As a research project:
This small scale research project has developed out of academic tutors concern to enhance engagement by international, home and EU students through recognising their cultural diversity and encouraging them to develop their coursework through referencing this diversity. By doing so the whole student group benefits from more contact with a range of cultural identities and experiences. Initially this was focused on theoretical subjects, but this year the curriculum was developed to incorporate research and practice in the studio as well. Curriculum interventions were driven by the need for recognition and support for the inclusion of diverse cultural identities.
The formalisation of the project for CLTAD this year was to record a range of successful work from the year 2012-13 and present examples and case studies as evidence of practice over a one year course/ curriculum cycle. This then provides a body of work to disseminate as outcomes of the project to a wider art and design academic community.
The outcome was to be a report that records and evidences this process. The initial idea of using a blog as the final outcome was to make it more visible and ‘available’. During the course of this year, different blog layouts and approaches have been experimented with. Managing images and text to create a coordinated presentation that is visually stimulating and easy to read and navigate, has presented some difficulty, for example, how to present a sequence of sketchbook images to show design development.
As we worked on the blog its versatility subtly changed the way we were working, from producing a static ‘come and see’ , to an interactive environment allowing cooperation while constructing it. Tutors worked on it on-line in real time, collaborating at a distance over content and layout. Since then the idea of the blog as a report has become a potential interactive platform, allowing viewers to add comments and ask questions. This now has the potential for both students and staff to interact, via the blog, sharing ideas, experiences and diverse cultural phenomena.
We feel we have achieved the aims of the project to gather material that reflects the ideas of the research and, through developing the blog, to be able to broadcast its existence to a wider academic audience. Through myblogs.arts.ac.uk, debates can be developed through the posts and responses on the site.
As a learning tool:
The experiences gained in gathering information and developing the blog has encouraged the course team to use the blog as a teaching tool for the course next year. Introducing the blog will allow future students to benefit from the work of the previous cohort, to contribute to the images and ideas, and to develop interaction based on diverse cultural experience and phenomena.
As a curriculum development tool:
The continued development of the course curriculum has led to the need for a new Contextual Studies unit for the next academic year, to support the two existing units: Discovering Art, Design and Cultural Movements and Non-Western Art. The new unit will develop the ideas and exercises initiated this year through the Cultural Fusion and Bricolage projects. Therefore the key conclusions from this report will form the basis for the learning outcomes and the assessment criteria for this new unit.