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October 15, 2021

Office Hours: Ane Hjort Guttu: Oslo National Academy of the Arts

Art & Education

Ane Hjort Guttu, Manifesto (still), 2021. Film, 27 minutes. Photo: Patrick Säfström.

Kier Cooke Sandvik, Surged (detail), 2021. Photo: KUNSTDOK.

Ingrid Bjørnaali, Current Dividers, 2021. Photo: Istvan Virag.

Elina Waage Mikalsen, Undersong/Jaskes šukŋa, 2021. Photo: Tor Simen Ulstein.

Eirik Melstrøm, The B-Flat Society, 2021. Photo: Eirik Melstrøm.

Hedda Hørran, We Are Your Friends, 2021. HULIAS, Oslo. Photo: Hedda Hørran.

Office Hours: Ane Hjort Guttu: Oslo National Academy of the Arts

1. Why did you decide to go into teaching?
I went into teaching right after my graduation, mainly because I considered it the best work I could get with my educational background. I started teaching at a preparatory school in Lofoten, in northern Norway, in 1999. I very soon realized how interesting I found the work and how much I learned from it.

2. What drew you to your school and what is your teaching philosophy?
I teach at the art academy in the city where I live, so it was natural for me to apply for a position there. The department of fine art at Oslo National Academy of the Arts has a great faculty, and I feel that we are still able to work fairly independently within the department and create an education that we believe in, with a great collaborative spirit among faculty members. My teaching is always about how I might facilitate understanding, energy, or courage in the student. Sometimes you need to push someone, other times to question them or ask them to calm down. In my view, it is better to know the student well to be able to actually help them. I strongly believe in a group critique format with a dedicated group of students who spend time with each other and feel safe within the group.

3. What theory and art history do you consider most essential for your students? What artist or artwork do you refer to most often?
This changes a lot, depending on the students. Recently, theory naturally connected to post-humanism and the Anthropocene, along with post- and decolonial studies and gender studies and feminism. But I refer to a vast number of artists, writers, musicians, and theoreticians. I try very hard to see what references students can actually make use of. Often, they get loads references based on what their art looks like, but I don’t think this is especially useful. Instead, it is important for there to be something in the references students are given that reflects the problems or challenges they face. I try not to give too many references, as I have observed that they often write them down but don’t really follow up or understand how to use them. Rather than listing their references mechanically when asked, students should try to develop an engaged relationship with them.

Read more of Ane Hjort Guttu's Office Hours on School Watch.

Office Hours is a new questionnaire series that gathers insights on teaching from artists. In response to ten prompts, educators reflect on the discourses and approaches that animate their teaching, share their visions for the future of art education, and offer advice for students navigating the field of contemporary art.

School Watch presents critical perspectives on art and academia. Featured profiles, surveys, and dialogues consider education in fine art, curating, and critical theory, as well as the ideas and conditions that influence practice.

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