[-empyre-] Creativity as a social ontology

Simon Biggs s.biggs at eca.ac.uk
Sun Aug 1 20:34:07 EST 2010

This third space Scott describes is certainly something we are working with
in our academic structure at Edinburgh College of Art/Edinburgh University.
We have chosen to do this through a research platform rather than a
pedagogical one, figuring this will provide both a rigorous context for
pedagogical developments and be interdisciplinary at its outset, avoiding
the silo mind-sets that often dominate in well developed disciplinary

This involved establishing a cross-institution research group that was
non-media and non-discipline specific so as to test out these ideas through
staff research activity and research student projects:

Then we created a cross-institution research centre that reaches across a
number of pedagogical disciplines:
Centre for Film, Performance and Media Arts

This centre involves academic researchers, practitioners and programme
leaders in a range of creative arts (including writing, dance, performance,
media arts, etc) as well as modern languages, literature, linguistics, film
studies, cultural theory, architecture and informatics. It is a large centre
but we expect it to drive initiatives across these and other subject areas.

We are shortly kicking off a number of taught programmes which will build on
these two platforms, with an MSc in Creative Interdisciplinary Practice
recruiting in 2011 and another in Interdisciplinary Choreography. Other's
are in the pipeline, including in film, architecture and creative writing.
The underlying premise for these developments is an understanding that we
have passed through an era of convergence technologies, enabled through
digital media, and are now in a period of disciplinary (re)combinance, where
new approaches and practices can be developed through interdisciplinary
engagement with greater ease due to shared pervasive media platforms
(disciplinary convergence). From the interest shown by prospective students
my feeling is that we are on the right track.

I am also aware that some other institutions are trying some of the same
ideas out. So, whilst Scott's email was both realistic and sobering I will
not be defeatist about the current situation, even when the current economic
context causes a closing down in resources and opportunity. To come back to
the example of writing; perhaps, in the final analysis, we will find that
the development of writing, within the academy and outside it, will be
driven not by writing programmes or other academic mind-sets, radical or
conservative, but by changes in reading, in how people access information.
This is already happening, with eBooks now outselling hardcover publications
on Amazon, more news being read online than in print and most academic texts
being read in web-based rather than print journals. The crusty academics Tim
describes in his earlier email might exist and even wield substantial power,
but they are yesterday's people. I don't think they will present long-term
resistance to change. The more they seek to defend their ivory towers,
rather than engage the world around them, the weaker they will become.



Simon Biggs
s.biggs at eca.ac.uk  simon at littlepig.org.uk
Skype: simonbiggsuk

Research Professor  edinburgh college of art
Creative Interdisciplinary Research into CoLlaborative Environments
Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice
Centre for Film, Performance and Media Arts

> From: Johannes Birringer <Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk>
> Reply-To: soft_skinned_space <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
> Date: Sat, 31 Jul 2010 18:57:20 +0100
> To: soft_skinned_space <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
> Subject: RE: [-empyre-]   Creativity as a social ontology
> Scott suggests 
> Within the university, it might make more sense for digital
> writing to be practiced in other environments, third spaces that share
> characteristics of literary studies, creative writing, design,
> computer programming, and visual and conceptual art. Hopefully that
> third space will evolve.....>> 

Edinburgh College of Art (eca) is a charity registered in Scotland, number SC009201

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