Project Visibility / Revealing Systems at Work / Institutions and Ideologies is a workshop and research project made in collaborating with the Language and Learning Advisor group which is a part of the Division of Student Life at Deakin University. The project has been initiated by Dr. Terrie Frazer and led by her in conjunction with Vittoria Grossi, Caroline Wright-Neville and myself, Ross Coulter.
The project seeks to give voice and to make visible the work of the highly qualified educators who support student and academics at university, though the processes and language of visual art.
Initially, the group was encouraged to expose, elevate and / or visualize an issue in their work. The topic could be something positive or alternatively, a hidden tension underpinning the complex nature of their work. For example, issues backgrounding successful collaborative relationships within the university faculties were raised and explored. Many of the tensions experienced by LLAs are obscure, complex and concealed, so by attempting to visualizing them, the project hoped to expose underlying pressures, concerns and ideologies in a more dynamic and immediate way.
Through this process the link between everyday work practices and wider socio-political contexts emerged. For instance, the recent ‘4 Corners Report’ (6th May) on international students being used as ‘cash cows’ and the relinquishing by some universities of English language entry standards, highlighted the many difficulties LLA’s face, when working within institutional structures and across disciplinary boundaries to meet student and academic staff expectations. By exposing what is hidden, we are hoping the wider academic community are able to observe and reflect on the collaborative role the learning advisor and academic play in developing a cohesive university learning community.
Many LLA’s have alter identities - they have trained in other realms, such as creative writing, linguistics, art, archaeology, history, film, but, for various reasons, our histories often reveal that we come to this work by chance. Some of us continue to work in our chosen field at a distance, while others may express themselves in other ways. So, there is a range of expertise including some LLA’s with no experience of art making at all. Thus the project aimed to conceptualize and expose crucial educational and pedagogical issues experienced by LLA’s, and to communicate these ideas to a wider community via the language of art.
Dr Terrie Fraser, Caroline Wright-Neville & Dr Vittoria Grossi, 2019
The above video is an fictionalise exchange between a “Language and Learning Advisors” (LLA) and “student.” The performers (who are all LLAs) are being fed a dialogue off-screen, with a script written by their colleagues. These videos seek to explore the roles of the LLA and student through the at times awkward exchanges, gaps and humour to arrive at another possibility of representing and understanding their working environment.