2011 - Volume 30: Number 3
An Image of Possibility: Illustrating a Pedagogic Encounter with Culture
MICHAEL, MAUREEN K.
An Image of Possibility is an interplay between image‐making and interpretation. It explores author‐created illustration as an art‐based tool for educational inquiry and is designed further to inform the creative research practice of the author. The illustration ‘Meeting People’ is created by the author to render an event of learning and culture pictorially evident. In a description of the process and content of the image it becomes clear that the creation of the image rehearses known ideas and literally re‐presents them. However, what is more interesting is that in a critical rereading of the image unintended ideas are revealed to the author. Illustration, the act of drawing and its manipulation, reveals meaning as an active component in research discovery through creative practice. The illustration encapsulates characteristics of Bourriaud's relational aesthetics and Atkinson's notion of the learning event. The ‘truth’ of the learning event is revealed not in the relationship between the students and culture, as at first assumed, but in the relationship between the author/artist and the illustration. From the perspective of the author/artist, the article explores the question: ‘To what extent can illustration illuminate pedagogic encounters with culture?’ An Image of Possibility presents a metonymical representation of an educational encounter and offers illustration as a tool for educational inquiry.
‘The falcon cannot hear the falconer …’. The Pedagogical Turn and the Negative Space of Irish Art Education
Current education policy discourse in Ireland, as elsewhere, is replete with reference to innovation, creativity and enterprise. Meanwhile, the ‘pedagogical turn’ is a dominant motif in current discourse in art practice, curating and critique, in Ireland and internationally. This article firstly considers some of the implications of the ‘turn’ as a concept in art and education. In that context, it goes on to address changing patterns of curriculum design, development and reform in Ireland. Next, it describes the evolution of Irish education policy over the past decade in the context of global experiences. The particular experience of art education in Ireland is then considered in the light of the curriculum culture and the wider policy discourses already identified. Finally, some implications of the Irish experience are addressed, in terms of art practice at the edges of art education, and art education at the edges of education practice.
Moments of Intensity: Affect and the Making and Teaching of Art
Affect often arises unexpectedly within the process of making art (along with other creative activities). In this article I argue for affect as a necessary and constructive dynamic within educational processes specifically for art and design. After a consideration of its recent neglect within art education, I revisit the notion of affect with reference to a number of thinkers who provide different perspectives, but particularly through the lens of the US psychologist Silvan Tomkins. Through him and others I seek to understand how affect can be recognised and cultivated in pedagogic situations. I do so by reflecting on the making and teaching experiences of students following an MA in Art and Design in Education and a practice‐based PhD, as witnessed by me (supervisor/co‐tutor), as recounted by students and as discussed in post‐event conversation/semi‐structured interviews.
‘But when are they going to produce some artwork?’ Against Pastiche: Issue‐Based Art and Authorship within the Key Stage 3 Curriculum
Ideas and issues based contemporary art is often seen as something to be avoided in schools, as the controversial subjects that it broaches are often perceived as problematic and inappropriate. However, by censoring education, it can be seen that educators are missing vital opportunities to confront the relevant personal, social, political and cultural issues that shape young peoples' lives in our postmodern, contemporary society. This article reflects on the experiences of an artist/teacher gained through the Recreating Landscapes (Illuminate Project), which aimed to utilise LeWitt's concept of the ideas ‘machine’ to broaden the way that Key Stage 3 art is taught and explore student voice. The construct of the teacher as giver of knowledge was challenged, informed by Barthes' work on the deconstruction of the modernist concept of Authorship. Issues were derived from a pupil voice workshop and the ownership of response to this stimulus belonged to the students. The aim was to challenge mimetic, technical achievement often favoured in ‘traditional’ school art pedagogy, allowing ideas and discussion to be the lynchpin, shifting away from the emphasis commonly placed on outcomes. Through this practice it was hoped that the ‘landscape’ of the learning environment would be recreated: a discursive setting where issues perceived as ‘challenging’ could be broached in a supportive environment, enabled by a reconsidered, culturally relevant pedagogy.
The Artist‐Teacher in the Classroom and Changes in the Teacher–Student Relationship, with Reference to the Issue of Censorship
This article examines a case study of an A‐Level student's work and how the inclusion and integration of my own practice as artist‐teacher into the classroom has changed the teacher‐student relationship, resulting in a more collaborative environment. It investigates how the mutual sharing of practice supports opportunities for pupils to discuss and investigate socially provocative issues and raises the issues of censorship. Through the case study the following questions will be addressed: how a collaborative classroom environment impacts on process and outcomes; the effect of discussing social/ political/ cultural issues within the art and design classroom; and the issues of censorship and ownership within the environment of a comprehensive secondary school context.
From the Saltmarsh and the Deershelter
When we think about approaches to teaching and learning in art and design education the diverse and complex role of the teacher soon becomes apparent. Teachers often find themselves working through situations which require them to shift between subject‐ and learner‐centred approaches, where they negotiate authority and freedom in their teaching relationships. On closer inspection the tensions found in these negotiations reveal contradictions for teachers, where they try to do one thing but cannot avoid doing another. The article explores these perplexing and contradictory experiences as possible encounters where we can speculate about ourselves as teachers and discover powerful opportunities for learning. It aims to do this through the critical lens of Tubbs's (2005) ‘Philosophy of the teacher’. Tubbs's analysis provides an opportunity to closely examine the tensions in teaching approaches, and proposes the possibility of their contradiction as educational. In addition, the article explores Henri Lefebvre's ‘moments of presence’, suggesting that encounters in our lives, which appear to exist at the intersection of one thing and another, where we find ourselves experiencing a contradiction, offer exciting possibilities for teaching and learning. The article builds its ideas around landscape encounters, from the saltmarsh and the deer‐shelter. It uses these encounters with landscapes to locate experiences of contradiction, and to work out how a teacher could respond.
Investigating the Impact of Contrasting Paradigms of Knowledge on the Emancipatory Aims of Gallery Programmes for Young People
Within an emerging philosophy of contemporary gallery education, new pedagogies are required to meet the demands of looking at art, with increasingly varied constituent groups. Strategies that aim to empower young learners come from an ideological framework in which knowledge is negotiated and local significances are produced conversationally by learners and facilitators. Tension exists between the ideological position and the role of the gallery as ‘expert’: this conflict creates ambivalence towards the learner. The discourse of the ‘expert’ and the discourse of ‘local negotiation’ employ different pedagogic strategies, creating tension in the ways in which knowledge is reproduced for the visitor and participant. This article explores interrogatory pilot work with young people at Tate Modern. I use a hermeneutical approach to explore the interpretive roles of facilitator and participant when language‐based strategies are used to look at art. This research aims to construct a pedagogy that enables young people to learn about art in ways that take account of their situation as learners.
Making Creative Spaces: The Art and Design Classroom as a Site of Performativity
Rather than taking a transformational role in schools, new art and design teachers quickly become subject to ‘school art’ orthodoxy. Theories of subjectivity and the development of professional identity within communities of practice can feel far removed from the classroom. This article seeks to make clearer the processes by which teacher identity and practice becomes normalised and proposes ways that such processes may be resisted. With reference to Foucault, Lyotard, Bruner, Wenger and Bey, the classroom as a site of performativity is contrasted with alternative heterotopia‐like sites away from the spectre of observation, where different identities and behaviours can be explored. These temporary sites of difference are an antidote to the orthodoxy of the ‘school art’ condition and open up the possibility for teachers, both new and experienced, to implement a more hospitable, participatory pedagogy.