Proposed by participants of the International Leonardo Education Forum and
Expert meetings at re:place 2007, Berlin, Mutamorphosis, Prague, ISEA2008, Singapore and ARS Electronica2008, Linz
Editors: Michael Century, Ernest Edmonds, Lynn Hughes, D
aniela Reimann and
This summary presents an initial framework for policy analysis and planning in media and new media education. It is based on Leonardo Education Forum (LEF) meetings held in 2007 and 2008 that called for a “framework for policy analysis and planning in (new) media art
education intended for stakeholders in the field– practitioners, educators, researchers, theoreticians, historians, etc, as well as administers and policymakers”. The LEF call led to four international meetings of new media experts and educators: Mutamorphosis, (Nov. 8-10, 2007, Prague), re:place 2007 (the Second International Conference on the Histories of Media Art, Science and Technology, Nov, 14, 2007, Berlin), ISEA 2008 (the 15h International symposium on Electronic Art, July 27, 2008, Singapore) and ARS Electronica, Linz (Sep. 2008). These consultation meetings were structured around a number of focus issues with the aim of
Identifying key issues in the
Establishing the principal areas of concern
Providing concrete recommendations
The meetings established the need to focus on the following four areas:
Curriculum Mapping Initiative
Institutional / Organizational Standards and Benchmarks
Network-centric and Intercultural Learning Methods and Processes.
Media Art, Science and Technology Research Methods Platform
1 Curriculum Mapping Initiative
Media art education is currently challenged by a variety of opportunities opening up due to the pace of technological developments in contemporary media. How can we support a culture of reflecting and shaping such media and technologies for innovative future education. The need for a comprehensive gathering of fundamental information about the variety of approaches to curriculum design across jurisdictions and levels was identified. An international mapping project was recommended. One possible approach would be a “hybrid model” in which information on international variations in the sequence from foundational training to doctoral research is gathered on one “axis” and then juxtaposed (or “crossed”) with information on the way technical skills are balanced with critical, theoretical and historical content in these same contexts.
2 Institutional / Organizational Standards and Benchmarks
An international platform for intelligence gathering on benchmarks and standards for new media art education is also needed. This will support international and regional advocacy for teaching and degree quality standards, as well as provide guidelines for the promotion and professional development of teaching staff. It will also enable inter-institutional flexibility for student exchange and mobility.
Network-centric and Intercultural Learning Methods and Processes.
We urgently need to clarify the processes and goals of new media learning, particularly between very different technological and/or cultural situations. The integration of organized networks that use self-directed, or peer-to-peer, learning -with academic knowledge production is a key challenge in the field. As well, linguistic and cultural dominance in new media theory and across platforms is a barrier to truly global participation in the art/science/technology communities.
4 Media Art Science and Technology Research Methods Platform
The urgent need for improved comparative knowledge and information resources about media arts research methodologies was stressed. It is important to identify, describe, collect and share existing and emerging media art research methods, including their context of implementation. A platform, consisting of an online database of case studies and proven methods, would provide the framework needed to further acknowledge, validate and legitimize media art research methods by peers, partners, educators, funding bodies and other stakeholders. There is likewise a need to consolidate recent efforts to classify and evaluate methodologies, which includes articulating the meaning of the concepts like “practice based” and “practice led” research
Focused, funded research proposals on these topics:
Several discussion groups at the sessions suggested that these four areas (and possibly subsections of them) should be taken on as research projects by small, well-focused teams with appropriate funding. This may be the only way to obtain in-depth studies useful for planning and policy development. If the LEF New Media Education group tracks these projects, it will be possible to integrate findings from them into a shorter and very credible document of recommendations that could then be distributed internationally via a variety of networks and organizations. This now seems like the best way to produce a solid White Paper.
More specifically, for example, Bronac Ferran, Tapio Makela, and Maja Kuzmanovic, members of the group discussing media research methods at ISEA 2008, plan to structure a research proposal around this question and apply for funding. Similarly, there was a suggestion that the third area could be taken on, initially as a panel for a major education conference, the aim of this experience leading to the formation of a team research proposal. It seems clear that these suggestions need to be pursued and ways of supporting them identified. Researchers interested in proposing research in the first two areas need to be found. It seems particularly important that the LEF efforts and those of the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) be well coordinated so that scarce resources are shared and resulting recommendations have as much impact as possible. The ASEF discussion does not specifically address North America and it has been suggested that LEF could collaborate with the North American aspects of the ASEF efforts.
There is a need to formalize a steering group for this initiative to provide a minimal “backbone” to promote, track and support research initiatives focused on the areas identified. It seems likely that researchers will be more interested in pursuing serious research projects in these areas if they understand that their work will be supported by LEF and other high profile organizations, and that this association will provide an international platform for disseminating the research. In other words they should be made to feel that choosing to do research in these four identified areas will be strongly supported and recognized, and that it will be integrated into other internationally based research so that it leads directly to lobbying for policy. Their research will count because they are working with LEF and other groups towards a coherent international goal.
Preliminary Research and Coordination:
After a steering committee is in place, a graduate student working with the committee could provide some initial coordination and research. Concordia and OCAD universities have committed $500 each towards support of this student. If other institutions could contribute modest amounts we could hire someone to really seed the more in-depth process. The steering committee could propose what this student should do and perhaps solicit other contributions to help sustain this sort of coordination.