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March 28, 2008

Exhibits > in Ankara + Duluth

In March 2008, work from the Turkish American Projects by University of Minnesota Duluth students is on exhibit at Baskent University in Ankara, Turkey. Congratulations to students whose work is included in this international exchange!

Tulip & Arabesque Online Exhibit

Tweed Museum of Art Exhibit (Fall 2007)

Conference + Exhibition in Ankara (Spring 2008)


I am not in Ankara, attending the Symposium of The Preservation of Cultural Heritage; New Methods and Applications, but I'm looking forward to a report from my colleagues who are presenting projects there and participating in the academic dialogue about cultural heritage. I knew my student's work would be traveling to be part of an exhibit, but I was uninformed about the potential link between our art + design projects and the more complex content of this symposium.

Since the symposium website links to this blog... I do have a few thoughts, perhaps worth including here...

Over the past few years, I have integrated several large assignments into my teaching which address cultural complexity in design, specifically related to the Turkish American Exchange projects. My goal has been to introduce students to aspects of global culture, identifying traditional formal roots in contemporary design. I have created projects that are appropriate to our digital design curriculum and integrated Turkish design influences into foundations courses. More advanced students have been asked to delve a bit deeper into contemporary Turkish design and to draw off of traditional literature. In each case, students benefit by expanding their their awareness of how culture travels across borders. Students begin to make connections between the visual culture they live in and the traditions and cross-fertilizations that feed it. This global and historical sensitization is crucial for any artist or designer today. I have long believed that design is a richly diverse activity that springs from all corners of culture and a vital tool for building bridges between diverse groups. My creative approach to teaching is more concerned with the evolution and re-integration of traditional culture, than with the preservation or conservation of it.

That said, I think it's important to point out that though one goal of my teaching has been the integration of influences from global culture into art foundations curriculum, it's primary focus is on design principles and digital techniques. Ours has been a creative process... introducing students to other ( and "othered") cultural artifacts as a first step in stimulating curiosity and formal invention.

-Joellyn Rock