Teacher

I am a teacher. More

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Sam-Header

S: (n) artist’s workroom, atelier (a studio especially for an artist or designer)

Atelier – Originally, a master artist’s studio, with his apprentices or assistants. So thats what it is – a workroom – a place. In this place there is me and about 13 students – who are there simply because they are apprentices to be mentored thru their final project. The success and the effectiveness will be determined by many things – some that have to do with the students and some with how effectively I can be consistently enthused about the project they will work on.

The task of mentorship has many aspects to it:

  1. Work with the students to help them deliver a robust and strong project.
  2. Assess where the students are at and build them up to be effective designers.
  3. Engage them to become effective practitioners in a workplace in the future

The atelier enlarges the scope of the teaching assignment for me and is a bit different from the contemporary classroom based instruction in design. What I have done for two decades is been a Sensei to my students in the course of their final project – a role which is communicated well through the notion of the atelier too. One way of comprehending the traditional model of instruction in the arts is to see the relationship between the teacher and the student as not a hierarchical one, as portrayed in stereotypes, but as one that is similar to that of a sports coach – with the same goal of a complete and functioning human being.

This means the students bring into the class their passion and more importantly their anxieties. The tute is the comforting place, the studio and the refuge. Its where the ‘inabilities’ and ‘mental blocks’ are addressed.

As with every studio I teach – this is a reflective journey.

So what about the awesome project they are to deliver?

Students in an atelier produce some incredible stuff. In each instance it is insightful, robust and deeply satisfying to the student.

See text (open PDF) about a studio I taught in 2005: The Corporation Game

Introducing Service Design.

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