Navigating the new: Integrating technology in the Print Curriculum

Presented by Arron Foster


Printmaking has maintained a long-standing practice of remaining sensitive to new trends and new technology. Printmakers have never been afraid to act on innovation and incorporate new technologies into their practice. The consequence of this has been a discipline that remains both vital and relevant. As print continues to evolve and confront the digital revolution the discipline continues to expand through its dialogue with other media and languages. By subsuming emergent trends and placing them alongside traditional tools and techniques, printmakers are crossing traditional boundaries and utilizing new and different effects in their work.
Here at Kent State University, my colleague Taryn McMahon and I have been working to meet the digital revolution head on by creating a pedagogical environment that values the infusion of emergent trends and technology into curricula and works to develop courses that explicitly center on post-digital print processes.
In virtually all of our classes we are consistently introducing and reinforcing the relationships that exist between digital and analog, traditional and emergent by placing cutting-edge hardware and software alongside traditional tools, techniques and practices.
Examples of this can be seen in a myriad of projects developed by our students that integrate digital tools and technology. Currently, my colleague and I are terribly excited to be developing a cross-disciplinary course for the Spring of 2019 that focuses on the material and conceptual intersections that exist between digital fabrication tools and print media and photography.
Throughout this course students will explore and develop visual concepts through digital and post-digital print techniques. This will include creating imagery through a combination of digital means such as digital cameras, scanners, software programs or a combination of these, as well as creating matrix through the use of digital fabrication tools such as laser engravers, CNC routers and digital plotters.
In sum, I am honored to be a part of a print media and photo program that has taken an expanded view of the field and is actively encouraging students to engage with new media. I believe that, beyond direct instruction in these tools, what we have created is a vital context that legitimizes these tools and practices in the eyes of our students.
It would be an honor to participate in this panel and if chosen I would gladly speak to not only the larger practice of technological incorporation within print curricula but to specific lessons that I’ve developed that encourage student engagement with emergent software and digital fabrication tools.