This was an editorial I wrote for a school publication, 2131. It was published fall 2007.
"In early April 1897 a group of 19 artists defected from the Association of Austrian Artist. Known as the Austrian Secession, this movement was a reaction to the conservatism of the Vienna Kunstlerhaus, the authority of art in Austria. These 19 artists chose not to accept the old stagnant way of teaching and perceiving art. This group consisted of painters, sculptors, and architects. After their actions a wave of secessions occurred across Europe. Arguably one of the first organized shifts towards Modernism, this was the start of a movement.
That was 100 years ago.
Today we like to think, or at least hope, that our education is progressive. Many students complain about school, but it seems disturbingly rare that the system is questioned at its roots. Could our schooling broken, or simply antiquated? This is not a question of whether we have powerful computers or a rapid prototyping lab. It is a question of educational, and ultimately, architectural theory.
In our school this responsibility of education rests on everyone. It is not as simple as professors teaching and students working for a good grade. This is a scholastic institution. It should not simply be a high school of kids looking to get a well paying job (go across the street if that is what you are looking for). As one works from freshman to senior, and beyond, the hope is that we develop from simple students to scholars in the field of architecture. At an upper level we should be able to engage and question our professors in intellectual conversation. All too often students seem to fear truly open dialog with their professors. This seems to happen for two reasons. A number of professors seem to feel threatened by the inquisitive minds of students. It would seem they believe that education is a system of power over subordinates, instead of a community of shared ideas and intellectual enrichment. More disappointingly, many students are content with being silent when uncomfortable professors shoot them down. A culture of fear has developed within the student body. This is not a matter of confrontation as some students or professors seem to think. There is faculty as well as students that may find articles like this as personal attacks, or more likely will write this off as simply rant by an arrogant senior.
The purpose of this “rant” is not to complain about antiquated professors or disengaged students. More, it is a charge to those that read it, to stop excepting anything but an environment of high intellectual exchange. It is my belief that our very own SARUP has the foundation to become a great scholastic institution. Professors will not push students that are not pushing themselves, and students that do not push will never progress. If your professor is not open to conversation, they do not deserve your time. If you are not working to better yourself intellectually, then you do not deserve the time of your professors. If high school teachers spark the enthusiasm to learn, our professors stoke the flames in us to actually better ourselves.
There are many professors and students that are interested in the constant questioning of education, and more importantly, design. When you are here in studio you are surrounded by great minds. Remember that we have literally all been chosen to be here. Let us strive to live up to the ideas and ideals in our minds."