Stars, bridges, cocoons and glass houses : an investigation of the fine art department's student artist in residence programme at the University of East London

PhD Thesis

Cockram, J. 2004. Stars, bridges, cocoons and glass houses : an investigation of the fine art department's student artist in residence programme at the University of East London. PhD Thesis University of East London School of Art & Design
AuthorsCockram, J.
TypePhD Thesis

This qualitative study explores the impact upon Fine Art students at the University of East London of community art practice via its student 'Artist in Residence Programme'. Evidence from successful course applicants showed expectations to be a heightened confidence and broadened understanding of the potential role in society for art and artist. Whilst this was often so, post-residency findings also demonstrated significant impact upon understanding of
educational 'distance travelled'. Drawing on student, staff and host accounts it is argued that the programme is more than a cultural / philosophical mechanism for creative investigation beyond the studio through non-specialist interaction and collaboration; as important as this may be. Crucially, it is a mechanism for educational and pedagogical reflection; for 'critical distance' facilitating awareness of creative and cognitive development, teaching and learning and Fine Art educational process. Whilst it addresses Contextualist concerns of need, life and work [Eisner], it is very much an Essentialist art issue of 'subject'; how this is framed
contextually and institutionally and also how it is personally constructed and critically evaluated in light of cultural and educational comparison: higher education is not
synonymous with institution but a 'process' potentially taking place anywhere [Barnett].

Amongst the themes addressed is the impact upon student development of The Three C's [Confidence, Competence and Context]; 'space' and 'place' and Transferable Skills. Stages of student development are presented along with 'Transferable' and 'Transitional' models of student practice, differentiated by the extent and impact of collaboration, lay discourse and 'other' educational environments. On a meta-level, implications for Essentialist / Contextualist philosophy are reviewed. Creative practice 'beyond the studio' demonstrates how residencies often precipitate not only profound shifts in understanding towards creative 'modus operandi', but also towards educational process and teacher / learner relationships.
Collectively, this incurs reflection upon the effect of 'lay' dialogue upon cognition and the 'cloth of identity'. This then connects with debate upon a 'vertical' didactic and 'lateral' dialectic within teaching, informed by issues of 'criticism', artist / tutor 'presence', 'absence'
and 'collaboration'. Drawing findings together, there are implications for studio pedagogy in terms of judgement, meaning and cultural authority. In sum, this research suggests that for many students, a rounded Fine Art education cannot be obtained solely within the confines of
'institution' or through the sole authority of the 'Specialist' tutor / art practitioner.

KeywordsCommunity art practice; Artist in Residence Programme; Fine Art Education.
Publication dates
PrintJul 2004
Publication process dates
Deposited28 Jan 2014
Additional information

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