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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter 2020

LIKE DRIVING AT NIGHT: A PROCESS-BASED, LEARNER-CENTERED APPROACH TO TEACHING ARTISTIC RESEARCH ACROSS DISCIPLINES

Dylan Gauthier and Jen Mazza

Abstract

This article draws on our teaching practice in the Integrative Studio and Seminar course for first-year design and fine arts students at Parsons School of Art and Design at The New School. In these classes we focus on teaching “artistic research,” which we see simply as a particular iteration of teaching “art.” Our thesis is that artistic research is an extension of artmaking that employs the research process to interrogate creative practices and find original routes and answers through that work. Teaching artistic research must, we argue, adopt the space of artistic possibility and creative ambiguity if it is to fully deliver on its potential. Taking inspiration from the writer E. L. Doctorow, we suggest that artistic research is like driving at night: you can only see as far as your headlights, but it turns out you can make the whole trip that way. In proposing how to see, how to discern, how to notice, and how to understand, research allows us to understand the world as well as our role and influence as “lookers.” This essay presents a teaching methodology (gleaned in part from anthropologist Tim Ingold), thinking through teaching, which we see as an open, democratic and shared approach to learning that models and complicates preconceived notions of research practice. We share examples and exercises developed from our teaching experience and offer recommendations for designing similar courses.

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