From December 07 – 09, 2011, the ELIA steering group presented the program of the 5th ELIA Leadership Symposium: W/Here: Contesting Knowledge in the 21st Century at Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, Canada.
W/Here brought together leaders from art schools across the globe for an important and timely discussion of the changing role of arts education. Art and design learning in the 21st century has been transformed, in large part as a result of the explosion of digital cultures and the acceleration generated by attendant technologies. For institutions, what is at stake is a shift in function of learning, where the skills developed are not based on the delivery of knowledge, but on the fostering of collaboration, networking, play and stimulation. In this context, the event addressed important strategic challenges faced by cultural institutions in the midst of transition, with a particular focus on leadership, succession and new pedagogical perspectives.
W/Here served as a studio experience for leaders in the fields of art and design education and learning, who were interested in understanding how to meet the challenges of the changing context of learning. Through a combination of formal presentations and facilitated discussions, W/Here provided an opportunity for administrators and educators and to share strategies and models for addressing the role of the 21st Century art and design university.
Hosting this event at Emily Carr University of Art + Design was timely. With a new campus on the horizon, the question of digital cultures, participation and the transformation of learning will inform the articulation of new classroom spaces, the creation of studios, and the obscuring of the division between technology and the space of the classroom.
Emily Carr offers Bachelor and Master degrees in Visual Arts, Design, and Media Arts with a careful balance of studio and academic programming. Located on Granville Island, the university provides its 1,800 degree students with a curriculum that is flexible, personal, multidisciplinary and based on students’ needs. Within an environment that is professional, practice-oriented, rooted in history and critical theory, students are encouraged to develop new and innovative ways of thinking and creating.
Beyond the degree programs, Emily Carr’s Research + Industry Office focuses on expanding research innovation, building industry alliances and customizing internships for Master’s students; while Continuing Studies provides 3,000 students annually an extensive range of courses for education, training and professional upgrading. Emily Carr’s mission is to develop informed artists, designers, and media practitioners who can contribute their creative output and research to Canada’s economy and to its growing knowledge and cultural sectors.
Emily Carr University of Art + Design and ELIA gratefully acknowledge the support of symposium funders: