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Face to Face is a palpable example of staff from diverse disciplines entering into a dialogue with the extensive resources offered through a strong art collection. When Dr Deborah Walker first proposed the idea for an exhibition where staff in the School of Communication and Creative Arts selected a particular work from the Deakin art collection, and then responded through creating a work of their own, the concept was readily embraced. A diverse School covering the creative arts - dance, drama, film and video, animation and digital culture, photography, visual arts and visual communication - such offerings are complemented by professional and creative writing, media and communication and public relations.
It is not just the offerings that make this School unique, but the fact that staff in diverse disciplines readily talk and interact together. In that context staff often collaborate and teach across areas; a strong collegial sharing of knowledge and information is clearly evident in the School's program offerings. However, it is ironic that in an increasingly visual world mediated by technology, that some of the creative practice of staff, certainly as a primary source, is sometimes barely visible to a wider audience within the University.
Deakin's collection has developed from its hybrid roots, where work from a range of institutions, many engaged in teacher education, but not exclusively, (Deakin first began in 1978; Prahran and Warrnambool had diverse course offerings, including art schools), consolidated into the Deakin University we know today from the early 1990s. Progressively as the University has grown, the collection has expanded, adding cultural capital and providing a valuable educational resource for its immediate constituency and the wider community. Periodic rotation of the collection on different campuses, and the lending of works to touring exhibitions enhances the strong works in the University's holdings. The collection also provides support for many artists through purchasing their work, and providing a visible public presence that extends its reach beyond collections in the National Gallery of Victoria and regional galleries.
Given the fine collection available individual staff have selected particular works that resonate or provide a trigger to creating a work of their own - a form of value adding. Thus, Adrian Bruch, Dr Dirk de Bruyn, Lienors Torre, Dr Rose Woodcock and Marcia Jane from the Animation and Digital culture; Kevin Anderson and Liz Baulch from Film; Tonya Meyrick from Visual Communication; Dan Armstrong, Torika Bolatagici, Rozalind Drummond, Associate Professor James McArdle, Salote Tawale, and Wendy Beatty in Photography; Dr Cameron Bishop, Dr John Forrest, Simon Grennan, Associate Professor Rob Haysom, Dr Deborah Walker in Visual Arts; and, Dr Sally Gardner, Nicole Jenvey and Ashlea English in Dance, represent a spectrum of teacher - researcher - practitioners, some of whom have strong exhibition profiles nationally and internationally.
Face to Face not only provides a forum for a dialogue and spotlight on the Deakin art collection, but facilitates a further dialogue amongst staff involved, their colleagues, and students, in a fruitful exchange of ideas generated by the creative responses of the Face to Face participants to selected work.
Rob Haysom Associate Professor
Download the Face to Face exhibition catalogue
2012 Exhibition was at Deakin University Art Gallery