Small College, Huge Influence
小中見大


Interview with Professor Naren Barfield, Pro-Rector (Academic) at the Royal College of Art
專訪英國皇家藝術學院學術院長納仁·巴菲爾德教授

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Naren Barfield is an artist. He has held senior academic positions for several years including leading research in two specialist art and design institutions. He is currently Pro-Rector (Academic) at the Royal College of Art, where he leads the academic direction of the College, particularly quality and standards in teaching and learning.

納仁·巴菲爾德是一位藝術家,同時也曾于兩所專業藝術和設計學院任職學術主任。現在,他就職于英國皇家藝術學院,負責學院的學術研究工作,他的主要工作是引領學院在教師教學和學生學習質量和水平方面的研究。

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Professor Naren Barfield (RCA)

ART.ZIP: Would you give us a brief introduction of yourself?

NB: In my academic career, I taught in the RCA in the 1990s, Slade School of Fine Art, University of the Arts, and other art and design schools. I was Director of Research at Wimbledon School of Art, and then I was Head of Research and Postgraduate Studies at Glasgow School of Art for seven years. I came back to the RCA three years ago. Immersed in art and design, I maintain responsibility for academic research, most of the College’s academics, all of the taught Master’s programmes of the College’s six academic Schools, the research department and technical services, IT, workshops and libraries. I look after everything academic and research-focused. I also continue to work as a site-specific artist. I work a lot in China actually, with three large exhibitions in China last year, two in Beijing and one in Shenyang.

ART.ZIP: 可不可以請您給我們的讀者做一個簡略的自我介紹?

NB: 在我的學術生涯中,90年代的時候我曾經任教于皇家藝術學院、斯萊德藝術學院(Slade School of Fine Art)、倫敦藝術大學(University of the Arts London)以及其他一些藝術和設計學院,後來我擔任過溫布爾頓藝術學校(Wimbledon School of Art)的研究部主任,後來又在格拉斯哥藝術大學(Glasgow School of Art)工作了七年,負責那裡的研究生課程的學術研究工作。直到3年前,我又回到了皇家藝術學院任職。在這個藝術和設計的最高學府,我主要負責學術研究,包括每個學院的研究生課程、研究部門、技術服務、工作室和圖書館等等內容。我要兼顧這裡所有和學術研究相關的項目。此外,作為一名藝術家,我自己的創作也沒有間斷過。實際上我在中國也做過很多作品,去年我在中國舉辦了三次大型展覽,兩個在北京,一個在上海。

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ART.ZIP: How would you describe RCA’s teaching concepts?

NB: The RCA is skills based. We stress three things:

The first and most important thing is independent creative thinking. We create students who are going to change the world. That’s why we exist. We are small, only a tiny, tiny dot on the globe, but the influence we have is huge. And the only way you can have that influence is by having graduates who are going to change the world, because they are independent, they think for themselves, they are creative and they are networked. I think that’s the most important thing.

Secondly, they have a strong skills base. At the RCA, there is a two-year minimum postgraduate experience. A research degree is three to four years, and for research associates four further years. Our students have a very involved and in-depth experience. By the time they leave us, they have spent seven, eight, or nine years in art and design education. It is a long time. They will leave with an incredible skills base. But we don’t go from skills to concepts, we develop concepts in harmony with skills. And it’s not simply a demonstration of skills, it’s about graduates having the skills they need to realise the concepts they are working on.

Finally, students work in teams. One student might have great skills in 3D modelling, another student might have amazing skills in public space and planning, and another one might have critical thinking skills in theory and history. When we put these people together in teams, or they find their own teams, they create distinctive combinations.

ART.ZIP: 請您為我們介紹一下皇家藝術學院的教學理念?

NB: 皇家藝術學院是非常注重技術的。我們主要強調三個方面:

第一方面,也是最重要的一部份,學生必須擁有獨立的創造性思維。皇家藝術學院的辦學宗旨是要培養在未來能夠改變世界的學生。我們的學院非常小,但是我們的影響力卻是巨大的。如果要在如此小的一個地方取得巨大的成就,我們必須培養出在各個領域都能做出翻天覆地事蹟的畢業生,也正因如此,我們要求所有的學生必須獨立,必須思考,必須有創造力,同時他們必須知道如何搭建自己的人脈網絡。我覺得這些都是至關重要的。

第二方面,我們非常強調技能的培養。在這裡,研究生課程最少需要2年,研究項目學位需要3到4年,研究員項目則要再多4年。我們的學生會在學習的過程中與整個體系發生非常緊密的互動,在他們離開學校的時候,他們往往已經在這里經歷了相當長時間的藝術教育。當他們畢業的時候,他們已經擁有了非常卓越的專業技能。對於這些技能的學習不是停留在理論和概念階段,我們將理念和技能相結合,在實踐中發展他們的技能。而且我們的教學並不是單純的對技術的示範或表演,我們的目的是為了讓學生們可以學到相應的能力來實現他們自己創作中的想法。

最後一方面,學生們必須學會團隊合作。一個學生可能對做三維模型很在行,同時另一個學生可能對空間的規劃很有一套,還有的學生也許很擅長理論知識和批評,當我們把這些有不同專長的學生分配到一個團隊,或者他們自發的形成團隊,他們的團隊協作會創造出非常獨特的作品。

RCA 10-13 976


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