In the contemporary educational context the term photography has in many cases metamorphosed into such phrases as photomedia to reflect not only the adoption of a number of lens-based media, but also the move to digital media technologies. The idea of the studio, from the perspective of the educational curriculum is at an interesting juncture. The studio approach to the curriculum has largely been an organisational structure rather than an imperative to art practice and this year’s photomedia graduates have challenged this tradition through their artwork.

Discipline boundaries are currently undergoing considerable redefinition. New and hybrid forms of interdisciplinary research not only test existing disciplinary limits, they also produce new objects for study which, in turn, require new methodologies. There is an increased interest and emphasis on inter-disciplinary practice and the term post-disciplinary is beginning to evolve. But while interdisciplinary connotes a sense of a unified field of practices and social structures, post-disciplinary suggests that the structures of the disciplines themselves are at question. This is no way more evident than in the work produced by this year’s graduates demonstrating that these artists are well aware of the emerging debates regarding the discipline and the medium.

Eleanor Gates-Stuart and Jenny Wolmark suggest that emerging post-disciplinary practices are porous, fuzzy-edged and indeterminate. The basic qualities of this new production of knowledge are: complexity, hybridity, non-linearity, reflexivity, heterogeneity, and transdisciplinarity. These practices are well placed to refuse accepted hierarchies of knowledge that are offered as repositories of universal values. As cultural hybrids, post-disciplinary practices retain knowledge of the specificities of disciplines and of their histories, but they are also inherently transgressive and capable of operating outside the limitations imposed by those disciplines. In this way, the idea of the post-disciplinary does not negate the idea of the studio but considers new approaches to practice initiated by a questioning of the disciplines within which we find ourselves. These ideas have manifested themselves in the studio throughout this year with many students using materials in a very self-conscious even citational manor and while many have used lens-based mediums such as photography and video others have engaged in sculptural or painterly forms.

Marvin Carison suggests that we have entered a new century with one face looking backward to a world of established disciplines and sealed boundaries; and another looking forward to a world that allows, indeed encourages, the free flow of study and insights across the old barriers. Reviewing the work of the lecturers that have mentored this year’s students reflects these developments and the staff have challenged the students to continually question their practice. Staff members Professor Claudia Terstappen, Brook Andrew, Peta Clancy, Warren Fithie, Siri Hayes, David Rosetzky, Paul Batt, Joel Zika, Robin Hely and Patrick Pound should be congratulated for their incredible contribution.

This years graduates have capitalized on their exposure to the myriad of new and stimulating artistic and critical discourses surrounding evolving contemporary art practices and this is evident in their substantial achievements throughout this year.

Matthew Perkins

Studio Coordinator