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Teaching philosophy

The academy is not paradise. But learning is a place where paradise can be created. The classroom, with all its limitations, remains a location of possibility. In the field of possibility we have the opportunity to labor for freedom, to demand of ourselves and our comrades, an openness of mind and heart that allows us to face reality even as we collectively imagine ways to move beyond boundaries, to transgress. This is education as the practice of freedom.
bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom

My primary purposes as an instructor are:

  • to teach students the technical elements and tools of the craft
  • to encourage students’ intellectual growth and visual literacy through discussion, critique, reading, and writing
  • to assist students in realizing their artistic visions
  • to expose students to the realm of possibilities in visual media, with the hope that they will develop beyond my ability to teach them

I think of teaching as creative collaboration; to achieve this end, I try to infuse every assignment, even introductory level technical classes, with some space for creative expression. Open-ended projects give students the chance to put their personal stamp on the work they produce, while providing enough structure to guide them. Since so much of visual art training is not in making, but in seeing, many of my exercises and pedagogical practices are geared toward enhancing students’ visual literacy and awareness. Each project begins with a brief thematic lecture and roundtable discussion to expose students to the greater visual culture. These include process-oriented concepts such as data mining and visualization, curation as artistic practice, and pushing work beyond/cross media.

With these beginning-level projects, as well as others, I engage students in philosophical discussion as well as teaching them technical skills. The ultimate goal is a well-rounded artist capable of critical engagement and technical excellence, one who can synthesize theory and practice in his or her work.