Well, this is my first attempt at writing a blog about some of the issues that matter most to me, and that is how to kindle a passion for the arts. And more, actually, and that is to be enagaged in a process where ‘the arts’ in all their manifestations, whether visual, textual, whether recorded and fixed or ephemeral, ‘do something’ to whoever encounters them. What I care about most passionately is engagement with a period usually referred to as ‘the Renaissance’ which for me is a moment in time somewhere after 1400 and maybe before 1700, some time when one state of thinking had given way to another state of thinking where different priorities were expressed, so ‘time’ cant be measured really in calendar years but as a moment in a cultural process of development. Again, for me, this means that I am interested as much in events in the 1400s that shaped policies in Northern Italy,especially in Venice’s landed empire, the terrraferma, as events that may have happened in the 1500s in England and centered around a new sense of identity that was precipitated, maybe, by decisions regarding religion and self-fashioning at the courts of the Tudors. You see, I like to hedge my bets.
The way I deal with these issues is through teaching art history; more particularly, teaching Renaissance art history at the University of Nottingham, England. I am privileged to be working in a thriving, bustling School of Humanities where I work side by side with colleagues whose primary teaching and reseach affiliations lie in departments such as history, philosophy, classics, archaeology, music and theology. This diversity of disciplinary specialisation though presents a wonderful opportunity to reflect on just how we share our passion for our subjects with students.
And this is where my blog comes in; teaching arts matters, so lets explore the myriad possible ways of making the arts count!