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AbstractThis essay was written on reflection after a series of seminars with nine self-selecting BA Fine Art students who were asked to consider Fine Art practice as a strategy for resilience per se. As the wider Cultures of Resilience project (led by Professor Ezio Manzini, UAL Chair for Sustainable Design, and Jeremy Till, Head of College CSM) is understood as a social learning process (exactly as a model of a resilient culture) I have been working with the students, now graduates, to design a project that makes the action and performance of resilience visible as they try to sustain their art practices in the wider world. Discussions with the (then) students began to focus on the need to rearticulate the value of art – that its processes and experiences, in the broadest sense, were not necessarily driven by the idea of product, rather enquiry, experiment, testing, looking for something unrecognisable (whatever form this might take), to critique the conditions of possibility. We looked at the psychological characteristics of resilience and recognised most of these as fundamental to art practice • awareness (looking, critical reflection), • understanding setbacks as part of life (error, failure and its potential), • an internal locus of control (one’s own drivers for the work), • strong problem solving skills (those failures and how to proceed), • having strong social connections (communities of practice – either in HE, the studio or beyond), • identifying as a survivor, not a victim (those rejections), and finally • being able to ask for help (technical support, critical feedback and so on). If a resilient culture is a social learning process it is continually having-to-adapt-itself (Heidegger) in accordance with the processes of failure and feedback; this then proposes adaptions that offer shifting cultural spaces of identification - cultural adaption as a dynamic process of change. To enter into this cultural space with its necessary adaptions may be a stressful experience – but arguably one that artists should be well prepared for through practice – an activity that is familiar with newness and the thrill that accompanies the arrival of the not-previously-known. Understanding resilience as a multidirectional social learning process, the project aims to follow the graduates over the period of their first year out of college – both as creators of new knowledge, about the current experience of young artists trying to survive in the world, and as a new network. The group are documenting this process and returning to CSM at the end of each term to share their new knowledge with tutors and their following students – to reveal their strategies for resilience through practice. The BA Fine Art course is supporting the project by employing the graduates to teach these termly seminars about their experiences and to evaluate this activity for future curriculum development. Identification as an artist becomes empowering through art’s potential as a pluralistic, collective and potent space, while functioning as a tool to explore how we might move differently within our cultural landscape and, in doing so, through these unexpected movements, open up the potential for new subjectivities for artist and audience alike.
Eggebert, Anne <http://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/view/creators/Eggebert=3AAnne=3A=3A.html>, CaW - Sophie Chapman, Sid Charity, Carolina Escobar-Diaz, Angus Frost, Georgia Gendall, Bryony Hussey, Andra Raduca, <http://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/view/creators/CaW_-_Sophie_Chapman,_Sid_Charity,_Carolina_Escobar-Diaz,_Angus_Frost,_Georgia_Gendall,_Bryony_Hussey,_Andra_Raduca,.html> (2015) Flow - art practice as a strategy for resilience. In: Cultures of Resilience. Hato Press, London, pp. 96-100. ISBN 978-1-910239-10-0