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Professor connects art class with university in China

Posted Oct. 25, 2008

Video-Conference 2008 (VC 2008)

During the fall semester of 2008, Kent State University students held an intercultural dialogue with students from Hebei Normal University (China). This opportunity to reach across continents and share ideas about art, aesthetics, and education was an integral part of the Seminar in Art Education course (ARTE 61001) taught by assistant professor, Dr. Koon Hwee Kan.

Under Dr. Kan’s direction a high speed internet connection utilizing advanced synchronized technology allowed the establishment of a virtual platform. During the three video-conference sessions, participants from both institutions engaged in lively discussions focusing on art and aesthetics, education and experience, globalization, localization, and education all through their personal cultural lenses.

KSU students shared their research on local community artists, the Kent State University landmark The Brain sculpture on Terrace Drive, and area works of renowned architect-Frank Gehry, including the Peter B. Lewis Building at Case Western Reserve University Business School. Other architectural structures in Northeast Ohio were featured for their unique designs and functions including the Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame designed by I. M. Pei, and the recently renovated and energy conscious Akron Art Museum. The Harlem Renaissance artist-Romare Bearden was introduced to illustrate one artist’s vision of the beauty of everydayness.

KSU students also explained how our program promotes thematic and issues-based approaches as the foundation for the K-12 art education curriculum. By emphasizing the importance of artistic inquiry and creative interpretations of artworks, both past and contemporary, students of our program ensure meaningful and exciting art experiences for children and young adults.

HNU students took a more formal approach to the common readings assigned for this video-conference including Cynthia Freeland’s But is it Art?, John Berger’s Ways of Seeing, and Nayan Chanda’s Bound Together: How Traders, Preachers, Adventurers, and Warriors Change Globalization. They introduced us to the aesthetics of Defamiliarization with examples such as the 2008 Olympic sport stadium, “The Bird’s Nest”, the Terra Cotta Army of Xian, and Chinese calligraphy.

HNU students also shared an insightful presentation on how globalization impacts the visual culture/national art of China by juxtaposing recent works by several Chinese avant-garde artists with classical artworks. They also delivered a persuasive explanation of how local folk art can be transformed into motifs for fashion design.

Students from both Universities who participated in this video-conference applauded the efforts of each other. They enjoyed the unique experience of interacting with one another across time zone (since 7-8 pm in the evening at KSU is already 8-9 am the next morning at HNU). Moreover, such face-to-face meetings in virtual space did not necessarily mean seeing eye-to-eye on many issues during the discussion. However, the intensified communication between students on both sides during VC2008 has expanded their international exposure and promoted a significant degree of intercultural understanding regarding the discussion topics.

VC 2008 (1) November 05 (Wed) 7-8pm at KSU « November 06 (Thurs) 8-9am at HNU

More details on VC 2008 Session 1

VC 2008 (2) November 19 (Wed) 7-8pm at KSU « November 20 (Thurs) 8-9am at HNU

More details on VC2008 Session 2

VC 2008 (3) December 03 (Wed) 7-8pm at KSU « December 04 (Thurs) 8-9am at HNU

More details on VC 2008 Session 3