Over the past 25 years, Dahn Hiuni has taught the following courses at School of Visual Arts, Pratt Institute, Hofstra University, Fashion Institue of Technology, SUNY Old Westbuy, SUNY Empire State College, Woodbury University, Hudson County Community College, Shepherd University, Kutztown University, Penn State University, Bucknell University, National Theatre School of Canada, University of Toronto, Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum and New York Public Library:
Foundations Design Graphic Design
Introductory Survey Courses
History of Modern Art
History of Graphic Design
Aesthetics and Art Criticism
Introduction to Playwriting
Art and Human Development
Methods for Studio Pedagogy
Technology and Art Education
Master's Thesis Advisor
Over the past twenty five years, I have taught both studio and academic art courses at many colleges in the United States. I have closely guided hundreds of students of various levels, ages, and cultures. Having had the opportunity to learn both from outstanding colleagues as well as students, I am confident today in my ability to distinguish effective pedagogy in the field.
At the heart of my philosophy lies the integration of technical facility with a critical context. It is these which have enabled me to engage effectively in cultural work, and it is their correlative necessity which I attempt to communicate to students. All my pedagogical premises—governing curriculum design, instruction and evaluation—are predicated upon this firm commitment to unite formal acuity with strong conceptual and critical skills.
As personally attested through my own art education, I support the merits of a strong technical foundation. Bauhausian traditions of systemic formal exploration and experimentation with material potentialities represent invaluable groundwork for the student. However, rather than subscribing to these as comprising an aesthetic philosophy, I view them as a means of honing mechanical and perceptual dexterity for the enrichment of one’s technical and visual vocabulary. Once the formal tradition is situated in historical context, it is my wish to introduce students to the currency of art as a social language, a form of critique in the social realm. From the standpoint of an educator, it is not my desire to position one tradition against the other, but rather to demonstrate their ability to co-exist in a mutually beneficial fashion. Diffusing ideological polarities enables students to gain strengths from both traditions and encourages work that is at once visually sophisticated, stylistically unpredictable, and a challenge to cultural norms.
My experiences as a teacher of art history, art theory and criticism, art appreciation and art education—both in the classroom and in the museum—have informed this balance. I encourage students to reap the advantages of fluent visual literacy by fortifying themselves with an excellent command of these subject areas. Once art making is demonstrated as a form of engaging in the culture, students realize that possessing an historical and critical context is vital for situating one’s self meaningfully in a cultural continuum. To that end, my students have been made aware of the broader cultural mandates with which they enter the studio. As an individual of diverse cultural background who addresses issues of identity in his own work, it is my goal to engage a wide variety of students in art production that responds meaningfully to their respective cultural identities and contexts.
My goals as a visual artist have led me to assign a similar objective to teaching. Both activities may be viewed as Socratic forms of communication, wherein the quality of the contribution is dependent upon the direction and the rigor of the inquiry. Therefore, I define a good teacher by the same measure with which Robert Storr defines a good artist, one who “asks a series of leading questions looking not so much for answers as for responses that complicate their initial statements.” To that end, I recognize my own teaching philosophy not as a rigid decree but rather as a set of beliefs that similarly evolve; assumptions not resistant to the same kind of reflexivity I ask of my students.