“Goody bags”


Despite all best efforts, some areas in the visual arts ultimately cannot work entirely online. Especially disciplines based on a notion of manual craft that articulates primarily in skillful manipulation of materials – ceramics, glass, sculpture, maybe jewellery, fashion etc. – will eventually always want to incorporate a minimal proportion of analogue technique.

For those disciplines institutions may consider distributing “goody bags” – sometimes also called “care packages”, “MacGyver boxes”, “tool boxes” or else: instructors put together assortments of hand tools and materials needed for the completion of an assignment or course – or possibly even by “order” from students – to be delivered to the student’s choice of address.

Students may complete their assignment at home, following online demonstrations and potentially tutored via video stream. At a given deadline the work result may be picked up from them – possibly also the tools, if not needed for the next assignment – and brought to the institution, where staff may further process them (e.g. firing them). All outputs from a course may be collected in dedicated space on campus and could e.g. be physically assessed and discussed by the instructor in the context of an online presentation.

Depending the circumstances under which this is all happening – e.g. whether regular postal services are still available etc. – institutions may consider pick up arrangements or sending their parcels by some service, or a mix of both.

If appropriate, students may come back to campus to pick up a parcel; staff/student interaction may be minimised for the purpose. If interactions are to be entirely avoided, institutions may setup pickup lockers on easily accessible premises: a parcel is placed into a locker by staff; locker number and PIN are sent to the student by text message; student confirms pickup; PIN will be changed for the next pickup. In particular for pickup arrangements, institutions should arrange for students to pick up multiple packages in one trip, if they are eligible.

If packages are to be sent, institutions may consider the post, various courier services, (if available) an institutional driving service, or – potentially – setting up an impromptu courier service themselves. Whatever service is used, institutions should plan also how finished work and eventually any tools may be returned, ideally at no costs for the student and within reasonable timeframe.

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Peter Benz

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