International Journal of Art & Design Education

The Practice of Collaboration as Ethical Activity in Art/s Education? (pages 296–308)

Volume 34.3   2015



Popular wisdom has it that collaboration is ‘the new black’ in the arts and arts education. Collaboration is viewed as the basis for the making of new and novel artefacts in contemporary cultures, while also being repeatedly used as a catchword in the development of curriculum. Yet, collaboration as praxis entails complex and contradictory practices. Collaboration as Brown explains, in its various forms, falls under the category of ethics. It involves people being motivated by various reasons to join in cooperative action with a view to the achievement of a common goal/s. A model of three types of collaboration is proposed based on Brown's explanation. Then concepts of the habitus and symbolic capital are briefly sketched from Bourdieu's theory of practice as a means to further understand what is at stake in collaboration. Three cases of recent collaborations are discussed. Each type involves different grounds for a commitment to action. The first, dialectical collaboration, involves a political identity. The case of the Australian government and ACARA, its curriculum authority, is characterised in an Australian curriculum, intent on critically redefining the Arts. The second, autonomous collaboration, involves an investigative identity and is characterised by Cultivating Urban Ecologies, a Sydney based Visual Arts curriculum collaboration. The third, consultative collaboration, involves a creative identity and is characterised by the case of an expert teacher and final year school students, who make their artworks under the pressure of high stakes assessment.