The mid-year Mastercrafts Workshops at Whitireia are a ‘jewel in the crown’ of the School of Art and Design, says jewellery tutor Peter Deckers. The workshops, offered as part of the overall programme each year, bring in specialist artists and craftspeople from various disciplines to teach their professional skills to students.
The object is to provide a different angle or a more in-depth look into subjects the students are already studying. "The workshops are advanced, so artists are not expected to teach the basics," Peter Deckers says. "They will impart their particular specialist skills, and share their work ethics."
"Nobody controls the way each artist runs their class. They are not professional educators, but each one knows what they do well they are mentors, rather than teachers," he says.
This year, however, organisers have ensured that each of the eight artists has some teaching experience, to give the best possible learning environment.
The workshops have been a feature of the Whitireia Art and Design programme since 1988. Because successful artists are scattered across the country, it can be difficult and expensive to arrange work experience for students in the more specialist fields. Tutors decided that it would be more useful — and cheaper — to bring the artists to them.
The workshops have proved very successful, and for many students they are a deciding factor in choosing to take the Whitireia programme.