Studio talks are a vital part of artistic practise, from preparatory art schools to academies and further into professional artist life. However, innate power structures tend to corrupt communication – in the art world as well as everywhere else. How to deal with this issue? How to establish a common space, where the status of the speaker doesn’t obscure the topic; where queries don’t serve the purpose of positioning oneself within a hierarchy; where dialogue can actually present diverse perspectives, nurture courage, and kindle insights?
Feedback session reflections at Vårdinge By folkhögskola (adult education in arts & crafts), May 2019;
work in progress by graduating student Maria Johansson
To address these questions, a feedback method has been developed at the DAS Theatre Academy of Theatre and Dance (Amsterdam University of the Arts) in close collaboration with philosopher Karim Benammar. Their model provides a methodical toolkit, well designed to serve the intention expressed by the university staff:
The central aims for the feedback situations are: to empower the artist who is getting feedback on his or her work, to go beyond the pronouncement of judgments, to allow fundamental criticism, to create a sense of (self-)discipline for the sake of precision and clarity, and, last but not least, to increase the enjoyment of giving and receiving feedback.
For the last few years, I have recurrently practised the DAS Theatre feedback method within a peer-to-peer network. It has also proven fruitful in various educational situations, where my function has been the process leader’s. For interested parties, I will happily provide further information.
Learn more about Das Theatre feedback method:
A Film About Feedback
(another perspective on Maria Johansson’s work in progress)