MARK JEFFERY                                                                                      TEACHING


Teaching Philosophy

"To experiment means you must put what you know at risk to what you do not yet know."

Ann Lauterbach, The Night Sky

In my role as teacher and mentor I ask each student to pause, listen, and situate in silence, to take risk and always maintain regard for themselves and each other as creative thinkers. I strive to create a collaborative community that one needs to build and participate within the classroom, local, national and global culture off and online. This is the challenge and opportunity in a highly technologically networked and collaborative climate of the 21st century. I am interested in exploring how presence, and engagement with the live and mediated body can create and construct images we can read, critique and digest in a contemporary accelerated culture.

I see my role in the classroom as facilitator, one who imparts a framework and set of tools. I invite the students to make these tools their own and utilise them in the generation of material in their studio practise and ultimately the creation of works of performance. In addition, I bring contemporary and historical materials in for investigation and discussion. I arrange fieldtrips to expose the students to new work, content and approaches. I provide readings to fuel their investigation into their own material and practise. I see one-on-one tutorials throughout the semester as key to engaging each student in the particulars of their process as well as a way to inform my approach to the curriculum. Throughout the course I demand a student to be present, and attentive to the specific task that is being attempted.

When beginning the generation of material in a studio class I present a specific, highly visual text, video, audio clip or object. I will then ask the students to embody this material for a defined period of time. Through investigation and repetition the movement becomes a piece of vocabulary. Through simple assemblage of the students into duets, trios, solos the sequence gains or loses form and complexity. During this exercise, I act as the rowing coxswain and keep the pace and recombination of the material flowing. The duration of this exercise may range from a few minutes to an hour or more. The pace compresses and opens allowing the students to explore temporal and physical capacities of themselves and the group.

I evolve this type of exercise by introducing specific constraints. These constraints could be in the form of a film reference, a photograph, a diagram, an article, a surface to perform on, or the weight of time. As I facilitate this image making I will ask the students to consider how they embody, fracture and reorganise the material within the space. I have discovered that imposing diverse and specific parameters facilitates discovery, engages the mind and body transforming the student into an instrument of expression.

- Mark Jeffery

see also: Goat Island Teaching Philosophy


Abandoned Practices

The Performing Body

Live Presence, Technology, Virtual Spaces

Performing the Document

Performing Labor

Materiality, The Body and Motion

Contemporary Practices: Core Studio

Intro to Performance

© Mark Jeffery 1994 - 2011