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Issue: 14

Summer 2011

Imagining the future of art, design and media higher education teaching and learning


Welcome to the fourteenth issue of Networks, the magazine of the Art Design Media Subject Centre.

The theme for this issue reflects that of the ADM-HEA Annual Forum Shaping Things to Come held at RIBA, London, in May this year.  The Forum provided a platform for educators to think about the future of art, design and media higher education and to reflect upon the pedagogies we need to preserve, nurture and develop.  The alternative roles, foci and ways of working presented reflect a strong sense of agency in the institutions in which we work and a desire from those supporting learning to share their visions with colleagues across the sector.

The contributors to this issue also give some ‘shape’ to an alternative and better art, design and media higher education.

Stuart Laing (University of Brighton) articulates some priorities for the sectors - a reorientation of curriculum and pedagogy towards sustainable development, internationalisation of the learning experience and discipline-appropriate approaches to technology and employability - underpinned by a collaborative higher education that develops across institutional and disciplinary boundaries.

Institutional boundaries are a theme of Fiona Woods’ (Limerick Institute of Technology) Slivers of Critical Space: Some thoughts on the role of the contemporary art educational institution.  Fiona argues that transgressing boundaries and talking across them is vital for ‘teachers, educators and cultural practitioners who seek a critical agenda in education (and in society).’

For David Gauntlett (University of Westminster), the challenges of the twenty-first century – including climate change, sustainability and resilience - will demand the skills and attributes of ‘people who have developed the ability to make and think in creative ways.’  The enthusiastic take-up of social media as tools for making and connecting represents a ‘site of hope’ that demands engagement from higher education.

Julie Doyle (University of Brighton) situates ‘the environment’ as central to Media Studies and shares her experience of developing a single honours degree programme in Environment and Media Studies.  One way forward in situating ‘the environment’ within Media Studies curricula and pedagogy, she suggests, is for academics to share effective teaching practices. 

Robert Clarke (University of Huddersfield) returns us to debates about relationships between theory and practice on art and design programmes and questions the appropriateness of approaches to theory derived from other disciplines.

The features, as well as the reports from recent ADM-HEA-funded projects, throw up the distinct opportunities and challenges of our disciplines.  ‘Things to come’ must be built around these distinct characteristics but must take shape, our contributors suggest, by forging connections across disciplinary and institutional edges.

Here at the Subject Centre we are pleased to report that our bid to secure ‘transition funding’ from the Higher Education Academy was successful and means that we can continue our work (be it on a reduced level of funding) until March 2012.  We will be working with the Academy to ensure continuation of support for teaching and learning in our disciplines as it moves to a new management structure and way of working ( 

In the meantime we will continue to keep you up to date with sector news in our weekly bulletin, support our funded learning and teaching projects and develop a number of events to explore pedagogic priorities in our subjects.  We will also continue to collect and share your expertise and experiences of learning and teaching in art, design and media via Networks.  We hope that you will contribute over the next three issues.

Two members of the Subject Centre team have recently moved into new posts at the University of Brighton. Alison Crowe, Projects Manager, and Helen Baker, Administrative Assistant, made fantastic contributions to our work and we wish them all the best for the future.

With best wishes for a happy summer,

The ADM-HEA team

ISSN: 1756-9648