|Dagmar I. Glausnitzer|
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...my own work consistently sways between the
found and the made,
I have always travelled extensively and experienced different cultures and social contexts. This has shaped my understanding in the scope between the concerns of individuals in their unique situations and the individual within a broader socio-political condition.
In 1984 when I was living, working and studying in America I was employed as well as a volunteer worker for an organisation, which was dealing with the Street Work Program (JASP, JESCA) within ethnic minority communities. My tasks involved individual counselling of young criminal offenders and developing re-integration schedules with social and creative activities. During the participation of several seminars and conferences I received awards by the Mental Health Assoc. of Dade County Inc. At the time it was necessary to establish a methodological approach towards an empathetic, self-help strategy, which acknowledges the client's personal background but also assesses self- motivation to re-establish the sense of self-worth. These became early foundations for my future teaching experiences. As in my own personal experience, young people are travelling through different countries in search of study opportunities or in search of specific, personal orientation. This is perceived often as difficulties, especially in the first year of studying Fine Art at the University.
In 1990 I travelled for three months as a working deck hand and stewardess on the MS Ludwigshafen, cargo vessel from Germany to Canada and back. It was the time when I discovered my ambition for working with metal, painting on coffee bean bags and collecting objects from deserted areas on the boat. After my return, an extensive learning period began with welding processes and creating metal sculptures at the Technical University in Munich. After 1994 during the time studying Fine Art at Goldsmiths’, I continued a three year Welding Certificate course at Tower Hamlets College.
I have been travelling frequently to Asia since 1992 and felt that the experience with the Asian community in London as well as tutoring students from China, Taiwan and Japan has been a rewarding experience. Together it was possible to align an affirmative Zen perspective with the apparent alien impressions of a western society. Through their own ideas in studio practise, the sense of alienation was replaced with recognising elements of self-realisation. Issues of communication and language problems were in part bridged with the student's learnt ability of visualisation and the practise of simple thought-processes like: brain-storming, bullet-points, check-lists and highlighting aspects of summarisation. This formed the basis for the student's preparation of reviews and presentation methods.
My own sense of self-estrangement during my visits to other countries and the experience of integration, professionally and socially enabled me to establish a level of listening and adaptation to other people's lives and feelings. To respect another person's feelings and thought processes means to reduce one's own conventional values.
The idea of orientation, self-orientation as well as finding one’s ground in a foreign society has become the basis for the exhibition as event called transitstation. The realisation of a concept based on action in art in action, which began in 2003 as the end of year show of my research fellowship at the Picker Gallery.
transitstation is on tour as it transports artists and their work from previous transit station events to different countries. Metaphorically it is a tour de force, inviting regional and local artists to work alongside visiting artists with varying cultural backgrounds. The character of transit station can be understood in the image of a train journey: at each station people and artists get on board while others disembark. Personal experience becomes transitional, fluid, and to some extent, indeterminate. Extending and expanding beyond its conventional terms transit station explores the borders of established categories of the creative and performing arts.
I graduated from the Royal College of Art, London in 2000 and as part of my MA course; I was a visiting lecturer at Canterbury Art School and part-time foundation tutor for Art and Design at Dartford Adult Education Centre. In my approach to Theoretical Studies and taking the student’s creative level into account I was able to develop a multi-purpose and dynamic teaching structure where interactive participation, field trips and individual learning successes was my main emphasis. Other areas like portfolio evaluation and presentation skills lead at the end of the year to a high success rate of getting participants into higher education with estimation towards their own professional development and a basis for self-assurance and confidence in their creative expression. There was a 95% success rate of students reaching their academic goals after completion of their Foundations studies.
After my Degree, I was asked to assist Brian McCann (Senior Lecturer and professional artist) at Kingston University, Kingston University Fine Art) in the InterMedia Dept with lecturing and working with students at the BA Fine Art Faculty, creating group seminars, addressing issues of studio practice and idea evaluation during Module Tutorials and Assessments as well as organizing discussion groups with topics like professional practice and presentation skills.
In the following years, during my research fellowship 2001 – 2003, I was teaching 66 days in the academic year at Kingston University Fine Art BA Course where I developed concepts for two different workshops being taught as the Level One/Two Options: Live Art Performance Workshop and Experimental Drawing. My own professional practice in the Picker Gallery’s studio was accessible at all times for the students. We discussed individual concerns during individual tutorials, performance festivals were organized within a team, exhibitions as 'soirees' took place and it was my aim to promote contextual debates about the artist’s niche in a contemporary art society.
My position now at Kingston University is Senior Lecturer and International Project Manager which also involves an intercultural Performance Program called Werktag formed in conjunction with international, regional Universities/Institutions in a three day site-specific Live Art Workshop. Werktag 3 and Werktag 4 took place in European cities such as Berlin between 2004 and 2005. This involves my acquired skills in organizing local funds, liaising with European exchange programs, planning, and scheduling for such projects as Werktag.
As a professional, practicing artist I have always enjoyed working within the team of my colleagues as well as being responsible for the management of small group projects for students. As a team member I have recently assisted Dawn Richards, Tower Hamlets College, London with lecturing and individual tutorials for portfolio review and assessments.
I understand the artist-teaching-student relationship as a dynamic, interactive and practical experience leading to learning objectives such as documentation, individual idea process, context and place, professional practise and presentation strategies.
Dagmar I. Glausnitzer-Smith