Small College, Huge Influence
小中見大


ART.ZIP: Is it the reason you have only postgraduate courses?

NB: We have been running only postgraduate programmes for 50 years. A, because it is going to change the world. B, because practice and thinking are more mature at the postgraduate level. C, because the programmes are the best, so we are able to choose the best students.

ART.ZIP: 皇家藝術學院是一個只有研究生課程而沒有本科課程的學院,這是為什麼呢?

NB: 半個世紀以來,我們都是只設立研究生以上學歷的課程,第一是因為我們要培養能夠改變世界的人才,第二是因為研究生課程的學生在思考和實踐兩方面都更為成熟,第三是因為我們的課程是最好的,我們要挑選最好的學生來這裡學習。

ART.ZIP: Since you’ve been to China many times, how do you see the difference between these two education models?

NB: I think the academy tradition in China is still very strong, as you can see that incredible skill base, which is quite different to the European models; in the European model, there is a foundation year in which students learn a little bit of everything… The Chinese model traditionally produces students with strong technical skills, particularly in drawing and crafting. Changes in China mean that Chinese institutions are now moving towards a more balanced programme of individual ideas and creative concepts.

Apart from skills, I think there’s also quite a difference in learning styles and learning methodologies. To simplify things way too much, the Chinese model of higher education sees the professor as being the expert, very knowledgeable in his field, and students are expected to learn from the professor. I think at least for the last 70 years in the UK, the model has been based on student discovery, learning by doing, learning by experiment; this is a guided process. The commonality is the professor, who is expected to engage in practice and research. Academic staff in both places are practitioners and research-active; I think the difference is in the learning models.

ART.ZIP: 您曾經也去過中國很多次,請問您覺得中英兩國在教育模式上有什麼異同?

NB: 我覺中國教育體系中對於學術傳統非常地重視,你可以看到他們非常重視對技術的追求,在這一點上與歐洲的模式非常不同;在歐洲,學生會在正式進入大學前的基礎課程階段學習和接觸各種技術,但都是淺嘗輒止。中國的教育模式培養出來的學生往往都擁有非常出色的技藝,特別是繪畫和手工技術。不過現在也可以看到中國藝術教育的變化,在中國很多的藝術研究院開始更多地關注和平衡個人觀念和創造性思維的項目。

除了技術方面的差異,我覺得在學習方式和方法上中國和歐洲也存在很大的不同。簡單來說,中國高等教育體系中的教授是作為一位專家和權威的角色出現,學生希望從他這裡學到知識;而在英國,至少近70年來,高等教育都是建立在學生自主鑽研,通過實踐和實驗來學習,老師只是作為一個指導性的角色。共同點是中英兩地的教授都是兼顧研究和個人實踐的。所以我覺得最主要的不同點應該是中英學習模式上的不同。

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ART.ZIP: Some art colleges have set up overseas offices for recruiting students. Why don’t you have one?

NB: We haven’t done that, because we are not traditionally a recruiting institution. The RCA is very selective institution. We can get up to thirteen or fourteen applicants, sometimes as many as eighteen applicants for every single place. We don’t have to be in the business of setting up shop somewhere to recruit students. A large number of our students do come from China, but we are more interested in students who seek us out rather than recruiting heavily. We are carefully developing some deeply held strategic relationships with other institutions. We have chosen to work with high quality partners, so we have a link with Qinghua, CAFA and others.

ART.ZIP: 有一些英國的藝術學院開設了在海外的辦公室來幫助招生,皇家藝術學院為什麼沒有這麼做呢?

NB: 我們確實沒有設立這樣的辦公室,因為傳統上我們並不是一個大規模招生的學院。我們選擇學生的標準非常高,而且競爭非常激烈,每個招生名額背後都有十多位競爭者。我們不需要像做生意一樣開設“門店”來招收學生。我們確實有很多的中國學生,但是我們更傾向於學生們來投奔我們,而不是花時間去徵召學生。我們也非常謹慎地和一些研究機構進行深度的戰略性合作,我們必須選擇高質量的合作夥伴,比如我們現在合作的清華大學、中央美術學院等院校。


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