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Educating Technophile Artists: Experiences from a highly successful computer animation undergraduate programme


 
Peter Comninos and Leigh McLoughlin and Eike Falk Anderson
Abstract
Over the past few decades, the arts have become increasingly dependent on and influenced by the development of computer technology. In the 1960s pioneering artists experimented with the emergent computer technology and more recently the majority of artists have come to use this technology to develop and even to implement their artefacts.
The traditional divide between art and technology – if it ever existed – has been breaking down to the extent that a large number of artists consider themselves to be technophiles. In truth this divide has never existed. Throughout history artists have always used and exploited whatever technology existed and frequently led the development of new technology that would allow them to express their creativity. For instance the ancient Greek word for art was "τεχνη" (techné) – the root for the word "technology".
The divide between the arts and sciences, which we consider to be artificial and harmful, was only introduced in the western educational system in the 19th century and we believe that it is high time that it was bridged or removed altogether. To this end our centre has pioneered a number of university degrees that aim to blur the difference between artists and scientists / technologists.
In this paper we explore the design of such courses, taking into account the evolution of the field and the historical development of our centre, and we share with our audience our experiences, successes, and trials and tribulations in implementing such degrees in the area of computer animation, games and digital effects. We present a discussion of the syllabus employed in our highly successful undergraduate degree programme, giving examples of various assignment and assessment forms. Further, we discuss the common issues in educating technophile artists that we have identified on our undergraduate programme and the implications on the students’ learning experience arising from these.

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© 2006-2010 by Eike Anderson, Steffen Engel & Leigh McLoughlin, NCCA, Bournemouth University