Art Education has a tradition of pedagogical flexibility and innovation in response to theoretical, institutional and societal pressures. The Covid-19 pandemic presented the art education community with unprecedented challenges. During lock-down, teaching was sharply reimagined under emergency conditions, before gradually shifting back to a ‘new normal’. The return to pre-pandemic teaching has been hugely positive in many ways: relief that we can teach face-to-face, joy that students get a final degree show, liberation from endless online meetings, gratitude for studio space and workshops. However, although many things slot comfortably back in place, it is my experience as a lecturer working in an art school within a University, that some things have been lost, and other things have surfaced that demand further inspection: a space has opened up to do things differently. The present study uses an autoethnographic approach to develop a critical perspective on the transformation of the learning experience in one institution. In particular, I reflect on the dematerialisation of the studio during lockdown and its impact on teaching art practice, and what emergency measures revealed about the pedagogy of the studio. A shift to alternative sites to produce and exhibit student work had the effect of stimulating innovation in teaching and learning, including acknowledging the importance of nearness, the rediscovery of the derive and other radical pedagogies past and present, and collective learning from historical perspectives on how artists have worked together to handle precarity and built resilience.


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McLeod, K. 2023, 'The Dematerialising Studio and the Discovery of the Dérive: Precarity and Resilience in Teaching Art Practice during a Pandemic', Makings: A Journal Researching the Creative Industries, 4(1). https://discovery.dundee.ac.uk/en/publications/bf141189-648b-42ef-aeef-a98636501a04

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Last updated: 07 November 2023
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