John Warwicker: Art Education Today Vs mid 70’s | Desktop
John Warwicker is a Professor of Design at Monash University, co-founder of the multi-disciplinary studio Tomato and long term member and collaborator of the band, Underworld. On the topic of what has changed in art and design education since the mid 70s, Warwicker discusses a few telling differences:
1. You didn’t have to pay for graduate education — all you really needed to get in was a passion and ability to draw.
2. There was an ongoing dynamic dialogue between music and all aspects of culture.
3. There was no concept of ‘industry’ – vocational training was the prime context and reason for going to art school.
I think in many ways, there is a need for it to come back to that, to an extent. Art school back then was shaped by the student’s own desires, rather than attending classes just to learn what to do to ‘get a job’. Now there is so much focus on what you must do to land a career once you get to the finish line with that piece of paper in hand. With this change of focus, I think the passion is not as strong in many people, or its somewhat lost along the way, or it’s just not necessarily inherent in ones identity.
I strongly believe that if you are good at what you enjoy doing and aim to do it bloody darn well, you will always succeed.
In addition to that, Warwicker touches on how active engagement with social issues and politics were greater then. Today we have people ‘engaging’ but active engagement is a whole new ball game.
The day one stops being a student is the day that its over. This doesn’t always mean finding out the new, sometimes its about rediscovering or rereading the familiar.