Archives for posts with tag: workplace learning

tara

Tara Morelos is the Director of dLux Media Arts (dLux), one of Australia’s longest running screen and media arts organisations. dLux works with a range of artists, writers & curators, to present projects from the screening of single channel video art to multi-channel installations and interactive and locative media for mobile devices. Morelos worked as a graphic designer in the corporate sector before going on to study Sculpture, Performance and Installation at Sydney College of the Arts. Morelos is also the Director of Sculpture in the Vineyards.

Interview by Alex Bellemore

How important is the role of learning at dLux?

dLux is organisationally familiar with change, shape shifting to meet the needs of its community and gaining enormous social capital in the process. As staff we are constantly learning and meeting the challenges of working, firstly within the not for profit arts sector and secondly within an organisation tasked with being cutting edge. It’s very hands on and particularly with our regional partners we had taken on the informal role as educators within an emerging field of exhibition practice as galleries began wanting to show more video and interactive works within their programs.

dLux has a strong emphasis on touring and rural education initiatives, what learning strategies do you put in place when approaching communities with limited exposure to digital media practice or broadly the arts sector?

By demystifying simple technologies for galleries and regional audiences through delivering a well supported touring program of media-orientated works we began to better understand the needs of the sector.

By using digital storytelling and technology we found a way to strongly influence the way people see themselves and break down existing barriers to learning. As a specialist media arts organisation, dLux is able to utilise an array of digital technologies to capture the imagination of new audiences putting the web, open source software and other information and communication technologies (ICT) to cost effective use in regional communities. In 2011 dLux became a social enterprise of the iStreet Lab phenomenon.  Working with mervin Jarman, Jamaican community art activist and human computer interface expert we built the iStreet dLux Lab. As part of the dStudio program, the iStreet dLux Lab extends its reach into the exploration of creative art practice for artists and communities alike.

Do you think that screen/ digital media art is represented well in the arts sector, in terms of awareness and funding?

In my experience, there is a general reluctance in the world of contemporary art to engage meaningfully with digital and new media art practice, social networking, or gaming. Yet these are some of the largest and fastest-growing areas of culture today. There is a tendency to largely dismiss media arts without fully appreciating the theoretical richness or conceptual parallels it has with more established art forms. Since the dismantling of New Media Arts Board in 2004, the Inter Arts Office of the Australia Council is doing its best on a very small budget to encourage the development of new media and multi-platform culture. It can be a problematic area for these kinds of agencies due to its potential to straddle the art and industry divide. dLux has often fallen through these cracks. We have now begun to look more consistently outside the arts funding pool, though gratefully acknowledge the continued core support of our partners Arts NSW.

dLux was established in the 1980’s under another name The Super 8 – Film Group, how has the organisation changed from then to now?

dLux Media Arts remains a small and resilient organisation with a clearly defined role within the Australian cultural sector known for supporting and developing risky projects in an experimental environment. We retain a direct link to our maverick experimental screen origins as the Sydney Super-8 Film Group, whose films constituted a construction of a particular social and political memory of a specific historical time period, 1980-1990.  We have an archive of every work shown since the 1980s through the 90s and up to recent projects including digital versions of films, lists of all the screenings and works, all the writings and artists details from the last 30 years.

What are some upcoming projects and goals for dLux?

We recently received an Unlocking Australia’s Potential science communication grant for dLab, our regional access and skills development program. Over three years and four primary regional locations, we will be working predominantly with young women from culturally and linguistically diverse and Aboriginal backgrounds to engage in research and science activities. Using local culturally relevant resources and an informal creative methodology, participants will create their own mobile multi media dLab for community use. We have ambitious plans to further boost and diversify our funding, increase our audiences, consolidate our brand by offering new services on the commercial market. By maximising the talents of our artist communities we plan to move thoughtfully into servicing a growing demand within the commercial sector for authentic cultural products in app development and exhibition management. The future is bright!

www.dlux.org.au

steve pozel

Steve Pozel is the director of Object, Australia’s leading centre for design. His career in the arts spans some 30 years beginning in small artist run and regional galleries before moving on to become director of Canada’s most significant contemporary arts centre The Power Plant. Following a business trip to Australia he was offered a position at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art where he worked for 2 years before being appointed as director of Object in 2000. Now in his 12th year as director at Object, Steve kindly sat down for a chat with arts interview about learning and its role in the workplace.

Interview by Vanessa Anthea Macris

Could you describe Object in its current form and where you envision it in 3 years?

The year 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Object as an organisation. One of the key motivations for me moving forward over the last few years has been the creation and implementation of our brave, bold vision for the positioning of Object in the future. Our vision is not just a 3-4 year business plan but rather a strategy for Object to be the most relevant of its kind for 2015. This has given me the scope to work with my management team and to talk to over 150 people around Australia in finding out what elements would really make for a dynamic centre of design. Out of this process we have created the 2015 vision which we have been using as a basis to develop all exhibition, creative program, educational, digital, community and touring content. Every decision from here on in is being tailored to get us towards the 2015 vision and the kind of centre we want to become.

Learning is a characteristic of an adaptive organisation. With this in mind what does Object do to support the continued learning of its staff?

I’d say that we run Object like a design laboratory. Every single staff member at Object whether you’re an administrator right through to a producer of creative programs has an almost equal opportunity to experiment, take risks and prototype various projects in the organisation. I’d consider Object one of the most fertile and innovative learning spaces because we think that if we are going to be a place about innovative ideas and concepts that will have an impact on the future of peoples lives, then that’s the territory that we as a group have to be living and breathing. For me this is one of the most amazing jobs I’ve ever had. During my 12 years at Object I’ve been on one of the greatest single learning curves I’ve ever been on and that’s the kind of job I want.

How important is continued learning in the workplace and why?

I think it’s absolutely essential. If there is any organisation that wants to move forward in a progressive and innovative way it has to be the absolute core of what you do. I also think that it’s about holding retention of really good staff, as it’s important to keep teaching and training staff members so that they feel that they’re growing and developing their skills. Continued learning in the workplace is about making staff members feel comfortable that they’re learning things that can be adapted to a whole range of circumstances post their life within the organisation. At the same time its important to have the staff members recognise how very special it is to be gaining new skills and having them wanting to stay with the organisation.

Do you feel that the development of staff is a high priority in the arts sector?

I think that we are very privileged sector because we attract incredibly passionate, dynamic and hugely creative people. A lot of other sectors, including the business sector are looking at the arts and see a sector that with very little makes huge leaps and bounds. Fundamentally, this comes down to the people behind the organisation. Overall, I think that the arts sector does a very good job but I think that it could be doing an even more brilliant job in creating even greater benchmarks for other industries to look to. Innately, we do some very good things but I think that there needs to be a greater level of training within the arts of how to leverage off what we already do so well.

What are the priorities for public programs at Object in terms of education?

We have huge plans and priorities! In fact we just spent 3 hours this morning on that very topic and we probably spend a good 3 – 5 hours every week as a team looking at that as part of our project called Design Emergency, which has been in pilot phase for the last 12-18 months. Design Emergency in a nutshell has seen us work with various stakeholders from universities and schools to the NSW Department of Education in taking design thinking as a process and applying it in an innovative way to look at problem solving. The whole basis of the program is about raising the capacity of kids in schools to be able to deal with issues around them in a much more direct and hands on manner. We’re basically giving them the skills of a designer and telling students that you don’t need to use these skills to design an object or building but that you can use these skills to re-design something that’s not working in your school, home or community.

object.com.au