Associate Professor Charles Walker
Co-Director : CoLab
Charles Walker trained as an architect at Edinburgh College of Art and attained a post-professional MSc in Urban Development from the Faculty of Business at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. He has practised and taught architecture, design and creative technologies in the UK, Middle East and New Zealand. He has designed buildings, objects and virtual environments, curated and shown work in major public exhibitions, and published extensively in academic and professional journals. His main research interests explore the dynamic and complex relationships between artistic, technological, educational and professional ecologies of practice.
He joined AUT in 2007 to develop new approaches to trans-disciplinary education by drawing together design, computing, engineering, mathematics, philosophy, art and entrepreneurship. AUT’s new Bachelor of Creative Technologies and Master of Creative Technologies programmes reflect this cross-faculty perspective.
He is Co-Director of CoLab, an interdisciplinary partnership between AUT University and MIC Toi Rerehiko Media Arts Centre. CoLab works closely with the Interdisciplinary Unit to pro-actively engage with industry and other external stakeholders in developing innovative models for learning, research and practice across the creative arts, science and technology sectors.
BArch (Edinburgh College of Art)
Current Teaching Areas
Interdisciplinary design studio
Philosophy of Technology
Current Research Interests
Creative, interactive and collaborative educational environments
Having immigrated to New Zealand from the UK in 1973, James Charlton gained his BFA from Elam School of Fine Arts in 1982. As a Fulbright recipient he completed his MFA at the State University of New York at Albany in 1986. Remaining in the United States for a further four years, he exhibited extensively in solo and group exhibitions throughout the USA, and was represented by Akin Gallery in Boston and John Gibson Gallery in New York. During this time he lectured in sculpture at the University of New Hampshire, Monserrat College of Art and the State University of New York at Albany. Returning to New Zealand in 1991, Charlton became one of the founding members of the ASA School of Art Visual Arts Degree, and was subsequently appointed Curriculum Leader of Sculpture in the Visual Art Programme at Auckland University of Technology. In 2008 he took up the position of Programme Leader for the newly established Bachelor of Creative Technologies at AUT where he lectures in Sculpture and Interactive Media.
“In fifteen years of teaching sculpture I don’t think I ever once discussed creativity with students as its such a taboo word in the visual arts. It’s refreshing to be free from such disciplinary driven protocols and able to engage with trans-disciplinary ideas within collaborative practice. Quite frankly I have more to say to a computer scientist that an artist. Students entering the Creative Tech’s haven’t yet framed themselves by disciplinarity and so naturally approach learning without prejudice. This leads to an exciting studio environment where students and lectures work along side each other on projects. In such an environment students ideas have as much weight as lectures and they quickly start seeing themselves as researchers rather than students.
The question always remains open – What clothes does a Creative Technology Student put on in the morning?”
Within his own practice Charlton is clearly located in the context of sculptural practice however he engages a range of physical, digital and performative approaches in an exploration into the nature of the artefact as a field of activity in which the viewer is implicated. Strategically constructing credibility within the work Charlton consistently subverts the expectations he establishes as a means of questioning the role of artwork and the assumptions of the audience.
His current research as part of a collaborative interdisciplinary team focuses on the construction of a real-time large-scale rapid prototyping machine to be used in conjunction with motion capture technologies. This research is supported by ongoing investigation into creative producing with 3D printing as evidenced by his inclusion in the touring international exhibition, Inside Out (http://www.insideoutexhibition.com*). Solo exhibitions include “TradeAir” (2009), “dForm” (2008),“Constructing Purgatory (2006), “Saunders” (2001), “Why So Quite Child”(2000), Whiteware Ecstasy (1995) and Snow Ball Fantasy (1996). His work has also been featured in curated group exhibitions throughout New Zealand including the Vodafone Digital Art Awards (2005), Interior Horizons (Te Tuhi, 2001) Art Now (MONZ, 1994), Sharp and Shiny (Govett Brewster, 1997).