In the 1960’s and 70’s, early in my art career, I was an ardent proponent of critical theory and art-as-research. Back then they were pretty thin on the ground. Some of my contemporaries were amongst the first artists to be awarded doctorates for their work. Now, in the twilight of my teaching years I find myself more and more concerned about the preponderance of these aspects of art education. Or, to be more precise, concerned that theory and research – scholarly approaches to the arts – have usurped the teaching of art as an intuitive, studio-based and non-verbal activity. By doing so they have disenfranchised many gifted but semi-literate students who in the past were able to participate in the tertiary education process and attain significant qualifications and reputations in the arts. In this talk I hope to address the historical reasons that have led to this undesirable state of affairs and also suggest possible ways of redressing a
more balanced curriculum. In particular I would like to focus on the role of the oxymoronically titled ‘new media’ (that are now some 70 years old!) as one of the major causes of this undesirable situation and how they might also be one of its possible solutions.
Paul Brown, Brisbane, June 2009