International Journal of Art & Design Education

Practice into Pedagogy into Practice: Collaborative Postcards from Hong Kong

Volume 36.1   2017



A collaborative postcard project completed by 22 students as part of a drawing course conducted at a university in Hong Kong is introduced. The project entailed inviting students into an art practice in which the author was herself engaged as a practitioner as well as a researcher. After introducing the educational context in which the project took place, the author provides an account – informed by ‘participant-observer’ feedback from students – of how the project unfolded and was experienced. In the second section of the article the creative and pedagogic efficacy of the project is considered with reference to the experience-centred and dialogic principles expressed in the educational philosophies of John Dewey, Simone Weil, Hannah Arendt and Paulo Freire. The third section draws on insights from scholars working in a range of disciplines – cultural history, anthropology, sociology and psychology – to argue that a particular set of organisational and collaborative dynamics catalysed students’ levels of engagement, creativity and motivation. The article argues that the collaborative postcard project is an example of an experience-centred and practice-based pedagogy that is founded on dialogue, mutual generosity and experimental play, and engenders in students the ‘quality of mental process’ that is, for John Dewey, ‘the measure of educative growth’.