2010 - Volume 29: Number 2
Seeing History: Malaika Favorite's Furious Flower Poetry Quilt Painting and Pan-African Memory
MAUREEN G. SHANAHAN
Malaika Favorite's Furious Flower Poetry Quilt (2004) is an acrylic painting that depicts 24 portraits of leading poets of the African Diaspora. Commissioned by Dr Joanne Gabbin, English professor and director of the Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University, the painting is part of a larger programme of poetry education. The painting's interweaving of the portraits with fragments from the poets’ writing functions to create an interactive visual-textual body of poets and poetry, a collection which has been taught at all levels of education from primary school to university. Its quilt structure pays homage to the historic role of women in preserving history and memory. The painting also serves to construct a pan-African identity and collective memory about slavery, African American history and empowerment.
Making Art, Teaching Art, Learning Art: Exploring the Concept of the Artist Teacher
The article explores the concept of the artist teacher, drawing upon an overview of relevant literature and two related pieces of research: the first investigated practices within the Artist Teacher Scheme (ATS); the second sought to understand the perceptions of practice-based coursework in an MA Art Education programme at Roehampton University in London. Commonalities and differences between the perceptions and understandings of artist teachers (including masters' students), their tutors and gallery educators were explored. The data for each piece of research were collected through unstructured, open-ended interviews. A significant reflexive and autobiographical dimension for the research was motivated by my own identity as an artist teacher, and by the exploration of reflective practice as a potential framework for realising and sustaining an artist teacher identity and practice.
The research concluded that connections between art practice and teaching are complex, diverse, difficult to articulate, challenging to implement and do not easily lend themselves to simple impact measurement. The ATS operates in a context that includes languages, cultures and identities from frameworks in education and art that can be both complementary and oppositional. Artist teachers need to develop skills of negotiation through which they can articulate and continuously reappraise their art practice and, at an appropriate stage, use that practice to inform their teaching.
Strategic Teaching: Student Learning through Working the Process
The designers of our future built environment must possess intellectual tools which will allow them to be disciplined, flexible and analytical thinkers, able to address and resolve new and complex problems. In response, an experimental and collaborative design studio was designed to inspire and build on students' knowledge and their creative thinking abilities through a series of explorative exercises and modelling. The learning experience of students undertaking this studio was enabled and guided by a collaboration of teachers experienced in both teaching and creative practice. A series of guest creative practitioners joined the studio's intensive 10-week hands-on workshop sessions within which students undertook set exercises. These creative research workshops then served to inform subsequent design development of the students' work through planning and documentation over a period of 4 weeks.
Strategic teaching is central to the creative development process. The driving educational belief, as idea and practice, is that by bringing ideas to life in design, by working with full-scale three-dimensionality, students are able to cement their commitment to ‘working the process’, towards becoming excellent designers. This ambitious strategy enables students to work on the many different aspects of the design problem towards meeting their design outcome at the highest level of resolution and intent. Through a combination of pragmatic tasks – writing and developing design briefs – and visual tasks – evidence gathering and analysis of design through photographic, modelling and diagramming exercises – students were encouraged to think outside and beyond the ‘normal’ realm of design practice.
Cultural Capital: A Thesaurus for Teaching Design
MEGAN STRICKFADEN and ANN HEYLIGHEN
This article seeks to unravel what is hypothesised as being at the root of design education: the cultural capital of design educators. The premise is that capital is developed within the design learning environment: that is, designers-to-be and educators-to-be are encultured into design while studying, the same way that parents enculture children into families, or families and friends enculture young people into society. This article begins by introducing the concept of cultural capital, a body of knowledge that acts as an asset in particular situations; our study focuses on knowledge that is useful to being a designer and design educator. We continue by exploring what kinds of capital designers have and what role this capital plays in the educational setting. Four key themes are identified across the cultural capital of 19 design educators from different geographical locations in the Western world. These themes result from analysing educators' intimate narratives, which reveal some of the values, beliefs and actions inherent to design. Furthermore, the themes illustrate a sampling of the design educators’ thesaurus: that is, what design educators draw upon for teaching and designing.
What is the Relationship between Social Tact in Teacher–Pupil Exchanges and Creativity? Reconceptualising Functional Causes of Creativity in Artmaking
Art teachers are renowned for their claims that the creative properties of their senior secondary pupils' artworks occur as a result of the realisation of a creative process. Drawing on my recent ethnographic studies in senior art classrooms in Sydney, Australia, and Illinois, USA, I uncover a sociological, rather than a psychological explanation of creativity, which ironically, appears to satisfy the creative process claims of teachers. This article reveals how social tact in teacher–pupil exchanges has a function in bolstering the quality of the pupils' performances and their artworks while repressing the teacher's pedagogical role. The design and methodologies of the studies are outlined and two grounded narratives characterise cases of social tact between art teachers and pupils. A brief account is provided on the socio-cultural framework of these studies, informed by Bourdieu's theories of the habitus, symbolic capital and misrecognition. Bourdieu's theories offer a robust conceptual apparatus which helps to explain how the sociality of classroom exchanges, with all of their ambiguities in practice, are a necessity in the realisation of creative ends.
Enhancing Children's Artistic and Creative Thinking and Drawing Performance through Appreciating Picture Books
The purpose of this study was to investigate methods of enhancing kindergarteners' artistic creative thinking and expressive drawing through an activity that involved appreciation of picture books. The study was conducted in a public kindergarten in southern Taiwan, with 27 children aged between 4 and 5. The researcher conducted the study in 16 weeks; data were collected via digital recordings of participants' appreciation and art-making activities, artwork assessment checklists and questionnaires. Both qualitative and quantitative research methods were used to process and analyse data. On the expression of and changes in children's artistic and creative thinking ability, findings suggest that ability is expressed through discussions that involve art vocabulary, including descriptive, analytical, interpretative and judgemental words. On-site practice indicated significant use of descriptive and analytical art vocabularies. The results also showed that the collage series of picture books had more impact on children than did other picture books in terms of teaching efficacy by picture book appreciation. With regard to differences in children's reading and drawing behaviours between the beginning and the end of the study, findings indicate a significant and positive change in children's reading and drawing behaviours at home. The study also indicated that children's drawing behaviours could be cultivated by a series of art instruction activities. These findings should impact kindergarten educators’ instructional methods in visual art education in Taiwan, and may influence Taiwanese curriculum reform in early childhood art education.
Listening for Creative Voices amid the Cacophony of Fiscal Complaint about Art and Design Education
ANGELA CLARKE and KYLIE BUDGE
The current tertiary education climate in Australia and other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries is one where class numbers are increasing and contact hours between students and teachers are reducing to keep them financially viable. In this context increasing pressure is being placed on teachers to essentially ‘do more with less’ and to perform well, despite the changing conditions. Students, too, are challenged to learn in an environment where they have less time with their teachers. What seems surprising is that all of this is occurring whilst the rhetoric of tertiary institutions is being more closely aligned with contemporary constructivist theories of learning with a focus on producing creative graduates.
This pressure is now being keenly felt in creative disciplines where studio models of teaching, which require small classes and substantial contact hours, are seriously under threat. If tertiary institutions genuinely want to produce creative graduates there needs to be more widespread understanding of how creative processes are nurtured and creative minds are fostered. Many experienced teachers in creative disciplines have developed such understanding. Their voices need to be encouraged and supported so that the artistry of their creative pedagogies may be articulated and heard above the cacophony of fiscal complaint.
We do not naively suggest that financial issues should be disregarded. We do, however, call for a middle way where sophisticated conversations, about both the quality and viability of creative educational practice, amongst all stakeholders can allow for an authentically creative future to emerge.
Jiselle and the Royal Jelly: Power, Conflict and Culture in an Interdisciplinary Game Design Course
MICHELE D. DICKEY
With the rising popularity of digital games, a growing number of universities are developing programmes in various areas of digital design and interactive media to meet the needs for game-related courses. Faculty of this emerging field are grappling with the complexity of developing curricula which integrate art, design and technology and of finding methods of integrating students from these diverse fields. The purpose of this article is to present a case study of an interdisciplinary undergraduate course in game design and to highlight some of the unforeseen challenges and issues that arose when attempting to integrate diverse students from various art, design and media fields with students from computer science. Specifically, this article addresses issues of (a) power, (b) conflict and (c) gender that arose among students during the development of a student-created game.
A New Paradigm for Design Studio Education
There is a feeling among many design educators today that the discipline has reached a crisis in its development, and that change is needed immediately in the way that design educators articulate their epistemology and their methodology. The architectural studio can be seen as the model for design education, and its culture is exemplary. Donald Schön has often argued that the professional education of architectural students – and other design students – should be aimed at making them into ‘reflective practitioners’. At the core of his argument is the idea that design education must sacrifice intellectual rigour in order to achieve social relevance, yet critics have argued that this trade-off has caused design education to be marginalised in relation to the university model of education. Design is focused on subjective creativity, but the positivist university paradigm is focused on objective rationality. In order for design education to become more rigorous – and more academically respectable – it must either become more rational or it must embrace a new paradigm that values creative experience. This article argues that the emerging paradigm of complexity offers design education the rigour it has been lacking, for this paradigm constructs studio projects not as problems with rational solutions but as systems that need to be explored in order to discover their relational meanings and values – precisely what creativity, balanced with rationality, can accomplish in both Western nations and rapidly developing East Asian nations such as China.
Explorations in Teaching Sustainable Design: A Studio Experience in Interior Design/Architecture
MELTEM Ö. GÜREL
This article argues that a design studio can be a dynamic medium to explore the creative potential of the complexity of sustainability from its technological to social ends. The study seeks to determine the impact of an interior design/architecture studio experience that was initiated to teach diverse meanings of sustainability and to engage the participants with refined design applications that used sustainable choices. A teaching scheme that utilised
a team of instructors with varying degrees of knowledge and competence in different aspects of the topic, mediated the education of both the students and the instructors themselves.
The results were documented through observing the students and, later, a survey of the graduates. The study revealed that this studio experience developed a heightened awareness of sustainability as a multidimensional concept that requires critical thought processes, and greatly influenced the recognition of environmentally responsible design as an imperative in education. The findings also suggested that, ideally, sustainability should be addressed earlier, at lower levels, and needs to be woven into every aspect of a curriculum.
The Limits of Professional Architectural Education
Professional architectural education is overwhelmingly predicated on skills development. Consequently, the humanities are given short shrift. Students overburdened with an abundance of practical tasks cannot be expected to do much beyond completing studio project work with any degree of depth. Such splitting has a negative outcome: at the end of their education, many graduates still have difficulty constructing a convincing argument about their own work. And when professional qualification is achieved, many architects are arguably missing the humanities half of their education. Such a narrowly focused training surely contributes to the general low quality of the built environment that we inhabit.
The apparent causes and effects of the current situation are analysed here, especially the degree to which the rise of an academic culture in architecture has paradoxically exacerbated a split between the humanities and design. By widening the divide between speculative, theoretical and historical research and the professional education delivery systems that architectural researchers teach into, the ascendancy of (humanities-based) research in architecture schools has intensified the separation of theory and history from design. Ultimately, only if the production model that so often organises architecture education is rethought, will it be possible to recuperate a strong humanities stream in design education.