Studio talks are a vital part of artistic practise, from preparatory art schools to academies and further into professional artist life. However, the art world is no exception when it comes to deep-rooted power structures that tend to corrupt communication. How to deal with this issue? How to establish a common space, where the status of the speaker doesn’t obscure the topic; where the struggle to position oneself within a hierarchy can be paused; where dialogue actually nurtures courage, produces diverse perspectives, and sparks insight?
Feedback session reflections at Vårdinge By folkhögskola (adult education in art);
work in progress by graduating student Maria Johansson, May 2019
In Amsterdam, the university staff at DAS Theatre Master Programme searched to identify the major obstacles in students’ strivings for artistic development. In close collaboration with philosopher Karim Benammar, they developed a methodical toolkit to address precisely these matters. Quoting the website of DAS Academy of Theatre and Dance/Amsterdam University of the Arts:
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 practised this feedback method in giving, receiving and moderating feedback. It has proven utterly relevant, on various educational levels as well as in peer-to-peer situations. For interested parties, I will happily provide further information.
Learn more about the DAS Theatre feedback method:
A Film About Feedback
(another perspective on Maria Johansson’s work in progress)