Program of the Seminar

 

InSEA  Africa

By  InSEA President Teresa Torres de Eça  and InSEA Vice Presidents Steve Willis and Samia ElSheik 

 

 

Postcards from home: Inquiring through Art

Rita Irwin , The University of British Columbia, Canada

While embracing our artistic practices, art educators may work with students and colleagues to understand their own personal and cultural identities. Using the frame of a postcard, and the work of a Canadian artist, this session will share some ideas for identity exploration and creation among students and teachers, while also juxtaposing the use of a postcard frame for critical engagement. It is through this creative and critical approach that inquiring through art emerges and assists all those involved with evocative ideas worthy of further exploration. As this inquiry unfolds, the pedagogy/methodology called a/r/tography will be discussed. Emphasizing the practices of art making and teaching/learning, this pedagogy/methodology allows those involved to shift their perspectives toward an emergent potential for learning rather than focusing on a transmission model of learning. This is the power of art and education together to help all learners inquire into ideas and topics of deep interest to them. Moreover, there may be an opportunity to share postcards between Canada and Namibia!

 

Safeguarding our diverse cultural heritage

Jorge Gumbe, ISART, Luanda, Angola

This paper is based on the research carried out under a PhD programme, which sought to develop and test out new curricular content, teaching strategies and resources for the primary school art curriculum which would reflect the cultural make-up of Angolan society and internationalist goals. It scrutinised the theoretical underpinning of primary education in relation to the planning and teaching of ritual and associated arts to Angolan children. The conceptual framework for the curriculum was social reconstructionist (Stuhr et al, 1992; 1994) and drew on art education theory, in particular on McFee and Degge, (1977) and Allison (1972) and it tested out a combination of Allison’s (1972) strategy for analysing cultural objects and Feldman’s (1994) four stage model of art criticism with the aim of improving students’ understanding of the function and significance of selected artefacts in a specific cultural context. The version of action research used in this study was adapted from the model developed by Moura (2000) and Elliot (1991), and the data collection instruments were many and varied to enable the researcher and the teachers to gain closer contact with the reality of the pluralist art curriculum reform process. The teaching learning strategies the action team applied were cross curricula, in the sense that they drew on history and geography (Silva, 2006; Coelho, 1997), but were intended to motivate visual arts activities. The primary teachers who participated demonstrated strong motivation to collaborate. They were made aware of their own strengths and weaknesses through the researcher’s constant collaborative oral reflection and evaluation of their actions. In conclusion this thesis is the first study of its kind that was carried out by generalist teachers at primary education level in Angola. It is this researcher’s hope that this study can stimulate interest in a wide range of questions and problems concerning Angolan patrimony, its meaning, origins and application in general education and specifically in art education classrooms. The researcher is affectively attached to these cultures and sees it as his personal and civic duty to contribute to the current discussion about Angola’s post colonial educational situation.

 

 ART FOR SUSTAINABLY AND EMPOWERMENT: A CASE OF WEARABLE ART FROM NIGERIA

Empowering artistic skills  through economic emancipation and wealth creation

Olusegun Adeniyi, Teaching Visual Art, Nigeria

The study explored art for sustainably and empowerment: a case of wearable art from Nigeria. Wearable art is a fusion of art and fashion composed of the Adire background with the infusion of artistic hand-printed designs and patterns inspired by the African traditional cultural elements. It is a metamorphosis of the old tradition of tie and dye into a ready-to-wear outfits. It is a fashion concept that incorporated the traditional heritage with the embellishment of artistic cultural designs. It is about promoting peace and preserving the African cultural heritage through a fusion of ART and FASHION. The fashion industry generates up to $2.5 trillion in revenue a year. The fashion industry is huge and continues to grow rapidly according to current growth projections, it will double in the next 10 years, generating up to $5 trillion annually. Its not just big in terms of revenue it also employs 60 million people around the world. In the US, 4 million people work in the fashion industry. Clothing accounts for 88% of Haitis exports. 79% of Bangladeshs, 59% of Lesothos, 52% of Cambodias and 43% of Sri Lankas exports are related to the clothing industry. With the sector constantly reinventing and transforming itself, and the lines between fashion and technology becoming blurred, its an exciting time to be in the fashion industry. We can all be a part of the generation that revolutionized fashion and made it more sustainable. This study is to inform and also offer hands-on training for teachers in Namibia to venture into the lucrative business of wearable art. With the support of the government, it can be exported to other part of the world with the trade mark made in Namibia. Keywords: Wearable Art, Visual Arts, Fashion, empowerment, and sustainability.

 

 ART COMPETITIONS AS A MOTIVATING FACTOR IN AIDING STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN VISUAL ART

Olusegun Adeniyi, Teaching Visual Art, Nigeria

Student motivation affects every aspect of school life, from attendance, to academic performance, to extra-curricular activities. Promoting the greatest student motivation possible is extremely important for every teacher in Visual Art. The study examined Art Competitions as a motivating factor in aiding students academic performance in Visual Art. Art competition as a means of arousing interest in learning and getting the learners excited about the learning activities. The researcher adopted descriptive survey design for the study. The target population for this study comprise a total of hundred (100) students which were selected randomly from ten (10) secondary schools in Ibeju-Lekki, LGA of Lagos. The research instrument used for the study was a self-developed structured questionnaire. The researcher examined the effects of participating in art competition on academic performance of students in Visual Art in selected schools, determine the sustainability of motivational factor on student academic performance in selected Secondary Schools in Ibeju-Lekki Local Government Area of Lagos State and also explored causes of poor academic performance in Visual Art in selected Secondary Schools in Ibeju-Lekki Local Government Area of Lagos State. Academic competition is a growing concern in our educational system. Our educational system fosters competition in students at a very young age. It teaches and promotes competition amongst themselves throughout their educational career. Many students become highly competitive. They feel pressure from both internal and external sources to perform well in school. In observation of the findings that the students need the pull to value art and to increase their academic performance, the researcher recommended that participation in Art competitions at both local and international level should be encouraged in schools. It was further recommended that the Ministry of Education should ensure that the winning students from the art competitions receive tangible prize awards such as scholarships, refurbishment of the art studios, art supplies as a means of motivating students for maximum academic performance in Visual Art. Keywords: Academic performance, Visual Arts, Motivation and Competition.

 

Towards Decolonizing Namibia’s Arts Education
Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja , Namibia


This paper reflects on a 2017 two day workshop that took place at the John Muafangejo Art Centre in August 2017 titled Decolonizing Arts Education. This session was attended by artists, cultural leaders and educators from Windhoek, Swakopmund and Western Cape, South Africa. The two day workshop had the following objectives; to map/revisit the legacy of arts education in Namibia and Africa, its challenges and opportunities today. To highlight the importance of arts education and promote its implementation in formal and informal contexts. To continue reimagining networking, inclusivity, visibility, agency, decentralization, dialogue, access, and collaboration amongst artists, educators, cultural leaders, institutions and other relevant stakeholders. To create a documentation of the workshop process of suggesting and recommending decolonized arts education for Namibia.
What does a decolonized arts education for Namibia look and feel like? To respond to this, the workshop participants produced a vision for Namibian-African decolonized arts education. This historic document references a variety of ideas of a critical conscious education and principles of Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. It was established that Namibia has not yet committed itself to an education system that is anti-racist, anti-capitalist and anti-heteropatriarchal, and a lot of work is needed in this regards.
This paper will not just focus on the process and outcome of this workshop session, it will also critically reflect on the challenges and opportunities of this vision. Sustaining a project of decoloniality proves to be a challenge in many ways. This paper will there fore offer suggestions of how commitment, solidarity and trust can be built in order to build an arts education approach that contributes to an education system that has healing and transformation at heart.

 

 Transition from Old Media Art to New Media Art and Technologies: How Prepared are Art Educators in Africa?

Azeez Wahab Ademola, Department of Fine and Applied Arts- Federal College of Education (Technical) Akoka, Lagos, Nigeria

 

Most art eductors in Africa were generally trained in the Old Media tradition and techniques of traditional art genres such as painting, ceramics, graphics, textiles design, sculpture and others. The introduction of New Media Arts has revolutionalised visual arts production processes with the introduction and merging of media and computer into one and the above  mentioned media that include shapes, symbols, forms, images, pattern and moving images, sound, spaces etc become computable and are translated to numerical data accessible using single computer machine which make the media mentioned above to be disseminated to millions of viewers all over the world at fastest rate. Unlike old media, the New media are not processed manually but through a computer machine. The transition of art educator from old to new media requires special training, facilities, techniques and exposures. In order to completely transit to new media art educators, a lot needs to be done so as to meet up with the rest of the world in the area of curriculum input and manpower development. It is believed that residual knowledge of the old media is not enough but total transformation of the curriculum and personnel is required to teach the New media arts such as digital art, computer graphics, computer animation, virtual art, Internet art, interactive art, video games, computer robotics, 3D printing, cyborg art etc using the new media technologies. The time to train the computer and ICT-literate visual art teachers is no other time than now.

Keywords: Old media art, New Media Art, Curriculum, New media technologies, ICT, art educators

 

Artopia: Creative Healing

Amanda Alexander, University of Texas Arlington, USA

In the United States, veterans often return home with acute psychological or medical conditions that impair functioning, disrupt family relationships, and prevent reentry into the workforce. For veterans who are receiving psychiatric care for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other emotional conditions, art therapy can be an effective form of treatment, either as an adjunct to other therapies or as a form of individual or group psychotherapy (http://arttherapy.org). In 2015, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs listed California, Florida, and Texas as having the highest populations of veterans in the U.S. (Quick facts, 2017). However, according to the American Art Therapy Association there are no undergraduate or graduate art therapy degree programs approved by the Art Therapy Educational Program Approval Board (EPAB) at Texas universities (http://arttherapy.org). Due to the lack of Texas university initiatives in the Dallas-Ft. Worth (DFW) metroplex, there is only one long standing non-profit organization specializing in art therapy, The Art Station in Ft. Worth. The lack of art therapy degree programs at Texas universities provided an opportunity for the development of a collaborative art therapy workshop series at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). With a sustainable veteran workshop program, students in the Art + Art History Department focusing on art therapy will be able to learn from, observe, and interact to gain invaluable knowledge for their own studies. This presentation outlines the newly conceived UTA Art Therapy Workshop Series, which includes creating and establishing art therapy workshops with licensed art therapists from The Art Station, a Ft. Worth nonprofit art therapy organization, for the 4,900 veterans enrolled (however not limited only to Veterans). The presentation also includes information on the data collected to determine the magnitude of symptom relief and healing for the men and women veterans dealing with service-related trauma or disabilities. Researchers conducted a Profile of Mood States (POMS) pre/post test survey with veterans before and after their participation in the workshops. The POMS psychological assessment is considered an excellent measure of psychological distress and is known for its ease of administration (Shacham, 1983; Curran, Andrykowski & Studts, 1995). The pre test survey included questions about basic demographic data such as gender, age, student level, branch of service, rank, years of service, combat experience, etc. The post test survey included questions about enjoyment and satisfaction with the workshop, the likelihood they would attend another workshop, if they would recommend the workshop to someone, etc. Additionally, the researchers interviewed and collected testimonials and photos for data, videos, and a website. The impact of a program at UTA, which enrolls the most veterans in the state, is beginning to provide a snapshot of its importance.

 

Connecting Islands: Design Thinking in Teacher training, developing Visual competencies through art - Teacher training, art teacher training

Gabriella Pataky, ELTE TÓK University, Hungary

Design thinking is a new strategy of motivate creativity in every sector with difficulties. Let’s make a new language of it through art! The basic elements of this innovative way of seeing and problem-solving can be the key in transdisciplinary art education to develop essential competencies. Design, in the sense of product design, is developed from traditional craftwork. It is crucial for the everyday life for the individuals, the economic success of companies, for jobs and for the prosperity of societies. The competencies at work in the development of design are competencies of Visual Literacy. These always related to design and to manifestations of visual everyday culture. What kind of development is necessary during the first years of institutional education in order to optimally expand children’s visual knowledge? I would like to take unique examples of best-practices, original and low budget lesson plans from around world and the latest, most relevant research results related to it. As a starting point I would like to use diverse interactive methods to seek answers to the particular questions of visual education for young children, that can raise awareness of the planning of pedagogical processes for early childhood educators (kindergarten and elementary school teachers) who (also) teach visual arts. All this pursues one of the new objectives of InSEA: offering support to early childhood educators to get to know the most up-to-date trends in visual education (“Education through Art”). Kindergarten teachers, preschool teachers, elementary/primary school teachers, generalist teachers and in-service teachers all teach art passionately in their everyday lives, but this work is not appreciated enough, they need more help to develop themselves, especially in relation to the new concepts of early childhood education and elementary schools, which proposes a complex, transdisciplinary, competence-based curriculum. The role of visual competencies is growing with high speed, but children’s visual skills are less developed today than they were 40 years ago (Pataky, 2017). To contradict the over-emphasized presence of image making exercises we have to look after new ways to competence-development and here we are with three possible directions to improve teacher’s potentials in the light of design thinking: • Plastic skills development • Construction skills development • Built environment education With the metaphor of an island, I would like to find the right place of the art teacher training, while safeguarding our diverse cultural heritage in the world to build bridges to a responsible 21. century citizens.

 

Solidarity through art- Building social responsibility and citizenship

Tiiina Pusa, Aalto University, Finland

In this research project the political role of teacher is approached through art based research with phenomenological case setting. The question for the whole research project is: how and why a teacher took a radical position in the historical frame? In this particular presentation I reflect how art may offer a platform for solidarity. In my research there are structurally three parts: a background essay, art-based research (Suominen, Kallio-Tavin & Hernández-Hernández, 2017) part and a reflective essay. In the background essay, I open the reader to the starting points, the frame and the method. During arts-based part of my research, which is focus of this presentation, I traced the polyphony of happenings in Finland in 1918. Crocheter Alma (Virkkaaja Alma) is my performative project, which lasted same period than the Finnish civil war lasted a century ago. Starting point for the project was a portrait on my grandfather's mother Alma Gummerus painted by artist Kaarlo Atra (1879-1961) in 1929. In the portrait Alma is crocheting something. She is weared totally black including black scarf on her head. Position is profile, left shoulder towards a viewer. Each day, totally 109 days, I crocheted 50 white and 250 red stitches and asked someone to take a photo with my mobile phone to publish it in instagram. In the current emphasis to global social responsibility and justice for the teacher's work began to form since the 1970s. The ethical focus has continued to grow at the turn of the millennium. (Ahonen, 2002; Atjonen 2004; Tirri, 2002). This could be seen also deconstruction of superiority. When a teacher does not see her/himself as better knowing and better citizen, equally human dialogical setting is possible to build up and even strongly different political and religious views may encount. The results of my arts-based research are partly in visual form and partly verbalized experience. Radicalization can be seen as a serious lack of solidarity (Saari, 2011). This opens up the role of art and art education in creating solidarity. Crocheter Alma -project made room for encounters and political discus in everyday life. According to my arts based project, the material and performative nature of crocheting made room for the basis for solidarity. Preventive work against confrontation and radicalization may become part of teaching. That is base for the next turn and stage of my research. Keywords: arts-based research, solidarity, education, societal, history References Ahonen, J. (2002). Eettinen opettaja - eettinen vaikuttaja. In R. Sarras (toim.) Etiikka koulun arjessa. Keuruu: Otava, 65-73. Atjonen, P. (2005). Pedagoginen etiikka koulukasvatuksen karttana ja kompassina. Suomen kasvatustieteellinen: Turku. Saari, J. (2011). Hyvinvointia edistävät rakenteet. Lecture 25.11.2011, University of Eastern Finland. Suominen, A., Kallio-Tavin, M. & Hernández- Hernández, F. (2017). Arts-Based Research Traditions and Orientation in Europe. Perspectives from Finland and Spain. In Handbook of Arts-Based Research (edit. Leavy, P.). The Guilford Press. Tirri, K. (2002). Opetustyön keskeiset eettiset ongelmakohdat. In R. Sarras (toim.) Etiikka koulun arjessa. Keuruu: Otava, 23-33.

 

 

The ART of becoming (P)ART: Establishing a participatory ART framework for pre-service art teachers’ professional development- Building social responsibility and citizenship

Merna Meyer, Creative Arts, Faculty of Education, South Africa

Most tertiary art educationists encourage a professional framework that focuses on a theoretical base, with personal values and critical reflective practices in classrooms, but neglect to explain how pre-service art teachers could take social responsibility and contextualize their subject knowledge in the lives of children from diverse backgrounds. This concerns me as the role of the art teacher is to help uplift the status of art education by projecting it as a subject that cultivates humanity and embraces differences. It is also a subject that is not only earmarked for the talented few but a learning tool to engage in meaningful interactions across disciplines and cultures. In an attempt to foster a professional framework that could guide students transition from tertiary training to 21st century professional workplace, I asked them to apply their values-embedded artist, researcher and teacher (ART) roles in more contextual and participatory ways. They engaged with youths through participatory action research activities (PAR) and reflected on all four cycles. The empirical evidence indicated that students became more resilient and understanding towards ‘others’ moving closer to a professional frame that is not only scholarly engaged but values relational leadership in their practices. They started to understand the ART of becoming (P)ART.

 

Zero Waste Zone- Promoting a safe and healthy environment

Minna Suoniemi, Finland

In my presentation I draw parallels between my artistic project Practical Ecology, the work of South African artist Pieter Hugo and Romuald Hazoumè, an artist from The Republic of Benin and the work of Finnish artists Kari Cavén, Kalle Turakka Purhonen and Anu Tuominen, who use recycling material in their practise. Pieter Hugo and Romuald Hazoumè are known to Finnish audience through ARS 11, the most important exhibition institution in Finland, then with the thematic focus on Africa. The whole settings of ARS11 seems problematic to me. Through this juxtaposition, I aim to look at these ecological artistic approaches from the perspective of unequal economic conditions, and how our relationship to objects is defined by those conditions. Practical ecology is a photography and video based contemporary art project studying my father's mission to live an ecologically sustainable life, and how that affects his relationship to objects, waste and consuming. Practical ecology depicts things, which he has created out of various broken objects, for example a wooden cutting board out of an old leather sofa or skates out of old skis. My father, now retired from paper industry, was born during the Finnish Continuation War in 1943, and raised during post-war depression in Finland, then a developing country. I look at his action as resistance towards consuming, which could be seen in the context of DIY culture and art, merely as a habit of repairing things or even as a reversing act in the context of consumer industry. His creations resample the artistic work of sculptors Hazoumè, Cavèn, Turakka Purhonen and Tuominen, who use abandoned objects and create their work around and of used material. The meaning-making derives from the contrast between the original objects and new connotations embedded in the artwork. Another ankle to look at Practical ecology appears when placing my father’s action next to the photographic series by Pieter Hugo, depicting young men in a waste land burning used paint cans to clean them and recycle them for income. Hugo’s photographic work, when shown in Finland, formed a reference to one of the most known paintings in Finnish art history, Eero Järnefelt’s Kaski (Burning of Brushwood, 1893) depicting a young famished girl working by burning ground to earn a living. This painting has been seen as an iconic image building the Finnish national identity in the turn of last century and can also be viewed as a document of man’s relationship to nature and its’ resources. Thus, questions of ecological sustainability and social justice become visible against a historical and global background. My study creates a map of intertwined questions through the artworks about capitalist consumerism and global inequality it creates. I look at what remains untold in these artistic approaches, and how art could reveal new openings towards a more equal and sustainable future.

 

 

FADS: Engaging Finnish Art education Doctoral Students in a four-year network, between three universities

Mira  Kallio-Tavin and Kevin Tavin, Aalto University, Finland

Learn how doctoral students from three Finnish universities exchanged current research on art education with each other, their professors, and international scholars, throughout a collaborative and experimental network. Faculty from three universities in Finland collaborated over a four-year period in a network for doctoral students, whose work deals with art education. The network met in different location throughout Finland where doctoral students exchanged ideas on art education with each other from their dissertation research, learning materials, and advanced studies. They also presented their work to a panel of invited international scholars in the field of art education that facilitated dialogue and feedback. This presentation tells story of Finnish Art education Doctoral Studies (FADS), and explores individual dissertation projects, while bringing together collective voices of the students, faculty, and invited scholars, to advance current research topics in art education. The story of FADS is in the four parts. First, we provide a brief overview of the historical and current state of graduate research in art education, in Finland. Second, we discussion the objectives of the doctoral network, FADS, and ways the gatherings, assignments, and projects unfolded. Third, we share the collective work from the doctoral students participating in FADS, through their various assignments and working groups that focused on philosophical, methodological, and theoretical underpinnings their research. Lastly, we demonstrate how the story of FADS is more than a descriptive case study through multi-authored doctoral student projects, and collaborative and experimental texts between invited scholars and students, all of which helped to develop and expand doctoral research.

 

 

Performative Pedagogy and Gender in Art Education- Securing freedom of expression and basic human rights

Anniina Suominen, Tiina Pusa, Aapo Raudaskoski & Larissa Haggren, Aalto University, Finland

The proposed presentation explores how gender diversity is present in the policies and practices of Finnish art education. The authors first explore gaps between policy and practice through a close study and analysis of the Finnish National Core Curriculum for basic arts education as it relates to the broader Finnish culture of power and politics. Of special interest in this analysis of the core curriculum is how normative cultures continue to shape the articulation of this guiding document and how this policy manages to simultaneously advance and hinder equity and social justice in/through art education in Finland. The presenters endorse a turn towards an anti-oppressive education that acknowledges the need for an active stance in advocating gender equity. To frame this orientation, the proposed paper is framed more broadly by the study of the Seoul Agenda (unesco.org); the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the Convention on the Rights of the Children; the United Nation’s sustainable development agenda as it is articulated in the “Transforming our world: The 2030 agenda for sustainable development and the broader culture politics” (sustainabledevelopment.un.org, 2015); and the Finnish National Core Curricula. Of special interest is to study how the global agencies governing the advancement of human rights continue to produce agendas and policies that are founded on the binary notions gender as well as how National Agencies for Education advance and/or dismiss gender diversity as a basic human right through written curricula and educational policies. The main focus of this presentation is to share public pedagogies and performances created by arts education students. 

 

Arts education from the margins:  Critical articulations of hope- Building social responsibility and citizenship

Anniina Suominen, Aalto University & Eeva Anttila, University of Arts, Finland

This presentation articulates marginalized arts education perspectives from various parts of the world. The presenters share their experiences of editing a collection of research- and practice-based projects that aimed to increase critical understanding and build a foundation for sustaining hope in areas of crisis and conflict. The presenters believe that participation in the arts is a basic human right and that diverse cultures and the arts are an integral aspect of healthy lives and societies. The presented collective effort is building on long traditions of arts education for social justice, critical pedagogy, and the pedagogy of hope. The arts education practice conceptualized this way is understood as a form of activism driven and guided by humane compassion. Original projects were created by educators, researchers, and artists who have devoted their research and practice in exploring how to utilize arts education to work toward justice, equity, sustainability, and hope when communities or groups of people are faced with most challenging and arduous situations, including forced migration, institutionalized discrimination, economic, ecological, and cultural oppression, hatred, prejudice, and violence. The contributors depict hardships, struggles and failures but also articulate through their shared stories the strength of individuals and communities that strive to make a difference and work towards fair and just cultures and communities. The proposed presentation provides a brief overview of the diverse projects included in this collective effort. However, the scholarly orientation of this presentation is to explore the process, ethics, pedagogical, and theoretical challenges involved in working with such challenging foci and content. The presented project is founded on multiple different methodologies and various research-practice emphasis. Altogether, 15-20 projects informed the authorship of 11 texts. Each contribution employed a different approach to critical pedagogy, pedagogy of hope, the understanding of marginalized arts education, and arts-based research or arts practice-based inquiry. The presenters share how their understanding of research and pedagogy were informed by the process of facilitating the creation of this collaborative effort. The presenters also share the methods that were employed within the process. The presentation focuses on furthering the discussion on arts education in the areas and communities of conflict, unrest, and violence as well as forced institutionalization and marginalization of individuals. The presentation also focuses on contemplating the ethics of arts practice and pedagogy in the context of marginalization. By presenting alternatives to normative education, the presenters aim to contribute to the research on arts pedagogy of hope.

 

 

KNOCKING DOWN IVORY TOWERS: DIGITAL LITERATURE AS A POTENTIAL MODEL FOR CREATIVE RESEARCH

Artists involvement in formal arts education

Diogo Marques, Universidade Fernando Pessoa, Portugal

In 1964, Hungarian-British author and journalist, Arthur Koestler published a study titled “The Act of Creation”, in which he advances a general theory on creativity. Claiming that all creative activities, rather conscious or unconscious, from artistic originality to scientific discovery and comic inspiration share the same basic pattern, “bisociative thinking”, Koestler states that every creative act is a “bisociation” of two or more apparently different frames of thought. Despite its little impact from the 1960’s to nowadays, Koestler’s theory draws attention to the significance of creativity at every level of human thought and action. But, fifty years later, there are still biased perspectives on creativity making it difficult to promote creative environments, such as collaborative-based practices and interdisciplinarity. Often confused with the term “imagination”, in the present globalized culture of “knowledge economy” creativity is a frequent target of instrumentalizations, as its recurrent indistinction with words such as innovation and digitization demonstrates. The diffusion of the concept of creative industries, which essentially refers to the sector of communication agencies on the one hand, and to design (including design of product), on the other, can be problematic, since they tend to limit creativity to a functionalist and consumerist perspective. As a consequence, such instrumentalizations only serve to expand the gap between areas of knowledge. However, as digital technologies permeate every single aspect of our lives, there has been a boom in interdisciplinary practices that may as well be a result of this ubiquity. An example of such collaborative efforts is the creation of digital literary works in which ludic, scientific and poetic aspects of human creativity are gathered through the combined skills of individuals with distinct academic and/or professional backgrounds, either in the shape of artist collectives or specific short-term collaborations. As a result, established paradigms such as the artist/author/researcher in their ivory towers tend to fall apart, in order to make the work of art and its creative processes stand out. An example of such combination of creative research and practice in arts and humanities is the cyberliterary project titled “(DES)CONEXÃO” – (DIS)CONNECTION (2018), by wreading digits (an artist collective based in Portugal). This is a project resulting from an artist residence (RUNTIME REALTIME PEOPLE) promoted by INVITROgenerator laboratory (Open University of Lisbon), whose challenge consisted of a creative reflection centered on the impact of digital technologies on human perception of real time. Presenting itself as a multidisciplinary artwork, and consisting of an equally multidisciplinary team, “(DES)CONEXÃO” highlights the relevance of the creative process in the creation and development of a project, in which these processes gain the same relevance as the contents and structure of the final result. By discussing “(DES)CONEXÃO” as a case study and through the analysis of data collected by means of a questionnaire in order to map current expectactions on the role of creative research in academia, I argue that, combining scientific research and practice-based research/research-led practice can be a way of diminishing the current gap between theoretical knowledge and practical knowing in western intellectual tradition.

 

(DIS)CONNECTION: A DIGITAL ALCHEMY LAB- Artists involvement in formal arts education

Diogo Marques. Universidade Fernando Pessoa, Portugal

Action: Observation of a stone, during a temporary interruption of the real, as a way of thinking another time: that of digital immediacy. The result of this momentary contemplation of a primordial technology and the subsequent process of sublimation of ideas and perceptions wil be translated into a reflection on the processing and significance of reality itself. More than a communication challenge, this is an existential challenge. Objective: To make the reader a fundamental part of a digital artwork necessarily (dis)connected, diffuse, obscure, timeless and, above all, self-reflexive in relation to the creative process that sustains it. Method: Performative feedback through alchemical processes, with the purpose of finding a potential philosophical stone, purified and filtered, by the reflection on technology, human and nature. Medium: Potentiation of creativity through a collaborative process.

Tools: Stones, paper, scissors.

Keywords: overload; alchemy; tension / dispersion; technology / human / nature; geometry of the stone / inscription / memory; interpretation / context / learning; mask / social self / individual; interpersonal relationships / seeing / being / gesture / speech / physical / virtual / focus. Note: The result of this collaborative process will be an integral part of the cyberliterary artwork "(DES) CONEXÃO", to be displayed at the conference (place and time to be designated).

Target audience: conference participants. Maximum number of people: 32 participants, including one moderator.

 

 

On transculturalism in art education

Marc Fritzsche, University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany

Before everything else, I feel the need to name some traps: I am a white, male, European, even German professor of art education who offers a contribution to a conference in Namibia. The conference is titled “Building social cohesion through Arts Education”, and sub-themes include “Understanding identity – Safeguarding our diverse cultural heritage” and “Securing freedom of expression and basic human rights”. The historical relation between Germany as former colonial power and Deutsch-Südwestafrika/Namibia has many dreadful aspects, to say the least. So, with all respect, here is an outline of what I would like to talk about.My contribution is situated around the term and concept of transculturalism as coined by German philosopher Wolfgang Welsch in the late 1990s. This has become an important reference point in German art education since 2012. Discussions were accelerated by a large number of refugees coming to Germany especially since 2015. Museums and schools in Germany and Europe offer courses etc. in this context, but many questions are still unanswered. The public discussion here ranges from claiming that refugees pose a threat to our cultural heritage to the idea that Germany should keep its borders open to everyone.In all areas of life, the complexity of the cultural has become a major issue. An increasingly bewildering array of set pieces from different backgrounds with different meanings constantly remixes into new, highly complex and endlessly differentiating forms. Historically, this is nothing new – although the speed and depth of the process have grown remarkably in recent decades.With large numbers of refugees fleeing conflict and violence and reaching all the way to Europe, there is an urgent need to develop strategies that allow them at once to be included in European societies, while at the same time retaining a sense of their own identity, and a pride in their cultural roots. Cultural activities have proven benefits for refugees and migrants, in terms of providing enabling environments to express themselves, recover from trauma and share stories, participate in communities, and take positive action towards active citizenship. The cultural productions and expressions resulting from such cultural encounters and processes can and should inform the development of policy in broader areas including education, housing and social policy, employment, in the context of migration. In 2016, the European Commission called for experts from all over Europe to collaborate on a report to highlight key areas where cultural interventions lead to tangible benefits. Some of these are clear and immediate, in relation to language learning, social skills, therapeutic benefits, employability etc. But the experts also called for a wider cultural strategy to develop an open and equal dialogue between new citizens and their host cultures.This presentation highlights some of the results of the report and relates them to a theoretical framework that critically reflects on intercultural and transcultural (Welsch) concepts. It also points out the dangers of othering (Said, Adelson) and the challenge of the term hybridity by postulating a third space (Bhabha) and cultural remix (Schnurr et al.). Nationalist tendencies are criticised as globally popular yet inappropriate reactions to large scale migration. As Edward Said puts it: “All cultures are hybrid; none is pure; none is identical with a ‘pure’ people; none is made of a homogenous texture.”