Teaching Philosophy​

Teaching is an opportunity to collaborate with students in the design and facilitation of a highly-tuned environment that is sensitive and responsive to individual needs, while empowering full participation in a life steeped in artistic practice and research. This stance offers a close examination of the systems and structures at play in the world with moments to confront, challenge, and change dominator culture. Co-discovery of students’ passions, grounded in thorough consideration of contemporary art practices, provides a space to lay claim to their individual agency within the rich realm of media ecologies, and to better understand not only their place in the current environment, but also their role in shaping the world to come.

My pedagogy springs from curiosity-driven explorations of materials, theoretical frameworks, and evolving historical considerations. Through making--supported by reading, writing, and discussion--students are provided with platforms to probe ideas, learn and contribute to expanding critical vocabularies, and engage with an ever-evolving re-examination and repurposing of established methods and modes.

 

In class, an intentional engagement of chance/aleatoric methods, combined with deliberate opportunities for play, will interweave with a thorough explanation and training in foundational studio art practices, with a drive towards excellence in studio practice. Additionally, questioning of corporatized media systems by students will provide opportunities for critical thinking and intriguing possibilities when creative applications are explored through the use and misuse of tools and traditions. Mind the glitch!

 

Studio courses and developing artistic practices provide students with time and space to consider conventions, engage innovation, and expand their creative voice as embodied within their research. Elevating and acknowledging their material contributions and labors encourages students to adopt a form of self-advocacy that is useful within systems that are often inhospitable to artistic praxis. Beyond showing the intrinsic value of their studio research, developing a personal odometer of consistent and excellent artistic practice within each student will equip them for a future beyond the walls of university and motivation of a grading system.

 

Rather than constraining artistic practices to isolated academic exercises, activity both within and outside the institution gives students novel opportunities to collaborate, show, and perform, energizing a student’s own initiative to create similar artistic outlets in the future.

 

Within the classroom, full participation and dialog that values and gives space to potentially marginalized voices is essential. Diverse perspectives are needed and benefit the greater conversation. 

 

The practices and tools students learn form a source of life-long discovery through making as a foundation for personal exploration, a preserving of space for on-going self-care, and a support system for a buoyant and ever-curious view of the world. It is hoped that this methodology ignites a self-directed agency that is balanced through vibrant connections to others.

© 2020 by Leslie Rollins.