1989 National Summer School in CADCAM

For Artists, Craftworkers and Designers held at the Regency College of TAFE in January 1989. The School’s goals were:

• To assist the professional development of Australian artists through the acquisition and development of new technology-based skills.

• To facilitate ‘knowledge transfer’.

• To create new links between artists and industry.

• To introduce artists to a range of practical and theoretical issues associated with the use of new technology.

• To establish a model for future educational and skilling programs for artists in the area of new technology.

12 artists of diverse backgrounds from all over Australia were familiarised in a unique learning environment with a variety of computer systems enabling the generation and production of 2D and 3D works.

The four-week workshop, and the 24 hour access provided much opportunity for the artists to fully explore the possibilities for output of data. Some chose to animate images on the screen, others to plot their images via a large scale plotter, and some artists produced prototype sculptures via numerically controlled machines.

1990 will see the exhibition of works by these students in the ANAT exhibition for Ausgraph 90. Dianne Mantzaris, one of the students, is currently exhibiting works produced at the Summer School in Japan.

Many of the artists have developed a professional interest in the area as a result of the Summer School. An extract from a report by Ian White, one of the participants, states that:

I am pleased to report that, at the time of writing, I am working on the improvement of the aesthetic component of designs of a Melbourne plastics-injection moulding company, whose designs are generated largely by AutoCad software… I acknowledge the groundwork provided by ANAT as having been imperative as an introduction”.

The transfer of knowledge was facilitated by those artists who were also in teaching positions within art educational institutions. Of the 12 students, five filled this role, as sculptors, craft and leatherworkers, and painters.

An Open Day at this inaugural Summer School provided representatives from industry, education, the arts and government with the opportunity to view first hand the results and possibilities of this type of innovative education and interaction. The open day was addressed by Dr Peter Ellyard and Dr Jane Gilmour, and for many in the audience it was a first introduction to the ideas behind the development of a productive culture for Australia, using the talents and interactive wealth of people like the Summer School participants. It was generally regarded as a great success.

The success of the Summer School and the ever increasing interest by artists in the new technologies has confirmed the importance of ANAT’s educational program. 1990’s Summer School is developing in line with accessible technologies, and interest in running similar program is being expressed by institutions all over Australia.

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