The big and the small: Community and Individualism

2005 Conference

In large art departments a sense of community seems to generate its own momentum, however, with an intake and quota of twenty per year and a combined student group of little more than sixty, the Visual Arts Degree offered by the University of Western Australia sustains itself with great resilience, and a sense of community is often sacrificed for individualism. Are community values and critical mass crucial for art work to be produced and what do they reveal about the issue of quality? This paper intends to provide debate on the dynamic between collective identity and individualism by discussing the implications of a term like ‘community’ in the context of visual arts departments of different sizes.