Earlier today, I read/reread two articles on two rather different enterprises at the intersection of the humanities, art, the humanities and the digital:
“Artereality” (rethinking craft in a knowledge economy). Jeffrey Schnapp and Michael Shanks. To be published in A 21st-Century Question, edited by Steven Madoff. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2008.
“The Humanities HyperMedia Centre @ Acadia University: An Invitation to Think about Higher Education”. Richard Cunningham, David Duke, John Eustace, Anna Galway, Erin Patterson. Digital Humanities Quarterly, Volume 2, Number 1.
While the articles are very different, there are some similarities: engagement with education (undergraduate and graduate), working across disciplinary and other boundaries and the digital as a “vehicle”. But whereas the HyperMedia Centre article is fairly straight-forward and experience-based (and mostly looking at what has been done and giving advice), the Artereality is very visionary and presents a “big take” (which I quite appreciate):
Artereality establishes a short circuit between the academy and advanced arts practice and education with the aim of charging up the strongest features of both: rigor and discipline, imagination and technical skill, expanding knowledge and exploring the boundaries of communication, representation, and recreation. It seeks to address the splits and tensions evoked earlier: between pure and applied, thinking and doing, writing and making, knowledge and things, work and play.
I also appreciate the practical advice given by the HyperMedia article, and the frankness about the project discussed. It shows how difficult “in between” work can be in practice (not least administratively), but also how important it is to think about carefully about process, student peer review systems and general implementation.
I am very curious about the kind of Ph.D. program that the artereality article advocates:
Artereality, therefore, imagines a new quality of commitment to research and to crossdisciplinary depth that is integral to the future of advanced art education. To this end, it proposes to enhance the current terminal MA with PhD programs in Art Practice based upon high-level pairings between art practice and advanced inquiry in other fields of study. The aim is not a comprehensiveness inspired by neo-humanist urges or by nostalgia for simpler eras when art and science may have walked hand in hand. Rather, our manifesto sets out to make the case for the compelling and enduring character of craft and design in the knowledge economy: of making as a distinct and dignified realm of knowledge production in its own right, particularly when such making is stimulated and constrained by close contact with other contemporary domains of expert knowledge.