Chris Colatos

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MSc, BASc, ACT, FHEA

CREATIVE   •   EDUCATION   •   RESEARCH

Artist Statement

My work emerges from explorations to discover something new. Interactive, multisensory works are layered in sound and gesture, embracing mediums and methods of archetypal and experimental modalities, in both technical and non-technical settings. Conceptual to architectonic frameworks are employed to invoke interaction, improvisation, reflection, and transformation within an acoustic ecology. Compositions are designed as contemplations of perception, imagination and ephemerality – intended to evoke presence and personal meaning, and shift with each participant’s interpretation.

Teaching Philosophy

My teaching philosophy has developed through years of teaching experience, and continues to evolve. I employ a wide variety of interactive strategies and teaching methodologies rooted in essential educational and knowledge-acquisition principles encompassing cognitive functioning, learning theory, diversity, instructional planning and assessment. As a dedicated arts educator and educational leader, I contend that an effective educator must refine the craft of teaching with as much resolve and persistence as the craft being taught. Teaching is an art that requires a vast and diverse skill set. Not only does it require a mastery of the subject being taught, but also an ability to inspire, identify and provide relevant context, deconstruct large frameworks, articulate complex ideas in unassuming ways, illustrate connections between insulated and modular concepts, possess a keen sensitivity to students’ progress, consistently model industry practices, devise and nimbly adapt dissemination strategies to guide learners, create opportunities for students to discover for themselves, and facilitate experiences that foster curiosity.

I work to foster intellectual diversity, inclusivity, an ability to think analytically, engagement in self-critique, critical listening, an ability to identify and articulate criteria and personal value, and synthesize concepts and processes into new ideas and combinations of ideas. How a learner achieves these is likely unique to every individual. Often, learners select, interpret, and transform new information and experiences within a personal context. A simultaneous awareness of the individual, as well as the collective group, is an elemental responsibility, and I have found that a genuine connection with each student is one of the most informative and supportive resources. This allows a teacher to identify a student’s door into the discourse, and incorporate a learner’s own interests and processes to facilitate connection with the material, spark inspiration and reveal alternative perspectives for fellow students. Each person brings intrinsic value to the learning space; identifying what that is, and utilizing those knowledges can benefit the group.

Student engagement has proven to be a vital element in facilitating active discovery in the classroom. I endeavor to be a compassionate and encouraging advisor and mentor to my students, and I work to create a space where every student is empowered to contribute to the process of constructing knowledge, co-own, share and shape the responsibility and purpose of the learning environment. I encourage students to constructively challenge what they know and are taught, and identify, experiment with, modify or abandon their existing philosophies to pursue meaning and value for themselves. Often, their contribution leads to new trajectories along relevant paths that we may not have traversed as effectively or dynamically without their involvement. The declared learning outcomes of the course must be met, and a skillful instructor can facilitate the benchmarks within a collaborative and shared space while strengthening abilities for autonomous and divergent cogitation.

Fostering play, humor and fun in the discovery process is as important to flow as is structure and trust. Trust can be cultivated by demonstrating that there is a clear plan for students, that there is at least one path for them to be successful amid course criteria, those paths are made evident, and that their teacher is someone that provides support, insight and guidance on that path. Clarity in course structure is vital. A student’s time is better spent without the need to decipher expectations, jump through hoops, or seek obscure resources. Of course, there is value in an ability to unearth resources when engaged in study and research, however, providing resources in accessible and manageable packages can provide measured guidance and elucidate criteria for success. This structural simplicity allows students to apply their time to contemplation, practice and development, engaged in the intended material.

Important resources include plainly defined and apposite assessments, and timely feedback. I continually refine formative and summative assessments to more accurately measure students’ cognitive and affective proficiency with course objectives, utilizing an integrative process, one of evaluation facilitated by reflection and practical integration of what has been learned, and the efficacy of its application in the next iteration of a task, course or program. Assessments are intended to be useful, provide meaningful information for the learner and the teacher, be fair, ethical, systematic, challenging, realistic, promote learning, and guide the teaching practice. I consider consistency in feedback practices integral to assessment and to reciprocal teaching and learning. This includes dialog between faculty and students, self-assessment, and peer-assessment to develop assessment literacy, and support students' growth as autonomous learners, with reflective and evaluative skills, and frameworks for working and improving collaboratively. Consistently structured principles of feedback can increase coherency, and help students utilize feedback to enable deeper understanding of task compliance, quality, criteria, core practice knowledge, relevant tacit knowledge, and alignment with professional values.

My enthusiasm for teaching and learning continues to grow, and my hope is that my work advantageously impacts learners, and ultimately connects them with their passion and with lifelong learning. It is an honor, and one that I undertake with seriousness and gratitude, that I am able to directly guide and support the future of artists and their art.

Bio

Accomplished interdisciplinary artist, entrepreneur, educational leader and educator with extensive executive and creative direction experience. Expertise in studio practice, traditional and experimental composition, production, performance, engineering, sound design, AR/VR, installation, interactivity and intermedia art. Dedicated practitioner and educator with an unrelenting commitment to student success, efficient and effective project actualization, collaboration, and fostering high morale. Sensitivity and active attention to diversity and inclusivity.

Passionate advocate for exploratory approaches to visual and sound art, and developing innovative technologies to enable new forms of creativity and expression. Currently, the Chief Creative at THE STUDI/O, and the Learning Design team lead at SAE Institute North America. Apple Certified Master Trainer, and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (Advance HE) – the UK Professional Standards Framework for teaching in higher education. Written on numerous creative, technological and educational subjects, and is currently writing ‘The Book of Phonography’, and composing a contemporary musical work for dancers.

For years, worked closely with one of Billboard Magazine’s “Top Ten Producers of All Time” – 57 #1 Hits, multi-GRAMMY, Emmy & multi-Platinum Producer & Artist Narada Michael Walden at Tarpan Studios. As Producer, Engineer, Songwriter, Arranger and Performer – worked with artists and companies including Apple, Google, Legends The Game, Robot Invader, Eagre Games, LeapFrog, Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS), PETA, Twisted Tools, Siedah Garrett, Greg Phillinganes, (dub legend) Scientist, PSY, GQ, Vogue, Salvatore Ferragamo, Smokey Robinson, James Taylor, Carole King, Billy Joel, Sting, Elton John, and Katy Perry.  

“A man for all seasons...from Ahmad Jamal to the hippest in contemporary music, Chris knows how it's done...a whiz with the computer and the drums. Chris has the genius touch.”
– Narada Michael Walden