Studio talks are a vital part of artistic practise, from preparatory art schools to academies and further into professional artist life. However, power structures inherited by default tend to corrupt communication, in the art world as well as anywhere 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 a query doesn’t serve the purpose of positioning oneself within a hierarchy; where dialogue can actually present diverse perspectives, nurture courage, and spark 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 (Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten) in close collaboration with philosopher Karim Benammar. Their model provides a methodical toolkit, highly valid to carry out 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. As a process leader, I have also found it valid in different educational situations. 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)