Field Studies provides academic and logistic assistance for sustained field research associated with creative art production.
Typically, the program facilitates artist encounter with landscape, interaction with communities, and access to environmental agencies as a means of intellectual stimulus and as a source of inspiration for making art.
Field Studies programs are available to enrolled students to undertake field research for major workshop, honours or postgraduate work proposals in any visual art discipline in the ANU Schools of Art and Music. Respective course supervisors must approve participation in a program. As well as meeting curriculum requirements, field research may also inform artwork for public exhibition and contribute to debate.
Where appropriate, graphic designers from Canberra University (‘Kimbriki’ Field Study; 2008), visual artists studying in the TAFE sector (‘The Contested Landscapes of Western Sydney’ Field Study; 2010), and ANU Schools of Art and Music staff and alumni are welcome to participate.
Programs typically schedule 3×5-day field trips (Wednesday to Sunday) per semester (in weeks 3, 6 and 10) to the same field location establishing an alternating sequence of field experience and studio development. For some programs where time taken to reach the field research location involves a day or more travel, a 2×7-day field trip schedule applies and takes place in mid-semester and mid-year teaching breaks.
Field locations may be anywhere, but usually no more than a day’s travel by motor vehicle from the ANU. Locations range from remote locations in national parks (alpine, forest, wetland, semi-arid, coastal and marine); to cultivated rural landscapes (Murray Darling Basin); to sub-urban/urban (Canberra, Western Sydney) and industrial landscapes (Sydney).
Some Field Study programs are thematic and, of these, many have focused on environmental issues such as those affecting land and water (‘Engaging Visions Research Project’ Field Studies; 2007-09), energy and material consumption (‘Factor of Ten’ Field Study; 2002), and transport (‘Art of Moving’ Field Study, 2006).
Within the context of a Field Study, procedures for artist interaction with the field community are well developed. Consultation* takes place with a wide range of people including: scientists (biological, Earth and social); historians; Indigenous leaders; landholders; Shire officials; community activists; artists; and media professionals.
Exhibitions, performances and catalogue publications of creative work inspired by Field Studies programs follow the scheduled field trips. Exhibitions/performances take place in both the field location and back at the ANU School of Art. After these events, artists interested in long-term work in the field location and engagement† with the community are further assisted by program.
* Consultation – seeking knowledge and advice about a predetermined source of action
† Engagement – collaborating on the development of a course of action
Contact: John Reid / Convenor / Field Studies / Environment Studio / School of Art / The Australian National University
m: 0416 249 090