Glass - Back to the Future!

Presenting Author:
Shelley Doolan
<[email protected]>

Shelley Doolan trained in glass-making at the University of the Creative Arts in Farnham, Shelley’s over-arching interests include the interaction of glass and light and the way in which form and finish delineate space and mediate our experience.
Research includes approaches to creating forms through modelling, moulding and casting using a variety of processes and materials. Most recently PhD research has focused on the synthesis of ‘technology’ with traditional glass-making; exploring the potential for CAD and CAM tools and ways in which the skills associated with their use may become embedded within the craft practitioner’s repertoire, enabling their appropriate and sensitive use to expand rather than displace existing skills. Further research is underway and routes to apply and adapt findings within educational and industrial contexts are being explored.

article posted 22 March 2016

Catherine Brown trained in Ceramics at Cardiff (1995) and then at Masters level in Glass at Swansea (2010) joining the glass department in 2006 as visual studies lecturer. Her experience of teaching across a range of disciplines and levels has lead to her full time appointment as Lecturer in Applied Arts at Swansea College of Art.
Catherine Brown’s research is formed from a range of sources that are scientific, psychological and art based references that aim to develop a deeper understanding of the importance of ‘making’ as a learning process. On a personal level Catherine strives to comprehend the materiality of glass. Her work explores the psychology of making and the thought processes used to create. This research continues to influence Catherine’s teaching as she finds the way that others think, make, learn and process information forms an important part of her study. Developing ideas through process, and insightful moments through making are all aspects of research that help Catherine to understand the way a ‘maker’ thinks, works, creates and understands the materials they employ.

Incidental learning: A paradigm shift in art glass education

Dr Shelley Doolan* & Catherine Brown*
University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Swansea

Current educational systems place huge emphasis on grades, assessment and league tables, with the perhaps unintended consequence in a shift in focus towards the final grade rather than on broader learning that promotes self-motivation, self-direction and enquiry on the part of the student.
The presentation will outline an investigation into ways of understanding and developing the skills of self-motivation, independent learning and creative insight through ‘incidental’ learning (learning that is not formally taught or assessed). The idea that the ‘tables can be turned’, letting students get curious and interested in practice in action. If they ask questions they are fully engaged and want to learn more, rather than passively receiving information.
The research, situated within the workshop environment allowed student participation and observation of academic-practitioner work, reflecting the perceived value of immersive action-learning in the transfer of tacit and incidental knowledge associated with a skilled craft process.
The researchers’ contention is that informal learning within the workshop environment promotes and encourages reflection on action and learning and enhances the students’ move towards a self-directed mode of study having assimilated knowledge and experimented and applied this knowledge through practice.