AiR in Education
Between 2010 to 2016 Arts Tasmania, in collaboration with the Australia Council for the Arts offered the Artist in Residence (AIR) program to professional Tasmanian artists across all artform areas. Over this time the Tasmanian AIR program became recognised nationally and internationally for its unique residency model which offered both professional development for artists whilst contributing to the arts learning for students and staff in schools.
The AiR residency program provided artists with an opportunity to focus on aspects of their practice while immersed in an educational environment. It provided pathways for artists to connect their practice to young people and for artists to inspire, re-connect or introduce teachers to new ideas and approaches. The program offered students, staff and the college community exposure to professional contemporary artists and their work, with a focus on modelling to students and staff the artist's creative processes and practice rather than working on a specific project outcome for the college or teaching students directly.
The AIR program supported professional artists from a variety of artforms to undertake residencies working alongside students, in schools and colleges in the public and independent sectors around the state. 2016 was the final year of the program.
The girls appeared to enjoy the camaraderie and having a special space during lunchtimes. Having a person that they could relate to as a mentor, other than a teacher, to give an insight into the world of an artist and speak to on a different level was much appreciated.
Lyn Marsden, Arts Teacher, Queechy High School 2011
The AIR program is a fantastic opportunity for schools to engage with the Visual and Performing Arts. Having access to a contemporary artist is invaluable for students for a variety of reasons. It enables students to interact face to face with what can often be perceived as an otherwise distant occupation removed from real life. It also provides an opportunity for students to be stimulated and challenged in a way that is not possible in a more conventional educational setting. The flexibility of the program means that it can be tailored to fit a variety of environments and also means it can adapt and change as opportunities and possibilities develop. The AIR program is a great way to culturally enrich the life of a school community.
Alex Wanders, Head of Arts, Claremont College 2012
Participation in the AIR programme over the past three years has had significant impacts on the lives of not only our Brooks High School students but also our school community. I would genuinely love for our school to be part of AIR every year, such is the significance of its contributions to our student's life experiences.
Shireen Thomas, Principal Brooks High School 2012
As a teacher and musician it was marvellous, rewarding and enjoyable to be able to have technical and academic discussions with Heath. The professional development with contemporary composition and musical issues was invaluable, as was an academic perspective being brought to the music department. Students were strongly engaged in all activities.
Jan Butler, Music teacher, Hobart College 2014
I just wanted to say how worthwhile it has been for my students, particularly my year 12's who are considering a fine art pathway. The passive interaction illustrated that it is 'more than okay to be a practising artist'. We have little exposure to young artists in our region so having Ross gave my students direction, a genuine desire and confidence in their tertiary choices.
Lisa Garland, Visual Arts teacher, Hellyer College, 2013
There has been a steady increase in the number of candidates studying Visual Art at a pre-tertiary level at Claremont College over the past few years and part of this growth at least can be attributed to the AIR residencies which have exposed students to 'real world' interaction with practicing artists.
Alex Wanders, Head of Arts, Claremont College