Development of artistic research approach in new media art education at Liepaja University in 2007-2010

Ilva Skulte, Rīgas Stradiņa universitāte,

In 2007, first students started their studies at Liepāja University New Media Art bachelor level program. It was the first program in Latvia that was developed based on topical ideas about art as research and practice based artistic research. This approach to art education can be described as strongly critical to neoliberalist treatment of art and, in Europe particular, was also part of reaction from the side of art educators and practicioners to changes started by Bologna process in the space of higher (art) education. The approach was integrated purposefully into the philosophy of New Media Art studies and research at Liepāja University, first of all by establishing MPLab – a Laboratory of Art Research as a space for creative growth where every student has more freedom and independence, but is required to be able to mobilise independently and think critically and creatively. In this article, the basic asumptions for program development, main events and results are presented and analysed, based on inner planning and implementation documents of study process as well as research papers discussing basic asumptions of the philosophy of study program. The aim of the article is to discover what and how theoretical thinking on practice based artistic research programs in the space higher education of art were implemented in practice, involved into the development of New Media Art programs at Liepāja University in the period of time from 2007 to 2010. The methods used include document analysis and analysis of secondary literature, however, in general descriptive approach was used. Conclusions show that by purposeful integration of the topical and in-depth view on art education in university and new approaches to art in society, invented in the active discussions in the network of international experts, it was possible to create a contemporary center of critical creativity at Liepāja University able to involve into artistic research of reality and virtuality in the contemporary technologically saturated cultural environment.

Keywords: artistic research, art as research, practice based research, study program, new media art

Full text available for reading in “Scriptus Manet” published in 2021 by Liepaja University.

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