Bridge to, Bridge From: The Arts, Technology, and Education

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  • Bridge to, Bridge From: The Arts, Technology, and Education

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Abstract:

  • Abstract

    Short Paper

    Summary

    This essay investigates theories and practices. sometimes very much at odds, of contemporary educational involvements in the arts and technology. It is based, in part, on my ongoing involvement with and research on various communities’ efforts to use education as just such a bridge.

    Intro

    The idea that education might serve as a bridge between technology and the arts is based on a metaphor, one connoting connection, and at the same time, separation. Following the physical logic of the metaphor, we locate technology on one side of the span, the arts on the other. Each have been perceived for centuries, in Western culture at least, as the antithesis of the other. The implied purpose of the bridge, a piece of technology itself, is to provide a ground upon which ideas from each of these areas of endeavor may travel to the other. A bridge’s purpose is to connect. It may also serve, however, to solidify separation. Far from being a stable, fixed entity, education is a highly contested area where the perceived and actual stakes, the forming of the future, are high. Education’s purposes and practices may encourage, discourage, or redirect the flow of ideas from one area to another. As individuals, communities, and the ideas they bring with them from either the arts or technology or their vast connected territories are filtered through the institutional bridges of education, they may be reshaped, thwarted or advanced. What is certain is that some form of mitigation takes place. This essay investigates the theory and practice, sometimes very much at odds, of contemporary educational involvements in the arts and technology. It is based, in part, on my ongoing involvement with and research on various communities’ efforts to use education as just such a bridge. What has constituted success or failure in these endeavors, and on what characteristics have various participants based these judgments? How have issues such as gender, ethnicity and race fared in these activities? And most importantly, how have the recipients of these efforts, the students, characterized their involvement?