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October 24, 2002 Fine arts courses open to all students




by Melanie Takefman

The Faculty of Fine Arts is seeking to help students broaden their education by offering several new courses that are open only to students not enrolled in a Fine Arts program. The Faculty of Fine Arts introduced several such courses last summer, with great success.

Associate Dean of Fine Arts, Academic and Student Affairs Brian Foss said, “These courses have been conceived and structured in such a way as to provide students who have little or no fine arts background with a solid introduction to ideas, themes and disciplines of such subjects as music, art history, film appreciation and studio art practice.”

The move fits in with a growing emphasis on a broad general education on the part of the university and the government. After a period of intense specialization, the pendulum is swinging back in favour of a more eclectic education that ensures lasting educational enrichment.

David Douglas, a part-time lecturer in the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, taught Introduction to the Art and Style of Film for non-fine arts students during the fall 2002 semester.

While the overall feedback on the course was positive, Douglas said that he and his students were “apprehensive” about the idea of non-cinema students studying film at first.

Consequently, he began the course by showing Hollywood movies that students would be familiar with, like Moulin Rouge, before moving on to more experimental work.

In addition, his students were not accustomed to writing about films right away. As a result, Douglas will assign a film journal throughout the semester and a final exam, instead of a mid-term exam.

He believes that the move towards a general education is excellent and is much more rewarding than a structured, technical program down in the long run. “If people take it seriously, [general education] offers the possibility of seeing what you do in relation to other departments.”

Douglas will offer Introduction to the Art and Style of Film in the winter semester and hopes that the Faculty will increase the number of courses available to non-fine arts students, eventually allowing them to do visual and production work.

The other course that was offered to all students this term was FFAR 398H/2 - The Visual & Performing Arts, Renaissance to the Present, taught by Robert Gifford.

Professor Gifford’s course examines the development of and cross-fertilization among painting, architecture, music and theatre, and considers the impact of popular culture, technology and cross-cultural perspectives on the arts.

Other fine arts courses being offered to non-fine arts students in the winter semester are World Music, and Art, Science and Technology from Leonardo da Vinci to Virtual Reality.

For course listings or more information, please call the Faculty, at 848-4612 or visit the Faculty of Fine Arts’ Web site at http://fofa.concordia.ca.