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  • Elin Astrid Gustafsson

Distance art education - thoughts from the students




Distance art education - thoughts from the students


What is happening in society right now, with the outbreak of the virus Covid-19 can certainly be experienced as a foreign situation that, to say the least, reveals question marks on several levels. An event that sets high demands on society at large, everything from the individual to institutions and government. This place demands on society's ability to be innovative and creative. You may think that innovation and creativity are areas where we in the artistic field are at the forefront. Together, we must create new ways of working in a situation no one in working life has ever experienced. We cannot ask one of the older coworkers about how they usually behave at the workplace when there is a pandemic in the world. We can't look back and see how one worked with digital quarantine education in the past. We create new ways of working right here and right now. We create history and this is knowledge that we will carry with us throughout our lives. Knowledge that will live on after our lives has ended. Despite this unusual phenomenon, there are several positive aspects of this social crisis that we should not forget.

It is easy to assume that students tend to become undisciplined if they work at home with several easily accessible temptations surrounding them. It is easy to assume that this leads to unstructured work where nothing is done. But what it is like to study from home during a pandemic social crisis, only the students themselves know. We at Konstkåren student union are curious about what the new style of education looks like and how art students work from home. What does an ordinary day of education look like in student housing? How are they feeling? How many cups of coffee do they actually drink? How do they practice their instruments, work with their pieces and perform their art from home? What is the secret of a good student place at home? What tips does the students have for each other?

The students answers

Study together in live online group talks, a wood workshop in the bedroom or a concert for the family’s rabbit in the garden. This is how everyday life can look like for students who are studying art education on distance. Konstkåren has asked five questions to students at various programs at the Faculty of Arts, which are the first in history to experience pandemic digital distance education.

“I’m stuck in Oslo for three weeks. Here, politics around the current situation are different than in Sweden, but my studies works in the same way as for my classmates in Göteborg. I work with the dining table as a desk where I have my computer and my music notes. 90% of my studies I do on the computer since I’m a composer. I also have access to a piano if I go to my dad's apartment and I have a guitar. I practice instruments some hours a week. How I practice my art is pretty much the same as before since I mostly work from my computer. "

“First, I was in Norway with my parents. There I have a practice room with an acoustic piano, lots of music notes and a large window that...

... I can open and sing for my little brother's rabbit outside if I want to practice with an audience.

Now I’m in Sweden and have borrowed an electric piano that I’ve placed in my bedroom. Nowadays, my view is my balcony with usually birds coming for a visit and to listen. Not that bad either. My living room is also my partners home working area, which is both cozy and nice!"

“I have emptied the bedroom and moved the bed out to the living room. To avoid making the apartment dirty. I have set up two racks with all the wood material and other material underneath. Around there are tools that placed here and there. My sketch table in the living room is always ready. "

“I live in a commune home and only have a small room for myself, so there is no room for a table there. Therefore, the workplace at home is simply the dining table in the kitchen or the sofa in the living room. We are four people living here and two others are forced to study at home. So personal space and a quiet place are not always easy to find. "

“I live in a college home of 16 square meters. My work space is located at a fairly large table near a window. Since I work with illustration and graphic design it's not a huge problem for me to work from home. I have all my analogue tools and my computer and that's all I need."

“How do I perform my art at home? I have no answer to the question yet, but I have hardly finished any work at all! It feels incredibly difficult to work with furniture design at home. It’s incredibly hard to maintain a high quality of the work, good enough to be count as exam work. But I feel sorrier for the students at metal design or ceramics program. It’s not exactly common to have a big weld, hardening oven or pottery turntable in the living room. "

“I'm a pianist and I’m not able to play right now. Fortunately, I am writing my exam thesis this semester and have a lot of work to do with that. My exam project is about the artistic process I have completed, as my master's project, and artistic execution. So mainly I do a lot of reflection right now."

“The biggest difference is that I no longer have access to the school's library and equipment. I used to be in the library a lot, study books and notes that are there. Maybe about six hours a week normally and sometimes I used the school’s synthesizers and electronic equipment. It was important for me to study in as much as possible at the school and not at home, so I was usually at school 30-40 hours a week. I don’t like to only study at home but I can complete everything I need here without any problems."

“What makes me feel sad is that I can't meet my class and be close to the creative environment that exists in our classroom.

We talk in Zoom but it's not at all the same. "

“Among my classmates who study composition, I was the one who used the school the most. Most of us study at home anyways. Our field is perhaps the music field that is by far the easiest and works the best by distance. I have been doing this for three weeks now but I unfortunately have no tips. This simply sucks, really. "

“I have noticed that tasks that in the past required a lot of time can be done very quickly now since I am extremely focused on everything I do. However, personally, things are not so well with me. It is a horrible situation to live in and I haven’t felt this bad mentally in years. "

“These three weeks have been good for my art.

I have worked extra hard and productively. There is nothing else to do, so studying is the only thing that is fun. I can't meet anyone or do anything exciting anyway."

“One positive thing about the pandemic has been that I at last has been able to organized my work space. I have all my synths plugged in and ready, my pens sharpened and ready in a pen jar and the music piece I am currently working on is constantly lying exposed across my table."

“At the beginning of the distance education, I lost all daily rhythm and all self-discipline and got pretty much nothing done the first week. I still haven't been able to achieve a really good "work daytime and resting nighttime"-schedule, but it's starting to get better."

“In the class we have started using a lot of Zoom together. We have started to use an online group room where we hang out for a while. Then we turn off our microphones and work together. We sometimes we take short breaks and then continue again. It works really well because you get natural breaks and the knowledge that someone can see if you don't study is really making you work, haha. "

“My coffee consumption goes hand in hand with how well I manage to maintain my sleep schedule. I have recently made a strict rule that I have to wake up at eight every morning no matter what time I have gone to bed the night before, to force myself into routine. The days when I’ve slept few hours, I probably drink about a cup every two hours until evening.”

“I drink at least twice as much coffee now than I did before.

Mostly because I live with my family now and coffee is for free! ”

"Drink more coffee? No, I do not. However, I eat more candy and food than usual, does it count? And oh, I forgot, I drink two jugs of tea daily! ”

”I keep a steady snack stash alongside my working table. With coffee, tea, fruit and sweets!I don't count my cups or mouthfuls. I only know that I'm almost constantly eating or drinking.”

“A secret that I think several others also make is that they only clean the area of ​​the room where the Zoom camera is facing and then the rest look like a mess. I also put on a nice blouse before my lessons but keep the soft pants on, since they will not be visible. It is both reasonable and aloud in these times."

“A secret is that I sometimes spend my day completely underwear-free. It does wonders for my health and feeling of freedom down there!”

"A secret that has emerged from my experience of distance studies is that I have become an expert on Covid19 quarantine and expert of procrastinate exam work."

“My tip to students is the following. Keep your routines as good as possible. Get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, practice as much as you normally would, etc. However, it is aloud to take breaks in front of the TV or rest on the bed. You have to be able to be a little more luxurious now when you are able to! ”

“My tip to other students? Can you do your work despite the current situation? Then just do it! Are you doubtful just like me? I, myself, don't know how to do it! Take a study break and hope for better chances maybe?"

“I think a small break, even months, from the instrument is a good tip for other students.

It can sometimes be the best thing we can do to develop our music and the playing. I recommend using that opportunity in this current situation, if possible. It is also starting to be spring and warm enough to work outdoors. At least that has increased productivity for me! ”

“My best tip would be to be determined when to work and when to rest. Preferably do it in different places or at least different settings. At lunch time, I put away my ongoing projects in boxes, light my table lamp and then I have lunch at the same table and pretend that it is not the same table as my workplace. It helps keep me on tune with my creativeness. "

“I have a question for all other students. Am I the only one who, under the circumstances, feels that I will not be able to finish a complete exam work before the semester ends? "

“Now we all have good time to think about what we have done in the past and what we want to do in the future.

For example, complete applications for scholarships that are advertised in the spring and summer. "

“I think distance education works great. I feel less stressed, I have more time to practice, I am more efficient, I have more motivation and in general I am really pro this method! Maybe it can be an alternative even after we’ve finished fighting the virus? ”

“I really hope that this time will teach us how valuable the school and classmates are for all of us. I will certainly use the time during the seminars even more effectively now and show appreciation to my classmates and teachers when we get back to school. Hope you all are well and that all this will pass with as little drama as possible. "

Experiences of distance education

There are several experiences that are in common for all students participating in this small-scale research. One experience is that the students have in common is that the distance education works very well, better than the students expected. Even after the crisis the students wishes to be able to somehow continue with distance education. The students state that they can focus on their studies even more when working from home and more effectively complete their assignment. However some state that they have trouble to get out of bed early and get up and work during daytime. The students that study at an art program that requires big machines for example wood, steel, textile- and ceramic programs or music programs that requires instruments such as piano, organ or percussion instruments struggle to practice their art at home. Also programs in the stage performing area such as acting, musical, opera, theater teacher program and all music-related programs where ensemble is a large part of education have obvious difficulties. This because the lack of access to physical tools or the group interaction they need to perform their art from home.

The most problematic area of the distance education is the social and mental, psychosocial aspect. The students state that their mental health is relatively bad, especially the students that lives alone without family, partner or roommate. They are isolated and they all crave after seeing their classmates and discussing art and the communal creative process they all love. To miss working and being with others. Sharing knowledge with each other and interacting with other people. The human needs other humans.

The art area always tends to be seen as the abnormal part of education, as well as the university. The education that is abnormal in comparands to other educations. The education that requires special tools, expansive materials and a field that can’t be compared with other fields of science. Education where it is impossible to rely solely on computers or digital education.

Art education has always been different and will always be. It is an artistic and creative area that needs to be different. Art and the science of art has never had a recognized place in society. During times of crisis art is one of the fields that struggles the most. The impressive thing is that despite the differences that art education holds, students are able to study from home. Sure they struggle in different ways but they remarkably manage to continue with their education. Salute to the students and staff who manage to continue the work of art.



©2019 by Konstkåren.