I have extensive higher education teaching experience, having worked as a lecturer on an adjunct, part time, and full time basis since 2007. I have taught at The University of Edinburgh, Napier University, Glasgow School of Art, The University of Abertay Dundee, and most recently at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore.
My working career over the past fifteen years has nearly always involved a combination of creative work and teaching. These two aspects of my work have always been interwoven and interrelated, and I have consistently found both sides influencing each other. Teaching plays a number of different roles in my creative work – it forces me to stay aware of the basic fundamentals of music, sound, interaction, technology, and design, and it ensures that I am always questioning my own practices and having my preconceptions and in-built biases challenged. My creative practice has of course influenced my teaching as well – my extensive experience of performing and improvising has given me the confidence to work with whatever challenges may arise in a classroom, and the wide array of work I have developed has given me real-world examples of projects and career strategies that I can show my students.
My teaching work has spanned a wide variety of age groups, from the very young (5-8 year olds) through to undergraduate and graduate students. The subject matter has mainly been focused on audio, digital music, game design, and creative technology, and has been delivered to primary and secondary (elementary/high) schools, universities, and various arts organisations and charities.
Most recently I have been teaching as part of my position as Game Designer in Residence at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland. This has involved teaching several classes of game design and a developing my own course entitled “Experimental Sound Games”. It has been hugely beneficial to me to experience a different teaching culture, as well as the studio-based art college structure, where the classes are 6 hours long and heavily focused on creation and critique. I have found that it is overall very well suited to my teaching style.
Previously, from 2017-2019 I was a part-time lecturer in audio and games at Abertay University in Dundee, Scotland. The game design department at Abertay has been ranked best in Europe for four years running. As a lecturer I designed courses and guided students through their individual and group projects, focusing on creative approaches to audio, sound art, and interface design, experimental gameplay and interactive physical systems.
My primary focus as a teacher is always to make sure that my students are actively creating and critiquing their own work, iterating and responding to feedback. There is simply no substitute for creating, completing, and analysing original work. As such my teaching often tends to lean towards encouraging students to produce a number of completed smaller projects, rather than large scale work. Upon completion of a project, I always give my students space and time to document their work, as I am cognisant of the fact that for students (and professionals) the documentation can be nearly as important as the work itself.
It is always crucial that students understand the historical and cultural contexts within which they are working. I strive to provide as broad of an array of sources and artists for students to learn from, with a priority given to the often overlooked or marginalised sources which more famous artists may have drawn from.
Fundamentally my teaching is always based on enthusiasm stemming from a deep sense of wonder and excitement about the subject matter. I always hope to share that wonder with my students, whilst encouraging them to always think critically, ask the right questions, and create thoughtful and challenging work.
Some examples of student work from my Game/Play class at MICA (introductory game design course):
Some images from the “Room to Play” courses I taught for Tinderbox Orchestra in Edinburgh