Censored by SCAD

Censored by SCAD
This image was censored by SCAD administration; Photograph by Nicole Craine

Monday, November 29, 2010

SCAD uninterested in class on censorship issues in the arts

In Spring 2009, Claire Moynihan, a lawyer and commercial arbitrator in Atlanta, submitted a proposal to develop a class for SCAD students on censorship in the visual arts.

She received no reply.

Below is her proposal. Her blog is now open to the public: whatsrightwiththispicture.blogspot.com/

                         April 8, 2009 
Teresa M. Griffis, Ph.D.
Chief Academic Director
Savannah College of Art and Design-Atlanta 
            Re: Censorship and the Visual Arts,
                  A Proposed Special Topics Course
Dear Dr. Griffis: 
SCAD is on the cutting edge of arts education globally, and I have a concept for a Special Topics Course to be taught at the SCAD-Atlanta campus, which I hope you agree, fits into SCAD’s mission. I am a lawyer and a commercial arbitrator practicing in Midtown, with particular interest in the arts and in First Amendment issues. Enclosed find an article featuring my office, from “LawSpace,” in 2005, a page from the Bar’s Pro Bono Honor Roll, as well as my construction arbitration resume.  
My proposal is for a course on Censorship and the Visual Arts, to be presented to SCAD-Atlanta students using a  “case method” materials format and a (not rigidly, but generally) Socratic dialogue classroom style of instruction.  This approach, historically employed in American law programs, promotes critical thinking, so important to the foundations and discussion of controversial images.  “Censorship” as used in this course should be understood very broadly, and would include, without limitation, instances of official government censorship, curatorial and editorial discretion, economic censorship, advertising and other trade regulations, self-censorship and even vandalism—any restrictions on transmittal of artistic expression, and those restrictions can be nuanced and take many forms.  Cases and materials would be supplemented with a collection of ‘current issues’—images whose display or publication has caused recent controversy--which may be viewed on a blog platform, WhatsRightWithThisPicture,.  I have copied a selection of images from the blog onto the enclosed cd.  Some are benign and some are startling; all are interesting. If you wish to view the blog, which includes images as well as my notes and links, simply please call, or email me at xxxxxx@xxxxxx.com, and I will provide you with a temporary access token, and password.  Currently, the blog is open by invitation only to a few artists and lawyers.  
I understand that SCAD’s mission is, in part, to provide a bridge from academia to professional life for its students; and that SCAD has an eye toward the future.   I believe this course proposal could fit in well with that mission.  If this proposal is of interest, then please do not hesitate to contact me, or suggest the name of the most appropriate person at SCAD-Atlanta with whom I might speak in more detail.  Thank you for your consideration.

Claire Moynihan 
As an innovator in all areas, and with an open and honest student-centric policy, why was SCAD uninterested in developing a class on censorship in the arts? There are likely varied and complex reasons.

Do you think SCAD should have a class on censorship?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

AADM225 covers the subject, along with other First Amendment and intellectual property subjects. Perhaps a special topics course was rejected because the material is already covered in an existing class?