“Artists and Code” presented by Giannis


Session Title:

  • Education and Creative Industries - Software Literacy and the Creative Industries

Presentation Title:

  • Artists and Code




  • I am undertaking research to investigate examples of best practice for the teaching of software and hardware skills to students in the creative industries. I have been exploring this in my classes during the last 10 years or so with digital media and visual art students. The teaching of coding has become a somewhat topical area given the recent introduction of coding to Australian primary and secondary school curricula, and the emphasis on STEM to STEAM*). Most of this discussion revolves around how to improve engagement with STEM and I (and others) argue, and now there is evidence to support this that engagement can be facilitated by tapping into students’ creativity.
    Whilst there are many examples and anecdotal evidence of student engagement in STEM through art, there is limited evidence of art students engaging with STEM. The art science nexus is pertinent and organisations such as the Australian Network for Art & Technology in Australia, the Art and Technology Program of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, (1967-1971) and NYU’s ITP Masters program have made great contributions in bridging this divide. I am arguing that it is imperative that there is engagement with these technologies, in particular software, given its pervasiveness, otherwise we limit any form of resistance against the society of control. Fuller’s field of software studies is pertinent. Lovink also argues that in order to challenge the society of control we need to break down the barriers between the humanities and hard sciences so that there can be some form of critical engagement with the hard sciences. How can we encourage artists to be part of this discussion? If we accept that artists play a critical role in society then there needs to be engagement with these technologies, and learning to code could be a starting point. I know that there are many artists already doing this, and many art courses do have elements of coding in their courses, but these tend to be exceptions driven by progressive teachers and artists.

    *) STEM to STEAM is a movement to include the arts and design into science based programs so that innovation is influenced by the humanities. See, for example: damnmagazine.net/2019/11/06/from-stem-to-steam-future-of-tech-is-art

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