Tokyo University of the Arts has postponed the start dates of university classes and has taken temporary measures such as requiring faculty and staff to work from home. These steps have been taken in order to respond to the global challenge of controlling the spread of Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19), and in consideration of both the emergency declaration made by the government, and requests by local governments to suspend all business activities.
The human community has been placed in a situation where we are prevented from gathering together, listening to live music, or appreciating art and video works up close. We are also unable to share the thrill of these art encounters with others. I, myself, cannot meet students directly for classes, and have had to postpone special concerts commemorating many years of activities. For me personally, this is awfully cruel, and it pains me with the passing of each day.
However, even in these adverse circumstances, Tokyo University of the Arts’ work cannot be brought to a halt.
Tokyo University of the Arts’ mission is to cultivate artists and researchers in the arts and to train educators with a high degree of specialization and an abundance of humanity. In order to fulfill this mission amidst the severity of the current spread of Novel Coronavirus, we will protect the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff by moving to emergency remote teaching for the first time since the university was founded.
It is extremely disappointing that we have to carry out remote teaching since the core foundation of our teaching practice at Tokyo University of the Arts is to teach students art “techniques” and to provide practice-based learning. Admittedly, it has not been easy for us to produce the same educational experience as we normally would. Remote teaching has also led to some impatience and confusion, since many of us, as teachers and artists, are focused on “communicating through live performances”, “creating through the body”, and so on.
In order to deal with this situation however, the global community has devised various strategies including remote teaching: and it would not be an overstatement to say that this approach has recently become a world standard. This considered, we believe that it is also necessary to create a new idea of what art should be at Tokyo University of Arts.
Since this is our first attempt at remote teaching, this move may initially not proceed as planned. Yet, in a process of trial and error; we have so far discovered that through remote teaching, faculty can see each student’s face more clearly and can have deeper interactions with students. Remote teaching also appears to have enabled the emergence of ideas such as an online exhibition which, would not have been considered possible in normal circumstances. We are now considering how we might create a system that enables students to participate in remote learning with greater ease.
All our university’s faculty and staff will come together and do their utmost to provide forms of remote learning that are unique to Tokyo University of Arts. As we proceed on this journey, we thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
Finally, we sincerely wish you and your families good health. We also hope to meet you all again soon at the university, in theaters, and at museums; and that together, we can share in the delight of experiencing art “live” once again.
April 23 2020
Tokyo University of the Arts