"[Contemporary] art has been organised around the primacy of objects rather than relationships, and has been set apart from reciprocal or participative interactions" (Gablik, 1991, p.62).


I am currently in discussion with potential supervisors and universities to discuss the prospect of commencing a PhD in Fine Art in 2021. Naturally, my primary supervisor will be working within the School of Fine Art; however, I am also reaching out to those based in the School of Education. As I have touched on throughout my reflections, I am interested in the role of the artist in creating educational experiences for their viewers. Following my experiences in the School of Education at Murdoch, I am interested in pursuing theories related to adult learning. The project will be centred around developing techniques for artwork to engage their viewing public through narrative and storytelling, encouraging personal connections and lifelong learning (
NSAMG, 2016). An early proponent of contemporary art education, Tamara Krikorian, in her 1976 essay ‘Art Spaces and Social Contexts’, listed several strategic considerations to provide the public with the frames of reference and knowledge to absorb contemporary art. Among those considerations was “…provision of activities and information with exhibitions; not just specialist essays, but talks, discussions, films, libraries of books and magazines, which would encourage the public to consider the objects seriously” (Krikorian, 2011, p.47). I would take this further and say that artists could encourage these practices by incorporating such strategies into their work, rather than handing the obligation to the gallery or museum.

Prior to the restrictions placed in response to COV-2, I was involved in an exhibition with a group of artists here in Australia. This exhibition was an exciting prospect as it offered me an opportunity to extend my existing practice of audience engagement by incorporating my learning from this adult education course. Within the evidence supporting this portfolio, an example of the self-guided tour that was being designed in conjunction with the production of the artwork has been included. Unfortunately, this project was postponed before it was able to be tested; however, it has opened some exciting avenues to pursue in the future. The aim of this project was twofold; engaging the public in lifelong learning and allowing them to draw from their prior knowledge in the interpretation of the work (NSAMG, 2016); and plans to include the artists associated with the gallery in a workshop, designing similar activities for their work, drawing from instructional methods acquired during this course.


As contemporary art continues to expand its contexts, becoming increasingly uncertain in its appearance, decentralised, non-hierarchical, decolonised and divorced from a history that actively repressed the voices of countless cultures and communities, I see an ever-present need to reconsider the educational aims of both the university art schools and the public context of art (McDowell, 2019). As the face of art becomes diverse, the emphasis within education should equally diversify. As more and more fields are drawn into the process of art-making and curating, I believe there should be greater emphasis placed on understanding the mechanisms of learning. If the public loses the reference of history, then it is the responsibility of the artist and the institution to provide the roadmap to navigate the increasingly uncertain ground. Reflecting on the progression of my career and interests both inside and outside the classroom, I am excited by the prospect of developing my career with these goals at its heart—promoting the lifelong learning of the audience by shifting the focus of the artist. This begins by asking art students the questions that eluded me as a student, 'who is this work for? How are you inviting them in?'