Artwrite: a new incarnation
This is the third online version of Artwrite (ISSN 1444 6712), the magazine of student writing that first started as a Word photocopied document in 1992. Earlier issues can be found on the Web Archive.
Artwrite is an essential part of two writing classes at the College of Fine Arts— Writing for Different Cultures and Audiences (in the Master of Art Administration) and Writing for Art and Design (Bachelor of Art Theory). Its production is based on the assumption that there is no point in writing to a disinterested examiner when work can be published. The first issue, written and edited by second year students in the Bachelor of Art Theory was published as a photocopied Word Document in June 1992. The history of the publication mirrors the rapid changes in desktop publishing over the last two decades.
By second session 1992 Master of Art Administration students were working on Mac Classics in Design Studio. The 1993 Genres of Art Writing Students discovered computer graphics. Next came scanning, which replaced the old paste-on photocopies. This was followed by Pagemaker on more powerful machines, – and colour. This was financed by the students who actively sought advertising. The first tentative move to the Web came in 1996, but time is short and technical expertise rested more with the students than myself, so we proceeded slowly. In 2000 however, thanks to the generous assistance of John Niland, the then web developer for the College of Fine Arts we have been transformed into a totally web based publication. Writing for the Web is rather a different discipline than writing for the printed page. Just as the print versions of Artwrite evolved over some years, so the on-line Artwrite has changed, adapting always to the ever shifting ground of 21st century technology. In early 2004 severe budget cuts meant that we lost the lively design of our original web pages and turned to some basic blogging software. With Issue 41 we moved to WordPress.
Some things never change. The production of Artwrite is a fair dry run for a real life career of working closely with colleagues to meet deadlines. As far as possible, given the constraints of time, academic timetable and resources, Artwrite is a collective project and students take control. All copy is reworked from basic class exercises, with variations according to the interests and inclinations of students. They design splash pages, sometimes after heated debate, and agree on the editorial. Even the letters section is a culled version of the first week’s writing exercise.
Every issue is different, reflecting the concerns of the particular class producing it. In session 2, 2010 a group of Art Administration students translated a section of their issue of Artwrite (issue 43) into Mandarin. Some of the translations were their own work, originally written in English, and some were translations of writing by English speaking students. In 2012 students have been concerned with the delayed release of a new national cultural policy.