OCAD U International caught up with Associate Professor, Faculty of Art, Anda Kubis to reflect on her time leading our most recent International Online Residency Experience (IORE).
"What Moves You? was a virtual student residency where 14 art students, equally representing OCAD University and University of the Arts London,Camberwell College of Arts collaborated for 6-weeks in the winter of 2021, guided by myself and Lois Rowe (UAL) to respond, brainstorm and conceive of four collaborative creative projects.
This international residency was five years in the making. Various reasons contributed, but the Covid-19 pandemic induced a sense of urgency. As the sudden move to online teaching gave us a ‘we can do this’ sense of confidence, I was thrilled to partner with Lois Rowe and UAL on this inaugural adventure together. In our accelerated planning sessions, we realized the student need for connection and expression within a decolonized structure that allowed the students to shape their own outcomes. Focussing on individual site observation – while mostly in lockdown in four countries (Canada, England, Spain, China) - the student artwork and notations reflected their isolation and concern for emerging social issues occurring in their communities.Many common threads were revealed in their first presentations, and the four groups coalesced quite organically around themes and methodologies. Inspired by a day of visiting artists from both schools - Nadia McLaren, Ilene Sova and myself from OCAD U, and Dr. Kimathi Donkor, David Cross and Lois from UAL – student groups then broke out to share, ideate and problem-solve toward the task of creating artistic projects that would live virtually but could be realized in the future.
Exciting and filled with notes, visuals and inspiring insights, Lois and I were astounded by how quickly the students took to proliferating their collective digital ‘Miro boards’. Informed by various social geographies, the group projects ranged from quirky, aesthetic, and awareness-raising urban interventions, to critical reflections on surveillance, through to quietly taking solace and sharing drawings of intimate ‘out the window views’ during the difficult time of lockdown. We heard a lot about how much chatting and learning about cultural difference, large and small, had relieved student stress and helped gain broader insight of where each student lived. A sense of fun crossed with seriousness prevailed. Within this virtual space of generosity, peppered with humour and caring, we were all moved – and we were sad when it ended so quickly."
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