Rebecca Heaton on Art and Design Education

Investigating cognition in the creative arts.

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@Tate Modern

How did experiencing Phillippe Parreno’s Turbine Hall exhibit @Tate Modern develop artist teacher cognition? 

Third year artist teachers and I engaged with the Turbine Hall exhibit at the Tate Modern yesterday. We focused on how the work on show was accessible for vulnerable learners of art (Aged 5-11). We know that active art experiences, such as engaging with exhibitions first hand, enable learners, in this case university based artist teachers, to learn, solve problems and map cognitive meaning (Cuncliffe, 1999; Smilan et al 2006). But how did this exhibit specifically aid this learning to occur? The clip below provides an insight into Parrano’s ‘Anywhen’ exhibit the artist teachers and I experienced.

As you can see from the images below Parreno’s work uses the audience as part of the exhibit, the viewer, or in this case inter-actor, is experiencing the art but is also contributing to others experience of it. The artist teachers theorised a number of ways to engage young and vulnerable children with this concept. A couple of examples included 1) allowing children to experience the exhibit in different ways, such as with blind folds on, 2) drawing from different positions, recording sounds and 3) following different pathways through the work. The work is influenced by the concept of perception, the artist teachers made the connection that we all perceive in different ways, children would too.img_0018

One of the strengths of this exhibit is that due to the range of multimedia components used, evolving nature of the work and value of audience presence or lack of it, it naturally suggests accessibility to at least one sensory component. However, the university based artist teachers felt that the work may be far removed from what some children may perceive as art, this is of course dependent on their prior experiences and knowledge, so to make the piece accessible they identified a need to make links to the everyday world of specific children. The artist teachers trialled a number of strategies to achieve this, they included 1) Getting the children to draw their expectations of the piece before experiencing it so that relationships could be created between the two works  2) using a familiar object, such as a toy, household item etc. for the children to add into the exhibit as if they were the artist and 3) exploring the work with a focus on a particular sense, e.g. touch to feel the vibrations, and texture of the materials. By theorising these strategies the artist teachers were able to think about how to break down accessibility barriers for different groups of vulnerable learners such as those with Social, Emotional, Needs or Disabilities (SEND) or those with English as an additional Language (EAL), Traveller Children or children from different socio-economic groups or those with vulnerabilities such as feeling ill on the day of a visit or experiencing a bereavement. 

A personal reflection:

To document a more personal response to Parreno’s exhibit and gallery experience I shared with the university based artist teachers a poetic reflection I created:

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Each capitalised word represents a response to my experience, whilst the word string on each line intends to create visual imagery. I used the digital app Visual Poetry, to provide another metaphorical representation of my response and experience, suggesting that it is the connections involved in the experience, collaboration and reflection that have led to my creation of knowledge. By writing this blog post, generating poetry and creating the image below I have been able to identify how myself and learners are building their cognitive knowledge due to finding space to reflect. Through experience and reflection we built an understanding of self and other (Henry and Verica, 2015). We questioned contemporary culture through art experience, engaged with identities and generated knowledge in a collaborative capacity  to develop our cognition. 

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References:

Cuncliffe, L. (1999) Learning how to learn, art education and the ‘background’. Journal of Art and Design Education, 18.1, 115-121.

Smilan, C. Kakourou-Chroni, G. and Ricardo, R. (2006). Art Education at the intersection of creativity: Integrating art to develop multiple perspectives for identifying and solving social dilemmas in the 21st century. Worlds Arts Alliance. http://www.unesco.org/culture/en/artseducation/pdf/presentation104cathysmilan.pdf

Henry, S.E. and Verica, J. M. (2015) (Re)visioning the Self Through ArtEducational Studies, 51.2, 153-167.

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iPads and innovation

After attending two great iPad professional development courses hosted by Apple Education and the iPad Academy at Enysham Hall and Silverstone Study Centre it became apparent just how prolific the shift in teaching and learning pedagogy is when mobile technology is involved. The creative potential is phenomenal, teachers become facilitators and active learners alongside their students. Fantastic case studies by staff and pupils at Bure Park Primary School: Bicester and the Essa Academy demonstrated how mobile devices have changed teaching and learning in their schools for the better. Both schools identified the importance of enabling pupils to explore skills which may be used in the work place while also mentioning how mobile technologies allowed pupils to explore their world as it changed while keeping up to date with technological developments. Academic progress was not forgotten, by learning alongside each other and through focused personalised learning it was identified that the increased access to instant communicative forms may have had an impact on language development and significantly on creative/ problem solving techniques.

Interesting apps that were explored to aid the practice of teaching included:

Explain everything, book creator, puppet pals, showbie, socrative, pinnacle animation, comic life and green screen to name but a few.

The highlights for me being explain everythingphotospeak and animation hd. Explain everything could transform your classroom changing the way that you approach teaching- children can assess themselves, pre-record responses to questions, share work with others, break steps down and literally explain anything in really creative ways! Photospeak can bring characters to life, children can vocalise their ideas through alternative characters and this could be a really interesting/ motivating way to introduce a new topic, story or idea to children. Animation hd allows the pupils to become the directors of their own animations, the artistic potential here is also huge; children can bring their characters and stories to life!

Enjoy your explorations into the world of mobile technologies! Please add any innovate stories of mobile technologies and creative journeys to this post!

 

 

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