Stephen Naylor

Presenting international art study tours as an effective model for authentic learning


Following on from my PhD research into the Venice Biennale I was urged by a cohort of students to organise a study tour to take North Queensland students from the tropics to the Mondo dell’arte Europeain. Visiting the Kassel Documenta, Sculpture Project Munster and the Venice Biennale in 2007, with almost 40 students and arts community members, was an excellent test case for determining authentic learning within the context of contemporary and historic art trends. This paper will outline the methodology behind staging three international art study tours comparing the inputs, (time, energy, administration, costs to the school and students) and outcomes as seen by students and academic staff through the filters of cultural growth, community engagement, grades and graduate destination mapping. The research draws upon the limited body of literature relating to the use of the ‘excursion’ or ‘field work’ as a learning activity in tertiary art education, to establish a methodology to analyse the phenomena. From this data I wish to present three brief case studies which utilise interviews, surveys, student grades and employment outcomes in order to assist art schools in the planning and development of worthwhile art based study tours.

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Stephen Naylor:

Associate Prof Stephen Naylor has worked as an educator and practitioner within the Visual Arts for more than 25 years. Over the last decade his research has focused upon contemporary Australian art, architecture including spatial studies and visual arts pedagogy. His doctoral research was based on Australia’s representation in the Venice Biennale 1954 – 2003. He is currently the Associate Dean: Teaching and Learning, in the Faculty of Law, Business and Creative Arts at James Cook University, Townsville and currently lectures and supervisors post graduates in Art Theory for the School of Creative Arts.