Marks on Paper.

During my time teaching in the university system, it was obligatory to keep up with professional trends in the field.  My field was Arts Education and thus attendance at annual conferences throughout Australia was the norm. At each conference I presented a paper dealing with topics of arts education, interest, controversy and politics in the field.  Of the latter two topics there were many.

One or the major areas of dispute and debate was the equivalent 'worth' of performances and exhibitions. Were such performances as cognitively challenging as ideas presented in words? Were such ways of expression recognised as 'publication'?  Were such forms of expression equally valid to include in the field of research? Were such acts sufficiently original, creative, imaginative, innovative?

Such questions and many others along similar lines were growing in the Australian educational field of the late 1900s. It appears that the field was mainly uncultivated for sowing seeds of holistic education and hence much of the harvest was basically concerned with the three Rs. Many colleagues in the Faculty of Education admired my 'hobby' of painting but some appeared to resent the time I spent researching artistic practice.

The focus in the educational system was on the written word, not images.

'Publish or perish' is a phrase well known in the halls of universities. So I began to publish, paint and debate. The topic for a lunchtime seminar in 1994 was "Artistic practice and traditional academic research: guidelines for the determination of equivalence". The abstract read thus:

Diversity if a feature of contemporary art practice, and its plurality embraces the fundamental nature of research in its inability to predict exact outcomes.

The nature of research fosters original, creative, speculative, imaginative, innovative ideas and techniques, discoveries, and conceptual advances that contribute to the quality of our culture. The benefits of such research produce graduates of high quality, allow direct application of research results, increase institutional capacity for consultancy, contract research and other service activities and foster international links.

The work of visual artists must now be recognised as both information-gathering and information-processing. While the making of art does exhibit the attributes of good research as listed above, the conceptual realisation was claimed by traditional academics as the exclusive domain of verbal, literary and mathematical disciplines only. But this is a misunderstanding of artistic objectives and methods by traditional academics. The problem lies in failure to recognise that making art does meet the normal criteria of university research.

This seminar presentation deals with the steps, consultation and finalisation of a Policy Statement dealing with research equivalences put together by Karen Knight-Mudie on behalf of the Research Council of the Australian Institute of Art Education.

Thus, included in this website are copies of many exhibition works and a few copies of professional papers for your perusal.

Some of the arguments in the papers may be outdated as technology opens new doors to making visual images. However, I believe that communication, expression or whatever term is used to include ways of making something 'special' depends on the person. As yet, technology has not replaced nor superseded the human attribute of emotional output. Thus we, as humans, still have opinions, judgement and reactions to various things - thoughts and objects.

I offer the images (mostly unframed before exhibition) and papers as they were at the time of presentation or publication. I believe in what I have written. You really can't do what you do not practise. Thus to survive one needs to experience things, and to experience things one needs to change one's way of thinking - so says Charles Sanders Peirce (1978)  an American philosopher, logician, mathematician, and scientist, sometimes known as "the father of pragmatism". Many of Peirce's thoughts fueled my PhD research into personal experience: Moonlighting In Moffatt: Restructuring Art As Personal Experience if you'd like to wander through this tome and travel western Queensland with me.

Enjoy, question and debate.

AND, if you feel like some light relief, do visit Yarns From Yandilla, tales inspired by my grandchildren.