Two leading academics and art practitioners have joined EIT ideaschool‘s permanent staff to add further weight to the education offered to visual arts and design students.
Head of School Dr Suzette Major says she is delighted to have appointed Dr Mandy Rudge and Dr Bridget Sutherland to senior teaching roles – “their expertise and skills will greatly benefit our degree and diploma students.”
Dr Bridget Sutherland’s interdisciplinary skills have been employed at EIT for some years in teaching scriptwriting to screen production students and art history to visual arts and design students.
Interested in the relationships between literature and art, Bridget says she had “enlightened lecturers and studied subjects which embraced an interdisciplinary approach.”
For her practice-based PhD, which she undertook at the University of Auckland, Bridget made a documentary film on David Kilgour, one of New Zealand’s most important musicians. She accompanied David to Nashville, Tennessee, where he was recording an album – “a truly wonderful time”.
Later she made a documentary film on Indian sculptor Anish Kapoor and also worked with Paul Judge in co-producing and co-editing his movie Don Driver: Magician, which screened at the International Film Festival in Wellington last year.
“The students are a big magnet for me,” Bridget says of her continuing role as a part-time teacher at ideachool. “It’s lovely to see their excitement and enjoyment as they develop and evolve over the years.”
Dr Mandy Rudge developed her interest in visual imagery as a social anthropologist. Returning to study after working as a primary school teacher and librarian, she progressed to a doctorate instigated by a man who had lived all his life in a village in northern India – a community which had long been the subject of academic research.
In a letter published in an American journal, the farmer asked whether researchers might be interested in knowing how the villagers felt about that. Mandy’s thesis responded to the challenge, focusing on the anthropology of anthropologists.
“I found the villagers wanted to be involved, to read what had been written about them. There was a disconnect between the university studies and the subjects of the research.”
Recognising the need for reciprocity, she photographed the villagers while seeking their input in constructing the images and determining the use to which they would be put.
“Later, I sent them their portraits. That became an interest in photography and the power of the visual to communicate cross-culturally.”
Mandy was at Massey University for nine years and 14 years at UCOL. She also has a specialist knowledge of contemporary Maori art.
Dr Suzette Major says Mandy’s interest and experience in design thinking –for example, in having co-written the Master of Design Thinking at UCOL – is increasingly where visual arts and design is heading.
“These two wonderful women have an in-depth theoretical knowledge that underpins great arts and design practice. They give weight to the ‘thinking’ bit of ideaschool, arts and thinking.”