My central role as an educator is to give my students the conceptual and technical tools to explore their own agency as it relates to larger concerns in the field. I believe the role of an educator is to be a catalyst for their curiosity, to ask questions that allow space for students to challenge assumptions and envision new cultural expressions. By cultivating a practice that emphasizes the cross-pollination of theory, history and material research, students in and outside my classroom are prepared to engage with the rigors of an increasingly diverse and deterritorialized media landscape. I believe this is central to the development of responsible artists, critical thinkers, and humans in the world.
My classroom is a space where students are not only able to contribute to the larger dialogue, but are expected to engage in inquiry and research as if they are contributing to the field from day one. The simple fact is that in the field of critical media practices, what may be relevant today may be gone tomorrow. My students need to be able to adapt, problem solve, research, and integrate new technologies and ideas into their practice. I encourage students to explore the creative possibilities of any given software, to challenge the industry's assumptions on how to use new innovations, and to develop new visual languages that evolve out of a conversation between play and mastery of technological materials.
It is important that my student's efforts are not created in a vacuum, but exist in the world outside of the classroom. I search for and develop projects, collaborations, and situations where students can exhibit and apply their work. I believe that experiential opportunities not only give students experience with problem-solving, project logistics, and planning, it also gives them the opportunity to see that this kind of work is not merely as an assignment for assessment of institutional progress, but that their work can have important real world implications... It is my hope that these experiences help students discover their potential, inspire the sense of urgency and importance of creative practice and foster a mindset for lifelong learning and research.
© 2017 Eric Souther. All rights reserved.