International Journal of Art & Design Education

Get It Off Your Chest: Contexts in Creative Community Working

Volume 22.1   2003



Three years ago I started work on the exhibition Get it off your chest, a multimedia project exploring the personal and social role of the breast within British culture. The project would involve over one hundred people as contributors, engaging with ongoing debates within academic, media and informal contexts as to what constitutes and impacts upon constructions of the female image within our society, particularly in relation to the breast as a primary signifier. The working practices evolved in creating Get it off your chest were instrumental in generating a synergy in my own creative activities, enabling some measure of unification to occur within the strands of my art-making and art educational roles. This synergistic approach, which I term 'creative community working' will be discussed in this paper alongside the epistemological focus of the exhibition, its inception and its consequent structure, presentation and wider educational role. I will focus throughout on exploring the development of creative community working contexts: the impulse to integrate what sometimes seem like rogue elements of the professional and creative identity is one shared by many members of the art educational community and I hope that this paper will generate feedback and discussion on the diverse ways in which colleagues generate synergy in their own working lives.