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Art school as a transformative locus for risk in an age of uncertainty

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Risk is not a neutral term even in (western) contexts of art and design pedagogic practice, where risk-taking is entwined into the matrices of the academy from the macro to the micro: from institution to studio to tutor to student. Neither design education nor practice exist in a vacuum, so the conditions and contingencies of risk in contemporary design pedagogy are unpicked, in relation to place, process and people, as inter-connected (though often fragmented) components of study. Art school is examined as a transformative locus for risk: a conceptual-architectural site for knowledge but also a temporal space of subversion, within which the studio provides students with a relatively safe setting for risk in individual and collective formulations. Neo-liberal policies of standardization and competition are as embedded in educational institutions as they are across all levels of society: the resultant loss of agency is felt individually and collectively. This article reframes risk as fundamentally located and dialogic, an autonomous cooperative and collective action, underpinned by critical thinking and disobedient pedagogies. This is a transformative educational process anticipating change in an expanded mode of design in which the student members of the Alternative Art School are considered as critical agents, employing creative reflexivity as an antidote to the neo-liberal stifling of risk.
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Keywords: art school; critical reflexivity; dialogic; neo-liberal university; risk; transformative

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000105363773Kingston School of Art

Publication date: April 1, 2020

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  • How can art, design and communication aid teaching? Do these teaching methods work better in certain fields of study? Focusing on arts and media-based subjects, and encompassing all areas of higher education, this journal reveals the potential value of new educational styles and creative teaching methods.

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