School of Art, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia
BA(Hons) Oxon.; MFA(RCA); PhD
Professor Kit Wise is Dean of the School of Art, RMIT University. He has held senior educational leadership roles since 2008, including Associate Dean Education in the Faculty of Art Design & Architecture at Monash University, and Director, School of Creative Arts, University of Tasmania.
He has engaged in an advisory capacity with various creative arts schools on course design and interdisciplinarity, including LaSalle, Singapore, Massey, New Zealand and Banff, Canada. He is Deputy Chair of the Executive Council of ACUADS (Australian Council of University Art and Design Schools) and an Executive Board Member for the Deans and Directors of Creative Arts, Australia.
The Work of Artists
(presented in Panel Discussion 1: Conceptual Art and Traditional Hand-making Skills)
RMIT University prides itself on achieving ‘work ready’ graduates. The students who complete our programmes are seen as future leaders in, indeed the shapers of, the ‘world of work’. For RMIT, these outcomes are based on the interweaving of making and thinking - traditional techniques alongside contemporary, conceptual approaches - as identified in the institution’s founding motto: ‘A skilled hand and a cultivated mind’.
But what do we mean by the term ‘work’ in the field of contemporary art? Do we mean the work of art itself; or, work as practice? Is this working for the betterment of society; or, supplying the art market, that supports artists’ and gallerists’ livelihoods? Do we mean work undertaken in the wider ‘creative industries’, an increasingly important dimension of national and international economies; or in so-called ‘cottage industries’ - local, often not for profit communities of practitioners that focus on felt rather than theoretical issues, to develop their own models of exchange and sustainability?
The 2018 study for the World Economic Forum, The Future of Jobs Report, identified ‘analytical thinking and innovation, active learning and learning strategies, creativity, originality and initiative’ as three of the most important skills for the global workforce of 2022. Similarly, innovations in approaches to health point to the benefits of producing and experiencing art. Perhaps more than ever before, art students’ practices of making and thinking are central to our future economies and wellbeing.
This paper will briefly consider what the future ‘world of work’ may look like for artists; and the models of education that might best prepare them.