Interdisciplinary Collaboration in the University Arts Department

By Ariel Baron-Robbins.

Published by The International Journal of Arts Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

As a Visual Arts Professor, I use interdisciplinary collaboration because it is advantageous for my students and for the attention it brings to the Art department in a large university system. The professors I work with outside of the Arts Department typically have not been exposed to our field and vice versa. In a liberal arts college, we have access to many other disciplines and I believe that we should take advantage of this close proximity through interdisciplinary collaboration. The specialization of education that has been a trend over the past 200 years has depreciated our contact with other departments and led to an isolation of the disciplines, and I argue especially with the fine arts colleges. In this paper, I will summarize current research on the isolation of the Arts Department on college campuses through the continued specialization of education: “For more than two hundred years, specialization has been the predominant trend in research and education; this has led to the dangerous fragmentation of our entire epistemological domain” (Newberger, E A, physician’s perspective on the interdisciplinary management of child abuse. Psychiatric Opinion 2:13-18. April 1976). I will summarize the history of interdisciplinary collaboration, its development in higher education, and current research and advancements with a focus on the practice in arts disciplines. Then I will offer a history of my experiences, projects that I have conducted, student outcomes and achievements, as well as describing the common pitfalls that can occur. This will be accompanied with many student examples and the artwork created through the collaborations. I also will talk about the use of technology and the internet to better aid communication between courses. You may see an example of an online collaboration here:, which is a website created to document the artwork and poems created between my Narrative Drawing class and the Creative Writing class at Florida Atlantic University.

Keywords: Interdisciplinary, Collaboration, Arts Pedagogy

The International Journal of Arts Education, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp.47-55. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 294.243KB).

Prof. Ariel Baron-Robbins

Visiting Instructor of Fine Arts, Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida, USA

Ariel Baron-Robbins is currently a Visiting Instructor of Fine Arts at Florida Atlantic University and an exhibiting artist. Her work is primarily focused on drawing and the visualization of the process of drawing through video. Her courses include all levels of Drawing and Painting, Color Fundamentals, Art Appreciation and Surveys of the Arts. She graduated from the University of South Florida with a MFA in interdisciplinary studies. She received her BFA in painting from the University of Mississippi and has also been a student on several study abroad course including: USF's Paris Program June, 2008, UM's England Program, Aug. 2006 and the University of Georgia's Cortona program in Italy, Spring and Summer programs, 2003.