An essential aspect of teaching is to encourage students to think beyond the parameters of the “art school,” and for them to consider where they place themselves in terms of their aims and practice within the wider Australian Arts community. A culture of examining glass art practice nationally and internationally increases a student’s awareness of the bigger picture and where they will eventually find themselves after they have completed their studies. Witnessing the ongoing professional practice of staff and visiting alumni within the Glass Studio motivates the students. This is a unique teaching and learning dialogue as each student from day one has a firsthand awareness of the outcomes of passionate, committed, and practicing artists and researchers.

The ability to teach how to resolve the many and varied technical challenges posed by each student’s conceptual development is vital. The resolution of technical challenges is inherently entwined within conceptual development. An expansion of the student’s conceptual parameters occurs simultaneously with an increased knowledge and experience of the media and process; and the outcome is that graduates are increasingly conceptually articulate as well as technically proficient.

The glass studio at Monash has seen a change from basic degrees of craft and design, to applied arts, fine arts and research. Over this period the glass studio has developed into an independent area of study and research. The nature of contemporary practice will see the studio change again into a workshop that students from all areas will have access to. The workshop will be permeable and interactive within the concepts and philosophy of the Faculty of Art and Design.

What all the students share is an interest that can become a passion for glass media and practice in its various forms. The teaching staff in the studio act as navigators for the student to be able to define their creative direction. Sometimes the journey may be stormy and can pose many challenges, yet the arrival at the destination is always rewarding. An important aspect of the teaching and learning environment is the constant and fluid interaction of students from Undergraduate to Postgraduate level. Glass art practice is a diverse field, and as aspiring or practising artists much can be learnt from each other as they are all involved in a multiplicity of creative pursuits. Students are encouraged to engage with each other and explore and research the diversity of theory, philosophy, and techniques in glass making to inform their consequent visual production/artwork. This aspect of mentoring is not often recognised – that which occurs between students. All have something to contribute to each other and this is often the genesis of long standing professional relationships and friendships. It is the nature of glass practice that teamwork, dialogue, and problem solving are a constant.

I would like to acknowledge the following studio staff that have taught and supported our students during 2011: Bethany Wheeler and Nadia Mercuri.

I congratulate and thank all those involved with this graduation exhibition. I wish the graduating students of 2011 every success in their future studies and creative endeavours.

George Aslanis

Studio Coordinator