International Journal of Art & Design Education

More than a Body's Work: Widening Cultural Participation through an International Exploration of Young People's Construction of Visual Image and Identity

Volume 27.3   2008



The article presents the rationale, methodology, and selected outcomes from More than a body's work, a collaborative, international, arts educational interactive research project. The project, taking place in both New York and England, explored the ways in which young people construct and 'perform' identity through the construction of their body and its appearance. The project's central intention was both to investigate diversity in young people's personal and cultural experience, and demonstrate their potential for creative engagement in mediating and expressing identity through a visual form. With its inclusive ethos, More than a Body's work facilitated opportunities for young people who may not ordinarily have access to the arts to be partners in collaborative arts production, generating models of wider participation through innovative participatory approaches to visual art and interdisciplinary practice.

The ongoing project is developmental, continuing to involve young people as participants, responding to the synthesis of local, national and international influences creatively deployed within youth culture. In considering More than a Body's work's significance as a model for inclusive practice within art education, the article will discuss its strategies and its potential impact in relation to current initiatives and policies within the arts, culture and education.