory in our undergraduate programs. The staff, in collaboration with Professor Des Crawley, agreed that it was impractical to create ‘great practitioners’ in a diverse range of disciplines in the current economic climate. With this in mind a new matrix was conceived to enable students to negotiate their degree with a range of core, majors and electives that integrated our college into other sections of the University.

Central to our new program is a suite of core units that position our students into contemporary art in a global sense; integrating aesthetics, technology, philosophy, community, culture and the economy. The anticipated outcome of our new programs will be graduates who comprehend their audience and give meaning to their work, enabling public discourse as well as rigorous cultural analysis. Their art production will embrace a new range of media and be accompanied with sound theory that will position their work in the broader community.

In this paper I wish to outline the motivation behind our new course structure, its pedagogical premise, the matrix, the rationale behind the Core units and the interdisciplinary Creative Exchange that is central to the degree structure.

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Stephen NAYLOR:

Stephen Naylor has worked as an educator and practitioner for more than 25 years in secondary education, TAFE and the university sector, and has exhibited widely in the southern states. Over the last decade, he has concentrated extensively on the spatial mapping of contemporary art for Art Monthly and other national journals. He is a regular contributor to reviews on Australian representation in International visual arts events and has a particular interest in spatial theory. He is currently awaiting the examination of his PhD on Australia’s representation in the Venice Biennale 1954-2003, and lectures in Art Theory & Visual Arts at James Cook University, Townsville.