Gina Di Staulo & Karine Manibal
4th year, Art Education Specialization
How to make recycled paper
video 7 mins. 51 sec.
This is a short instructional video on how to make recycled paper at home or in the classroom. It is a step by step demonstration of the paper making process. This video can be a useful tool for art educators, or even inspire other teachers to explore the educational possibilities of new technologies in the classroom.
2nd Year, Art Education Major
video 1 min. 46 sec.
I thank graffiti for transforming my perspective on the world. It is through graffiti that I have learnt what it means to be an artist. It seems that the majority of the population view graffiti simply as vandalism. My graffiti career has taken me on a roller coaster ride filled with highs and lows. It is through graffiti that I developed an artistic eye, learning about colour, design and even photography. The following video is a time lapse of a work of graffiti I painted in 2009.
4th year, Art Education Specialization , Minor in Psychology
What Photography Can Also Be
The image here is the last photograph I took of my grandmother who was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. I took this photograph after convincing Katheryn to come outside on a bright and sunny day on the south shore of Nova Scotia.
Like any other medium, photography is a tool for expression. Through its lens, the artist makes choices of what she or he sees, which reflects a world view. The dissemination of photographic work, whether print or web-based, stimulates a visual reaction – to me the most intriguing aspect of this art form. I admire photography that creates and questions content and offers the possibility of interpreting many narratives, links, or themes. In this essay, I will discuss how I believe photography can be used to re-experience, recall or re-frame a memory for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease as a means for improving their quality of life. This specific research draws inspiration from my artisitc practice, experience as an art educator, interest in psychology and personal connection to my grandmother’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
In support of my short inquiry into an in depth subject, I will discuss the work of Dr. Cathy Greenblat, a sociologist who since 2001 has been working on a multi-faceted, cross-cultural visual sociology project on care for the dependent elderly, focusing primarily on Alzheimer’s disease care (Greenblat, 2001). I will also discuss an article on digital storytelling by Chloë Brushwood Rose, an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at York University, and founder of Participating Artist Press Agency (P.A.P.A), an internationally curated network of artist-correspondents founded by Dutch artist and art educator Lino Helling. The purpose for this inquiry is to investigate positive outcomes from the above-mentioned examples, and the feasibility to initiate a similar project in Canada.
I would like to begin this discussion by introducing a woman who has had an immense influence on me and who inspired my idea of developing a project based on photographic sensory imagery experience, my late grandmother Katheryn Armstrong. The image here is the last photograph I took of my grandmother who was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. I took this photograph after convincing Katheryn to come outside on a bright and sunny day on the south shore of Nova Scotia. During her struggle with Alzheimer’s, I witnessed Katheryn’s frustrations with memory first hand. Unfortunately it was after her passing that I was exposed to further research and opportunities regarding Alzheimer’s disease, memory, and the potential of the photographic image to aid in a higher quality of life. The central idea of the proposed project is that presenting nostalgic imagery in the form of still and moving images from an individual’s lifetime will stimulate the senses and memory, hopefully providing at least temporary relief from the frustrations that come with memory loss. This inquiry is only in the very early stages of development and I am aware that its ethical, theoretical, and practical aspects need much consideration. However, I believe its potential is worth presuing.
I envision this project taking place in a secure environment such as a nursing home, hospital or private health care clinic. There, I could eliminate any alternatively motivated influence when producing such an experience for this vulnerable population. I would also work in collaboration with skilled professionals in the field, such as medical reseachers, psychologists, and nurses, as well as the patient’s loved ones. Loved ones would not only collaborate in selecting and providing the most approporiate assemblage of imagery, but also in creating an environment based on security and trust.
If I had the opportunity to develop this proposed project, I would begin my research and take inspiration from the work of Dr. Cathy Greenblat, using photography to document the lives of people with Alzheimer’s. She has chosen to take descriptive photographs to portray aspects of their lives as they live with this generative disease. Her photographs and writing are intended to break sterotypes and spread awareness of the possibilities still available to people with the disease. Greenblat describes this well in her artist statement on her website:
I offer an additional challenge to stereotypes about Alzheimer’s disease.They [photographs] show that while the losses created by degenerative brain disease are real, people with Alzheimer’s are not, as they are often depicted, “empty shells”, completely lost. The photos show what quality health care looks like, and illustrate that such care allows people with Alzheimer’s disease to sustain connections to others and to their own past lives at a far higher level than is generally believed to be possible. The photographs reveal that they are capable of experiencing joy as well as sorrow, that loving care can yield loving responses and laughter. (n.d.)
To promote her message to a large public, Greenblat has published an illustrated book entitled Alive with Alzheimer’s (2004) and maintains an online portfolio which describes the work she has done in several different countries. Importantly, her photographs highlight the capabilities and the spirit of the individuals she is working with. Although eradicating the stigma and social assumptions regarding Alzheimer’s are absolutely imperative, I would like to orient my research in a more patient-centered direction rather than from a spectator perspective. Instead of “merely recording” to paraphase author Antonia Bardis (2004, p.2), I would use the flexibility offered by new technologies, choosing to upset the boundaries between the visible and the invisible, creating and simulating with the assemblage of photographic raw material to create what I hope will be a meaningful experience for the patient. I believe that the purpose of Greenblat’s work and my proposed project is similar: to improve the lives of those living with Alzheimer’s. While Greenblat’s approach is through social means, I would explore the potential to create a sense of identity through a sensory experience as a type of cognitive process.
I feel in some regards this sense of identity is what Chloë Brushwood Rose speaks about in her article The (Im)possibilities of Self-Representation: Exploring the limits of storytelling in the digital stories of women and girls (2009), describing her process as follows:
The digital storytelling process comprises several stages of production: sharing personal narratives in an oral ‘story circle’; creating storyboards; writing stories or ‘scripts’ and recording them as voiceovers; collecting visual artifacts, video footage and music; and combining and editing all these elements in a non-linear digital environment to create digital videos. (p.3)
This type of process would be closer to what I envision in creating a sensory experience for the individuals with Alzheimer’s. It would be more of a collaborative process with their loved ones when selecting material and then working with the facilitator in order to derive the final expression.
The process Rose describes “reveal the possibilities and impossibilities of self-representation” (p.2). This identity, or self-representation is where the link between Greenblat, Rose and the sensory experience meet. Memory is a frustration with those suffering from Alzheimer’s, therefore so is personal and collective identity. I believe that the increasingly available techologies can allow for further creative inquiry.
Perhaps in the near future, research on the potential of technological arts will be incorporated in their mandate. As previously mentioned, I am only in the preliminary phase of exploration; however, it is encouraging to identify opportunities and seek out possible collaborators.
One example of someone undertaking such work is the Dutch artist and art educator Lino Hellings. I had the opportunity to meet this incredible individual at an international residency conference held here in Montreal organized by the Regroupement des Centres d’Artisites Autogérés du Québec (RCAAQ), who describe their organisation as “meeting point of a network of some sixty artist-run centers and cultural organizations from all over the province of Quebec” (RCAAQ, 2009). The RCAAQ coordinated the conference for ResArtis, an international organization providing a “worldwide network of artist residencies” (ResArtis,n.d.). Hellings was a speaker in a panel discussion on “Future Residencies”. She spoke about a sustainable residency project she created which in essence functions as a kind of “time machine” in a nursing home for individuals with Alzheimer’s. The time machine consisted of a multi-disciplinary collective memory for Alzheimer’s victims based in audio-visual material of collective historical events from their lifetime. These materials aim to encourage Alzheimer’s patients to relive and recreate aspects of memory. I believe Hellings’ philosophy of art education is integral to the “Time Machine” work she has conducted:
I have developed a teaching method that defines the transition area between the different forms of art. With this method I educate people in a new form of interdisciplinary craftsmanship. A craftsmanship with which you make art for places where it is needed and in the most appropriate form. (Hellings, n.d.)
Inherent in Hellings’ philosophy is the importance of integrating cultural, political, social issues specific to a particular site and population. The interdisciplinary approach is also crucial. Similarly to Hellings project involving individuals with Alzheimer’s in nursing homes, she collaborates with with other professionals in the Participating Artist Press Agency (P.A.P.A.), an internationally curated network of artist-correspondents. Stated on P.A.P.A. website:
P.A.P.A. is nomadic, it doesn’t have a fixed office, but works from temoorary offices in cities all over the world. Projects can be self-initiated or commisioned by third parties. P.A.P.A. is an instrument for world mapping gently fixing even the most stubborn pieces into a meaningful pattern. P.A.P.A. inspires a broad audience and informs specialist arenas as art. city development, politics and the news industry. (n.d.)
Hellings has received a combination of private and public funding from foundations in the Netherlands that conduct reseach on Alzeheimer’s. This funding will sustain the project for 25 years.
The substantial resource base of Helling’s work has inspired me to research funding opportunites in North America, beginning with the Alzheimer’s Association in the United States. Currently the association is distributing for up to $200,000 (US) over a three-year period towards innovative and progressive research. As stated on the Alzheimer’s Association website:
We are interested in groundbreaking studies on emerging information and communication technologies (ICTs) as well as their clinical and social implications. Strongest consideration will be given to novel innovative ideas rather than more evolutionary incremental research. Originality of the study is more important than extensive evidence for why it is a logical next step in a research program. ETAC is designed to support exploratory multidisciplinary research. (Alzheimer’s Association, n.d.)
Perhaps in the near future, research on the potential of technologial arts will be incorporated in their mandate. As previously mentioned, I am only in the preliminary phases of exploration; however, it is encouraging to identify funding opportunities and seek out possible collaborators. These are the first steps for discovering more information on how initiating and implementing large scale projects could be possible within my professional abilities and interests.
Although such a project could become a spectacular opportunity, I cannot ignore the possible dangers of working with photography and memory with a vulnerable population. To potentially influence vulnerable individuals’ memories and so sense of self raises enormous ethical considerations. Sensitive and crucial issues need to be addressed when developing a project of this nature, not least the way that photographic documents tend to be considered as representing the ‘truth’ of a situation. Bardis further describes this issue in relation to photography:
We have come to trust the photograph more than any other kind of image as faithfully documenting the reality of the material world. We have relied on it to describe places, to prove things existed, and to recall the memorable. (Bardis, 2004, p.3)
The complexity of a project similar to P.A.P.A. is that the benefit of using photography simlaneously its greatest danger: photography-based memories can supplant personal memories. However, I believe that with the appropriate development and monitoring, the positive benefits would out weigh the potential negatives. I also believe the nourishment of nostalgic sensory experience could significantly improve the present. Using a collection of personal imagery from the individual, produced by the facilitator and loved ones of the patient would, I hope, cultivate a sense of self identity for the victim suffering from the memory loss. Imagery could include family photographs, historically significant events and important moments in their life. Video could also be included such as nostalgic commercials, television programming, older films, home videos, excetera. Sound can be incorporated, such as favorite songs, audio clips of loved ones, music, or comforting sounds. The sensory has the potential to even expand to other senses, such as smell. The imperative aspect is that the sensory experience is tailored to the specific individual.
To conclude, I believe my project has great potential that I would like to explore further. The inspiration and purpose for the cause is deeply felt, based on my experience of my grandmother’s struggle with the disease. My current studies in Art Education and Psychology and future pursuit of graduate studies in Art Therapy influence the type of projects I want to pursue as an artist/art educator. Art facilitation is just as enjoyable for me as creating artwork. To see, hear and experience the joy of collaborating on projects which benefit others is, for me, a gratifying artisitc means which I intend to pursue in my work. I see what photography can also be.
Bardis, A. (2004). Digital photography and the question of realism. Journal of Visual Art Practice, 3(3), p. 209-218.
Brushwood Rose, C. (2009). The (im)possibilities of self-representation: Exploring the limits of storytelling in the digital stories of women and girls. Changing English, 16(2), p. 211- 220.
Alzheimer’s Association. (n.d.). Alzheimer’s Association. www.alz.org.
Greenblat, C.(n.d.).Cathy Greenblat photography. www.cathygreenblat.com.
Greenblat, C.(2004). Alive with Alzheimer’s. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press.
Hellings, L. (n.d.). Lino Hellings. http://linohell.nl/artedu.html.
P.A.P.A. [Participating Artist Press Agency]. (n.d.). P.A.P.A. Participating Artist Press Agency .www.papaplatform.com.
RCAAQ [Regroupement des Centres d’Artisites Autogérés du Québec]. (2009). Réseau Art Actuel. www.rcaaq.org.
ResArtis. (n.d.). ResArtis. www.resartis.org.]]>
4th year, Art Education Specialization
Learning with Children and Birds: Pre-School Teaching Practicum Final Report
At 7:51 am, I felt overwhelmed by the miniature stature and immaturity of the children. As they sipped their morning milk, one child began to sob, feeling left out of a ‘Dora The Explorer’ game. Another child was twisting her body on the carpet like a worm as another youngster crawled up my leg, roaring like a lion. I thought to myself: “This is a jungle, and I’m going to be babysitting monkeys and lions.”
Between January and April 2010, I taught art to kindergarten children as a student-teacher. The experience was one of growth, discovery and, most importantly, love for a population that until then had been unfamiliar to me. The present paper offers an analysis of the successes and challenges encountered during my teaching experiences and summarizes my general appreciation for this experience. Visual documentation supports my reflection.
Meeting the Students and my Co-operating Teacher
My teaching practicum began on January 23rd, 2010. At 7:50 a.m., I met the seventeen kindergarten students as well as my co-operating teacher (CT). At 7:51am, I felt overwhelmed by the miniature stature and immaturity of the children. As they sipped their morning milk, one child began to sob, feeling left out of a ‘Dora The Explorer’ game. Another child was twisting her body on the carpet like a worm as another youngster crawled up my leg, roaring like a lion. I thought to myself: “This is a jungle, and I’m going to be babysitting monkeys and lions.” Alleviating my sense of panic, my CT introduced herself (in French) as being very laid-back and flexible. “You know, what I love about kindergarten is that there is no stress. They are magical and lovely, and we’re simply here to give them the opportunity to play, create and grow,” she said, as the miniature cub was still clutched to my leg. Throughout my internship, her words were proven through action as I observed her adapt the daily plans and activities to accommodate the children’s needs.
She proceeded to introduce me to the children: a group of four and five year olds, made up of half boys and half girls. As my internship would progress, I would find the group to be well balanced, pleasant, cooperative and exempt from any major behavioral problems. I however noticed early in my internship a potential case of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and two cases of possible dyslexia. In regards to art making, one boy had trouble with cutting (something we worked on together throughout the practicum to improve successfully). No other issues arose for the art lesson or for the general classroom. As a matter of fact, I had the opportunity to discover their avid interest in art on this very first day as the children worked on an in-process winter mural.
Throughout my experience, I witnessed my CT model assertive discipline strategies mixed with a very flexible and playful attitude towards teaching. Clear and simple rules were regularly reminded and used. Her positive approach to teaching was also reflected in her response to my art teaching. She was always enthused with art activities I proposed and gave me the freedom to use the themes, materials and time frame that I felt better suited the art lesson. She supported my approach to art teaching with preschool children, which consists of providing clear guidelines and inspiration at the beginning of the lesson, followed by letting the children use their creativity to take the art to wherever their imagination may lead.
The children adopted me instantly and initiated the introduction tour of the classroom. In the midst of initial meetings and presentations of the classroom’s organization, toys, treasures, art materials, I was also acquainted with Cookie and Toupet, the two classroom birds. Meeting the two animal friends not only dissipated the subtle anxiety I was feeling towards the new population (preschool children), but they instantly filled me with inspiration for art activities. I decided that I would relate all my art lessons to birds. That is exactly what I did, to complete success.
Teaching Art: The Outcomes of the First Activity – Cookie and Toupet: Observational drawings of birds
On the second day of my internship, we had been instructed to guide the students in a drawing activity exploring their family and themselves. Without undermining the value of such an activity, I felt compelled to challenge the children with an observational drawing activity. I hoped this lesson would encourage the children to truly ‘see’ the birds and their environment, and consequently develop more respect for them.
The greater goal of this first activity was to set the stage for a number of interrelated activities that would not only develop artistic skill and knowledge but collaborative skills as well as environmental awareness. I agree with author Suzi Gablik who writes, “We have been taught to experience the self as private, subjective, separate, from others and the world” (1995, p.78). My objective with this first lesson and subsequent ones was to break this cycle of individualistic learning and guide the children towards a collaborative approach to art in which they can nourish their sense of self in a communal setting and develop a true connection with all environments.
During the activity, I animated a discussion focused on the general geometrical shapes that could be observed when looking at Cookie and Toupet and their home (the bird cage). The children were directed to consider all the elements before them. Quoting American Abstract painter Vicci Sperry in The Art Experience (1969, p.77), “… the space is as important to the painting as the objects…. Every area no matter how small, no matter how large, is equally important to the whole.” I encouraged the children to feed off of each other’s observations to appreciate all the shapes before them. Afterwards, still gathered around the birds, they each executed observational drawings of their friends in their home. They were praised for helping each other with observations and technical aspects of the activity and for simply interacting with each other and the bird friends. In the end, they had exchanged ideas, some had helped each other with the execution of their drawing, and all had a successful observational drawing attesting their deeper appreciation of their bird friends.
Other Activities – Rubbings, Feathers and a Mural
In the weeks following the observational drawing activity, the children’s connection to their bird friends was solidified through the study of their coating (feathers) and of their anatomy. Appreciating the texture of feathers and textures in the environment, the children created rubbings. They then studied the structure of feathers and created their own feathers with line drawings. Afterwards, they worked in teams of two or three to put their feathers and efforts together to create birds. This activity required me to act as a mediator in no more than one slight quarrel between two children. One child wanted feathers on the head, the other did not. Remaining calm, I asked the children if they knew what it means to compromise. Once I explained what compromising means, one child suggested “If we don’t put feathers on the head, then can we make an extra long tail?” They continued to work in peace!
Finally, the children were invited to step out of their skin and into that of a bird, fly high above the trees and into the clouds to consider a bird’s eye view of the environment. I was fully aware this last activity risked being too challenging for the children. However, having seen them work incredibly well together, help each other, and consider each other’s needs and wants, I had complete confidence in their capacity for empathy. Not all children understood the technical aspect of the activity (drawing objects viewed from above), but all children grasped the concept of representing what they would see if they were Cookie or Toupet flying in the sky.
In conclusion to this series of activities, all artworks were brought together to create a colourful and collaborative mural. The children worked together in guiding the visual organization of mural and democratically chose a title for the work: À Vol d’Oiseaux (In Bird’s Flight). While debriefing as a form of art response on the collaborative mural experience, I discovered the children felt empowered by seeing the results of their teamwork. They were able to recount the different learning elements they had retained throughout the activities (shape, line drawing, textures, a bird’s anatomy, benefits of teamwork, etc). I however would only truly appreciate the project as successful later, when in the context of the following project, children would, on their own, choose to work together towards a collaborative goal.
When I announced we would go outside and use what we found in the environment to build nests and gave them the choice to either build smaller individual nests or one large scale nest collaboratively, the entire class, with a moment of hesitation, yelled, “One big one! All together!”
On the last day of my internship, I invited the children to think about where Cookie and Toupet would live if they were not in the classroom. The question-based discussion lead the children to talk about the outdoor environment, about the trees that offer a foundation for birds’ homes, about nests, what they are made of and how they are made, and about what would happen if we did not recycle and if we litter without considering the environment. I was bewildered by their sensitivity towards the environment and by their ability to reflect on the consequences of people’s environmental calamities. They were then introduced to the environmental art of Nil’s Udo, more specifically to The Nest (1978), an outdoor sculpture formed from earth, stones, birch trees, birch branches and grass (Green Museum, 2010).
When I announced we would go outside and use what we found in the environment to build nests and gave them the choice to either build smaller individual nests or one large-scale nest collaboratively, the entire class, without a moment of hesitation, yelled “One big one! All together!” Before going outside, we decided on conduct rules (no hitting or poking with twigs or branches, consider each other’s opinions, share, help each other, etc), and we discussed the meaning of the word ‘ephemeral’. Throughout the activity, the children were reminded of the impermanence of environmental art. I would ask: “What happens if someone trips over the artwork in the night? Or if a big wind breaks it apart?” The children answered: “It’s ok! Like the birds, we can always work together to build another one! Plus we will have pictures of today’s activity!”
Outdoors, the children worked incredibly well together to collect materials and create the structure that would become a giant nest. There were no disciplinary issues or interventions to be made. In addition to interacting and connecting with the natural environment, the children learned to appreciate it as a living entity. Holding a broken branch revealed the green sap of a tree, I asked the children if they knew how to tell if a branch is dead and alright to use for the nest or if it was alive and should be left to grow. One child looked at the broken branch and yelled in amazement “Look! That’s its blood!” The children learned to respect and protect the fragile life that is beginning to blossom. This kind of interaction with the environment is essential if we want to take the first steps towards putting children on an early path to environmental sustainability (Young, 2009, p.39). In the end, the entire class worked hard and collaboratively to create a large-scale nest that they were all very proud of.
Reflection on Philosophical and Technical Approach
Considering the challenges I faced during my internship, I am reminded of the extent to which the cooperating teacher can influence the outcome of the experience. I was initially intimidated by this young population that was unfamiliar to me. However, my insecurities were quickly dissipated with the help of my calm and joyful cooperative teacher. She modeled a positive and flexible approach to teaching that inspired me to feel comfortable in the preschool setting.
There are two facets of my internship to consider for its success: the technical approach and the philosophical approach. Firstly addressing the technical aspect of my internship, I found organization, consistency in structure and discipline strategies to be the key contributors to the smooth development of each activity. Every lesson began with a tippy-toe entrance into the classroom, trying to trick our bird friends in being invisible to them! This excited the children and engaged them into a playful and positive attitude towards the activity. Materials would be pre-organized and the motivation would always take place on the communal carpet. Previous learning was reviewed before introducing new knowledge. Each lesson was concluded with collaborative clean up. The routine was held consistently throughout my entire internship and I believe this gave the children the chance to feel safe and comfortable during art making activities.
Secondly, I believe applying my teaching philosophy to my practice had an important role to play in the success of the internship. According to Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky, social interactions are greatly influential in the development of superior mental functions (as cited in Portelance & Ouellet, 2004, p.73). In my opinion, social interactions at a young age not only stimulate the development of higher thinking skills but also nourish important life skills such as collaboration, empathy, citizenship, etc. I believe children as young as four and five years old have a great amount of knowledge and skill to share with each other and are already capable of being independent and collaborative learners. As a matter of fact, according to Portelance and Ouellet, pre-school children are capable of developing metacognitive skills with the active and consistent support of adults (p.94).
Putting into practice my appreciation for Vygotsky’s ideas and my belief in the children’s capability to overcome obstacles set before them, I challenged the children with technically and conceptually advanced activities (observational drawing, imagining aerial perspective, collaborative and ephemeral art) through a question-based learning approach that fostered active and spoken reflection. In support for Portelance and Ouellet’s approaches to developing metacognitive functions in young children (2004, p.77), I also modeled metacognitive behaviours by describing my thought processes aloud during each demonstration. As I encouraged them to interact and to reflect aloud, children began to turn not only to me but to each other and work together to find answers to questions or solutions to technical problems. In nurturing their ability to create and work collaboratively by bringing their individual strengths together, I saw the children grow more confident and daring in their art. I saw them take initiatives not only in art activities but also in other classroom activities. I believe a sense of trust was built between the children and me, which enabled authentic art learning and experience. This is the most cherished lesson I have gained from my internship: believe in the children and they will grow in their belief in themselves and each other!
Considering the challenges I faced during my internship, I am reminded of the extent to which the cooperating teacher can influence the outcome of the experience. I was initially intimidated by this young population that was unfamiliar to me. However, my insecurities were quickly dissipated with the help of my calm and joyful cooperative teacher. She modeled a positive and flexible approach to teaching that inspired me to feel comfortable in the preschool setting.
The main challenge I faced was classroom discipline. During my first teaching experiences I found the children’s energy and noise levels skyrocketed as soon as they were engaged in the art making period of the activity. The ‘invisible game’ was the solution to the issue. I first had them notice how the birds’ chirping changed along with their noise levels. They became aware of how calm the birds were when they were calm. From then on, the children began every lesson by trying to be invisible to Cookie and Toupet. This allowed each activity to develop in a more relaxed atmosphere and helped in keeping energy and noise levels under control.
In conclusion, my internship in the preschool setting was an enriching experience that confirmed my love for teaching, for art and for children. Throughout the practicum, I worked to surpass my initial insecurity toward teaching kindergarten children and discovered a setting and population with which I can truly put to practice my pedagogical philosophy. I was able to be creative in lesson planning, to base my lesson plans on the children’s interests, experiences and immediate environments, to nourish the development of their artistic and social skills and environmental awareness, all in a stress-free atmosphere. In retrospect, I was incredibly fortunate to have a cooperative teacher who supported my approach to art teaching and who modeled a flexible and optimistic approach that inspired my own teaching attitude and methods. The children surpassed all my expectations and proved themselves to be creatively and technically skilled, respectful and supportive of each other, as well as being respectful to others and the environment. They are engaged, passionate and, quite honestly, magical, offering me an experience that makes me look forward to future opportunities for working in preschool settings.
Gablik, S. (1995). Connective aesthetics. In S. Lacy (Ed.), Mapping the terrain: New genre public art (p.74-87). Seattle: Bay Press.
Green Museum. (2010). Nils Udo. Available from greenmuseum.org.
Portelance, L. & Ouellet, G. (2004). Vers l’énoncé d’interventions susceptibles de favoriser l’émergence de la métacognition chez l’enfant du préscolaire. Revue de l’Université de Moncton, 35(2), p. 67-99.
Sperry,V.(1969). The art experience. Boston: Boston Book and Art Shop Inc.
Young, L. (2009, Fall). Shallow grade: Environmental education is gaining momentum in Canada, but are we doing too little too late? Greenliving, p. 38-42.
2nd Year, Art Education Major
Pedagogy and Postmodernism: Influences of Postmodern Thought on Educational Philosophies
In art, postmodernism rejected any singular aesthetic that other art movements embraced. Therefore postmodernism cannot be considered an art movement at all, but rather an overarching change in perception and meaning.
There is a plethora of research and writing on the postmodern educator. Focusing here mainly on art education, I will examine some of the various postmodern topics and methods of teaching in terms of their strengths and weaknesses in today’s educational system. Given the ever-increasing media saturation in contemporary society, I believe a critical visual awareness is essential. In the field of art education, we as educators can choose to ignore the popularity of mass culture and focus only on classical and historical frameworks, or we can choose to include and embrace other frameworks in order to create a conversation between fine arts and popular culture. In this essay, I will discuss the main ideas of postmodern thought, thinkers who have influenced its theories, and their application to the field of Art Education. A key idea in postmodern thought is that truth is merely a social construct and facts are just interpretations “mediated by culture and language” (Barrett, 1997, p.17). Similarly French philosopher Jacques Derrida affirms that there is no absolute truth, and as a result, there cannot be one perfect method of teaching (Trifonas &Peters, 2004, p.1). Joan Wink, Professor Emerita in the Department of Teacher’s Education at California State University states, “Critical pedagogy has taught me that education is rampant with complexities, contradictions, multiple realities, and change. It has taught me that I don’t know everything” (2007, p.5).
I believe that these perspectives offer a refreshingly open-minded approach to education. Rather than relying heavily on a set educational approaches, postmodern teachers accept the idea that there may be a multitude of ways of looking at an issue, presenting information and learning. To understand some of the main characteristics of postmodern thought, however difficult and contradictory, one must have prior knowledge of modernism. Modernism started roughly in the 1880s, reached its peak in the early to mid 20th century and ended in the 1970s, according to art critic Robert Atkins (as cited in Barrett, 1997, p. 20). Rooted in the forward-looking ideals of new science and technology, modernists embraced the future and rebelled against conservative values from the past. Similarly, postmodernism emerged as a critique of everything ‘modern’, arguing that modernity created “social practices and institutions that legitimate domination and control by a powerful few over the many, even though modernists promised equality and liberation of all people” (Barrett, 1997, p.18). This critique is the defining characteristic of postmodern thought, which questions as well as re-interprets society and culture in a new and subjective light.
In art, postmodernism rejected any singular aesthetic that other art movements embraced. Therefore postmodernism cannot be considered an art movement at all, but rather an overarching change in perception and meaning. Within postmodernism emerged two competing philosophies: structuralism and post-structuralism. Briefly, structuralists were inspired by the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure, who proposed that language is a system of signs and signifiers that work as codes for meaning (Barrett, 1997, p.19). Structuralists believed that with enough analysis of certain subjects, they could unearth hidden natural codes and systems to achieve greater objectivity and understanding of a topic, similar to the modernists who sought absolute truth (p.18-19). Post-structuralists rejected this notion, suggesting that “language, culture and society are arbitrary and conventionally agreed upon, therefore should not be considered natural” (p.19). They believed that history, as it unfolds, shapes the culture and language we experience today. Rather than searching for universally applicable truths, post-structuralists “accept the limitations of multiple views, fragmentation and indeterminacy” (p.19).
By reconsidering dominant ways of thinking, post-structuralists engaged in what we consider critical discourse. Professor Rebecca Martusewicz from Eastern Michigan University considers that understanding post-structuralist theory is highly important in pedagogy (2001, p.12). Teacher-student communications is not necessarily always definite or clear. As with any conversation, there is an act of translation occurring: one person translates their thoughts into a few sentences, while the second person listens and translates what she or he hears into meaning and tries to comprehend. Therefore with every conversation there is the potential for misunderstanding. This means that a person may receive and translate the information they are presented differently than intended (Martusewicz, 2001,p.13-14). Language is most often the basis for education, whether it is in the form of reading, a lecture or a group discussion. However deriving meaning from what is taught goes beyond comprehension. In various forms of assessment, teachers examine students’ work to get a sense of what they have learned. The student often must demonstrate this knowledge through some sort of synthesis, such as writing an essay, a test, or creating a piece of art. According to educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom’s taxonomy of learning, evaluation and synthesis are among the most complex levels of learning, beyond memorizing, understanding and applying (O’Donnell & al., 2008, p. 371-372).
Bloom’s taxonomy is structuralist in nature; it defines a system of learning that teachers may use to reflect on their own pedagogical methods as well as students’ learning. However, it is quite objective and only broadly defines these levels of learning without giving any explicit reason of how or why they should be used. Also, it does not address any circumstances in which exceptions may apply. These circumstances affect translation and interpretation. What if the student lacks the ability to communicate well because English is not their first language? What if the student suffers from a learning disorder such as dyslexia or Attention Deficit Disorder? As a result of these or other issues, the student may derive a different meaning from the lesson than their fellow classmates. This subjectivity of interpretation makes assessment difficult, especially when it comes to art. If language is considered a social construct, what about art forms such as drawing, painting, sculpture, etcetera? And what about the stages of a child’s artistic development? Are these intrinsic? Or are they socially constructed as well? Theorists disagree.
On the one hand, social constructivist theorist Lev Vygotsky, who precedes post-structuralist thinking, proposes that language and other cultural ‘tools’ are a product of social development over the course of history. He believes that child development is the responsibility of elders (Beliavsky, 2006, p.2). For a maximum learning experience, a child must be ‘scaffolded’ by community members to achieve a zone of proximal development, or in other words, have a mentor show them the ropes so that they find themselves in a position where learning comes naturally and freely (p.5). Ninah Beliavsky, Associate Professor in Languages and Literatures at St.John’s University in New York also writes, “[…] the analysis of cognitive functioning requires studying how a child’s social interaction with more competent peers of their culture is mastered and internalized” (p.2). This essentially means that to know if the child has gained some form of knowledge, one should be able to see evidence reflected in what they say and do. In the case of creative expressions such as drawing, a child would learn to draw through demonstration by someone older. They would be taught how to draw lines and shapes then objects and scenes. The child is likely to copy what others do, and this is evidence of art development as a social construct. Even when a child creates something from imagination, he or she is still using the tools learned from another member of the community, such as how to hold a crayon, draw a circle, make objects look a certain way, etc.
On the other hand, Viktor Lowenfeld and Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget believed that children are intrinsically motivated to draw based on stages of cognitive and emotional development. Lowenfeld and Piaget divided these stages into various groupings based loosely around age, with descriptions of the actions and abilities of the child (Alter-Muri, 2002, p.170-173). For example, in the pre-schematic drawing stage, children aged 3-4 would most often be engaged in drawing lines and shapes, but still struggling with representation.
Besides remarking the obvious failure to include the stages of development in other areas of art such as sculpture and dance, critics of Lowenfeld’s theories note that these observations were accurate for a set group of children, but failed to address children in all socio-cultural contexts. This is interesting to consider since Lowenfeld himself was a Jewish refugee from Nazi-occupied Austria, who later became Chair of the Art Department at an African American college in Virginia (Alter-Muri, 2002, p.175). His decision to leave cultural politics out of his writings may or may not have been intentional, but most see this as a major oversight in the validity of his theories. Another factor Lowenfeld did not consider was social influence, which is central to Vygotsky’s theories. At the time when Lowenfeld’s book, Creative and Mental Growth (1947) was popular in the 1960s, media were not as prevalent as today (p.176-177). Now, children are exposed to a wide variety of social networking websites and mobile technology, which influence their development and undermine common applicability of Lowenfeld’s theory.
For example, children’s art in a small Egyptian village was found to be very different from that of children living in an urban area, and according to the researchers who conducted the study, the village children had “a restricted graphic depiction of humans” because of their lack of exposure to various media (p.176). As Professor Anna Kindler from The University of British Columbia writes, artistic development is essentially a graphic language that springs from both “psychobiological foundations” and socially influenced factors (as cited in Alter-Muri, 2002, p.176). She suggests that, as children grow physically and cognitively, they develop the ability to create forms and images, but the exposure to the graphic language of their peers and mentors is equally important.
If we consider graphic representation as the basis of art education, in what meaningful way does the postmodern educator present this to their students? Engaging in conversation is perhaps quite obvious, but in public education, the direction of the language used in classrooms is often one-way, from the teacher to the student. Many argue for the need of a multi-directional use of language: as author Annette Swann writes, “The concept of knowledge has never been verifiable through one’s perception, but rather it gains clarity through negotiation with others” (2008, p.36).
The Reggio Emilia approach to teaching is representative of postmodern theories on culture and reality as discourse. Rather than assigning a predetermined curriculum and teaching style to the teachers and the students, postmodern discourse in education asks, “What is important to you? What do you want to learn today?,” taking students’ questions and concerns as starting points for discussion.
A concrete example of how this concept has been applied in education is at the Reggio Emilia Schools. These pre-schools were founded in the 1940s in Northern Italy and have inspired countless like-minded schools around the world. The central philosophy is that children learn through a discovery-based method by acting on their surrounding environment (Swan, 2008, p.36). By removing the traditional authoritarian role of the teacher and replacing it with a mentor or guidance role, children actually come to the teacher with what they want to learn. According to Swann, the Reggio Emilia approach focuses strongly on the expressive media of the arts and uses the arts as a method of communication within student-teacher relationships.
The founder of the Reggio Emilia Schools, Loris Malaguzzi (1998) labelled the communicative arts approach the hundred languages because of the in-depth capacity and expressive vocabulary of each learning medium. Reggio Emilia students have been able to translate multiple themes of interest across several media languages into “poetic understandings” […] and preschool [aged] children’s precocious artistic abilities, astute perceptual awareness and general advanced expression in the visual arts have appeared to be that of children many years older. (p. 36-37)
The Reggio Emilia approach to teaching is representative of postmodern theories on culture and reality as discourse. Rather than assigning a predetermined curriculum and teaching style to the teachers and the students, postmodern discourse in education asks, “What is important to you? What do you want to learn today?,” taking students’ questions and concerns as starting points for discussion. This method of teaching allows learning to be open-ended, and collaborative, and as research has shown, proves to be effective in children’s learning (p.37). Similar to the Reggio Emilia approach is the Montessori approach. Maria Montessori was an Italian physician and educator who worked closely with children with special needs. In 1907, she founded the first Montessori school in Rome, under the philosophy that all children are born with an innate motivation to develop and learn, similar to the beliefs of Piaget and Lowenfeld (O’Donnell & al., 2008, p. 39-40). While growing up, children are closely in tune with their surroundings. Therefore to encourage the greatest potential growth and development, children must be surrounded by a pleasant, nurturing environment (Bates & Lewis, 2009, p. 144).
To conclude, what I have learned from this research is that postmodern theory allows for different approaches to pedagogy. I believe this is key when considering that no child or community is the same, therefore as art educators, we must recognize and respond to diversity as a predominant part of contemporary society. By adopting a critical awareness to social constructs such as communication and language – including visual languages – we can support a meaningful approach to a child’s social and cognitive development.
Alter-Muri, S. (2002). Viktor Lowenfeld revisited: A review of Lowenfeld’s preschematic, schematic and gang age stages. American Journal of Art Therapy, 40(3), p. 170-192.
Ashcroft, B., Griffiths, G., & Tiffin, H. (2000). Post-colonial studies: The key concepts. New York: Routledge.
Barrett, T. (1997). Modernism and postmodernism: An overview with art examples. In J. Hutchens & M. Suggs (Eds.), Art education: Content and practice in a postmodern era, (p.17-30). Washington, DC: NAEA.
Bates, J. & Lewis, S. (2009). The Study of education: An introduction. London: Continuum.
Beliavsky, N. (2006). Revisiting Vygotsky and Gardner: Realizing human potential. Journal of Aesthetic Education, 40(2), p.1-11.
Lowenfeld, V. (1947). Creative and mental growth. New York: Macmillan.
Mastusewicz, R. (2001). Seeking passage: Post-structuralism, pedagogy, ethics. New York: Teachers College Press.
O’Donnell, A. & Reeve, J. & Smith, J. (2008). Educational psychology: Reflection for action. Mississauga, On.: John Wiley & Sons Canada.
Swann, A. (2008). Objects and relations: Constructivist foundations in the Reggio Emilia Approach. Studies in Art Education, 50(1), p.36-50.
Trifonas, P., & Peters, M. (Eds.). (2004). Derrida, deconstruction and education. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.
Wink, J. (1997) Critical pedagogy: Notes from the real world. New York: Longman Publishers.
4th year, Art Education Specialization
Mais, qu’est-ce que la créativité? Si, au départ, cette recherche avait pour but de comparer les théories du développement de la créativité, elle se dirige maintenant vers un survol des visions que les auteurs ont de ce domaine.
Peu importe à qui vous le demandez, tous vous dirons que la créativité est une valeur importante pour notre société. Si vous demandez à un groupe d’enseignants en art, ils vous diront sans doute que c’est le concept le plus primordial de tous. Toutefois, demandez-leur de définir ce concept et voilà que chacun aura une interprétation différente de la chose. Le domaine de la créativité fut fortement étudié au cours des dernières décennies. Lors des années 80 plusieurs universités offraient encore des cours pour comprendre la créativité et voilà qu’en 2008 les quelques études qui traitent du sujet restent vagues et imprécises. Mais, qu’est-ce que la créativité? Si, au départ, cette recherche avait pour but de comparer les théories du développement de la créativité, elle se dirige maintenant vers un survol des visions que les auteurs ont de ce domaine. En premier lieu, elle effleurera les diverses définitions du terme, puis elle se dirigera vers un questionnement sur l’intelligence et quelques brèves explications de son utilité en enseignement et plus particulièrement en art, en abordant la question du développement de la créativité chez l’enfant.
Qu’est-ce que la créativité?
Déjà, en 1996 l’auteure Eleni Mellou déplorait l’imprécision entourant le terme de créativité. De son coté, le spécialiste en management et créativité Hubert Jaoui nous disait en 1975, que le mot créativité était plutôt récent même si la notion cachée derrière celui-ci est « ancienne et inhérente à la condition humaine » (2005, p.12). Selon Jaoui, le mot créativité semblait familier, car l’ajout de la désinence « ité » au mot créatif fait résonnance à d’autres mots comme par exemple : Le mot productivité (p. 12). Il faut dès c’est instant, établir une distinction entre l’imagination, la créativité et la création. Cette dernière est l’acte de créer. Pour Jaoui c’est « un acte divin » puisque c’est « faire à partir de rien » dans le sens de produire quelque chose (p.36). L’objet créé se voit (De Villers, 2003), par opposition à la créativité qui est souvent perçue comme une pensée ou la production d’une idée. Selon le Multidictionnaire de la langue française, la créativité serait la faculté d’invention et la capacité d’imagination de quelqu’un (De Villers, 2003). L’imagination est définie par Jaoui comme « la faculté qu’à l’esprit de produire des images » (p. 15). Si la créativité est une faculté d’invention et d’imagination alors, comment un enseignant peut-il évaluer celle-ci ? N’est-elle pas invisible? Le texte du professeur en éducation Howard Gibson est en fait une critique de ce qu’il appelle un « ill-defined term », en autres mots, un terme vide de sens (2005, p.153). Selon lui, le terme créativité peut être utilisé comme une métaphore de l’effervescence individuelle connu dans les sociétés dont l’évolution économique est importante et rapide ou encore comme synonyme de bien-être personnel (2005). Pour le professeur Herbert Gutman, la créativité est un comportement qui a pour nature même d’être spontané, interne, et ne peut être obtenu selon la volonté du sujet. Il dit aussi que l’étude du comportement créatif s’est restrainte à trois aspects : son côté phénoménologique, la production de la pensée (résolution de problèmes) et la composition des traits caractéristiques de la créativité. Le même auteur définit le comportement créatif comme n’importe quelle activité durant laquelle l’homme impose un nouvel ordre à son environnement (cité dans Mooney et Razik, 1967). Pour Jaoui, la créativité est un moyen de contrôler, d’orienter et de gérer le changement. Selon lui, la créativité est présente chez tous les hommes, puisque tous ont la capacité ou l’aptitude de créer (Jaoui, 1975). Beaucoup croient encore que la créativité est un moyen d’expression personnelle ou un moyen de comprendre ou encore de copier le monde extérieur. Il s’agirait d’un lien avec la dignité et l’expression personnelle, un moyen d’individualiser une personne et de faire d’elle un être unique qui vie sa propre vie (Cropley, 2006). La créativité définie aussi les méthodes et techniques qui stimule la création (Jaoui, 1975). Bien que la créativité soit souvent associée au milieu artistique, elle est aussi applicable hors du milieu de l’art. Le philosophe Jean-Paul Sartre dit que: « La pensée scientifique, toute préoccupée de se fondre avec la logique pure, élimine autant que possible l’imagination au profit de l’analyse » (cite dans Jaoui, 1975, p.22). Ainsi, la créativité produit souvent une création, et cette création peut être applicable à presque tous les domaines que ce soit art visuel, musique, architecture, gestion, finance et même en science, même si la méthode scientifique essaie de l’éliminer. Il va sans dire que n’importe quel scientifique se doit d’avoir de la créativité afin de faire des recherches différentes de celles de ses collègues. Jaoui nous dit qu’il n’y a pas de véritable différence entre inventer, découvrir et créer. Selon lui, la différence se retrouve principalement dans l’habitude du langage (1975). L’experte en sciences cognitives Margaret A. Boden supporte cette vision des choses en affirmant que: « …scientific discovery (and artistic creativity too) cannot be predicted » (1994, p.3).
Si l’on considérait que la créativité se trouve dans tout, pourrait-on la considérer comme étant une intelligence? Le théoriste de l’éducation Howard Gardner s’est penché sur le sujet au cours de plusieurs essais. Comme mentionné plus tôt, puisque la créativité se retrouve dans n’importe quel domaine, celle-ci intègre les neuf différentes intelligences mentionnées par Gardner: l’intelligence logicomathématique, l’intelligence spatiale, l’intelligence interpersonnelle, l’intelligence corporelle kinesthésique, l’intelligence verbo-linguistique, l’intelligence intra personnelle, l’intelligence musicale rythmique, l’intelligence naturaliste, l’intelligence existentielle (Gardner, 2003). Dans son texte «Revisiting Vygotsky and Gardner: Realizing human potential », professeure de langue et littérature Ninah Beliavsky interprète les dires de Gardner en affirmant que s’il n’y a aucune opportunité culturelle, l’intelligence ne peut se réaliser. Ainsi elle donne comme exemple Beethoven, qui sans le contexte musical précis de l’époque, n’aurait pas pu créer les oeuvres qui l’ont rendu célèbre (Beliasky, 2006).
Applications en enseignement
La découverte des intelligences multiples de Gardner est très importante en enseignement puisque celles-ci permet aux enseignants de mieux comprendre les différentes façons de comprendre et d’apprendre. Beliavsky affirme que la combinaison des théories des psychologues Lev Vygotsky et Howard Gardner permettent aux étudiants d’arriver à un niveau de développement cognitif plus élevé. Selon cette même auteure, Vygotsky était le précurseur de Gardner en croyant qu’un enfant doit être exposé à une multitude d’outils intellectuels et cognitifs tel que les langues, les mathématiques, la musique et l’art et que pour qu’un étudiant apprenne, l’enseignant doit adapter son enseignement à l’étudiant en lui permettant de rester dans le haut de sa zone de développement proximal. Ainsi, deux étudiants avec le même âge de développement mental peuvent avoir une performance équivalente lors d’un travail individuel, mais lorsqu’un adulte accompagne l’un d’entre eux, celui-ci peut offrir une meilleure performance que l’autre (Beliavsky, 2006). Selon la professeure à l’université de Sao Paulo, Institut de psychologie Marisa Takatori, dans le texte, «The implications of Winnicott’s theory of play for the work of occupational therapy’s observation with children with physical disabilities», le jeu apporte une dimension créative à l’enfant en établissant un lien entre l’imaginaire et la réalité externe. L’auteur dit que le pédiatre, psychiatre et psychanalyste britannique Donald Winnicott croit que le développement de l’enfant passe par deux facteurs; personnel et environnemental. Ainsi, selon lui, la créativité dont un jeune fait preuve à l’école passe en fait par le développement de l’imaginaire de celui-ci. Il est dit que : «Living creatively is only possible for a child based on experience of being-able to re-create the world and this, in turn, depends on the presence of another human being, at the exact moment of creation, who is careful to present him/her with fragments of the world in gradually increasing dose » (Takatori, 2007, p. 55). Autrement dit par Winnicott, les expériences de vie sont vraiment importantes dans la formation de la créativité de quelqu’un. Si l’on suit la leçon de Winnicott, l’enseignant se doit d’intégrer la créativité à l’environnement de l’enfant lors du processus d’apprentissage, mais aussi au produit de cet l’apprentissage. Pour ce faire nous devons vraiment avoir une définition concrète de la créativité en enseignement (Reid, 2004). Assumons que la créativité est une caractéristique mais, aussi un processus. Selon Reid, en tant qu’enseignant, nous devons porter attention à deux qualités: Le processus se doit d’être unique et mis en valeur (Reid, 2004,p.52). En conclusion, si plus de 50 ans d’études n’ont pas encore permis d’obtenir une définition concrète de la créativité, je ne crois pas pouvoir non plus définir ce qu’est la créativité dans cet essai. De toute évidence, je considère la créativité comme étant un sujet difficile à comprendre. Il faudra encore plusieurs études et de la recherche afin d’en savoir plus. Je crois aussi que plusieurs de ses secrets ne seront jamais livrés. Par contre, je crois pouvoir affirmer que le concept de la créativité dans le milieu scolaire se doit d’être assimilé autant par l’enseignant que par l’étudiant. Ainsi, l’adulte doit trouver une façon créative de transmettre l’opportunité aux étudiants de s’épanouir. Il doit aussi s’ouvrir ou accepter différents moyens d’expression de l’étudiant lors de remise de travaux. Si l’enseignant peut assimiler les principes de diverses théories de psychologie de l’enseignement, tel que la zone de développement proximal de Vygotsky, les multiples intelligences de Gardner, et l’importance de l’environnement de Winnicott, il pourra permettre le développement cognitif de chaque étudiant, ainsi chacun ira au bout de son potentiel intérieur. Il est vrai que ceci peut ressembler à une utopie mais, n’est-ce pas pour améliorer les connaissances des enseignements que les programmes universitaires ne cessent de s’allonger et d’en exiger toujours plus? Finalement, si je crois que la créativité ne s’apprend pas, je suis, par contre, certaine qu’elle se développe. Il va sans dire que pour un enseignant, le fait d’avoir des attentes au niveau de la créativité de ses étudiants permet de progresser mais aussi d’évaluer l’apprentissage des étudiants. Toutefois, pour ce faire, l’enseignant doit établir concrètement ses attentes à ce niveau. Ainsi, si un enseignant en art veut évaluer la créativité de ses étudiants il doit définir des critères plus précis que de simplement exiger la «créativité» tel que l’utilisation de la couleur ou encore des formes ou des symboles. La même chose s’applique pour une matière telle que les mathématiques où la méthode est plus importante que la réponse. Après tout, il peut bien y avoir plusieurs diverses façons d’obtenir une réponse.
Beliavsky, N. (2006). Revisiting Vygotsky and Gardner: Realizing human potential. The Journal of Aesthetic Education, 40(2), p.1-11. Récupéré du site ERIC Database: www.eric.ed.gov. (EJ750795).
Boden, M. A. (1994). Dimensions of creativity. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. Cropley, A. (2006). Creativity: A social approach. Roeper Review, 28(3), p.125-130, Récupéré du site Academic Search Premier database: http://search.ebscohost.com.
De Villers, M.-É. (2003). Multidictionnaire de la langue française, 4e édition, Montréal, QC: Québec Amérique.
Gardner, H. (2003). Multiple intelligences after twenty years. Article présenté à la rencontre annuelle de l’Association américaine de la recherche en éducation, tenue à Chicago, Illinois, le 21 avril, (p. 1-15).
Gardner, H. (1973). The arts and human development: A psychological study of the artistic process. New York: Wiley.
Gibson, H. (2005). What creativity isn’t: The presumptions of instrumental and individual justification for creativity in education. British Journal of Educational Studies, 53(2), p.148-16. Récupéré du site ERIC Database: www.eric.ed.gov. (EJ685177).
Jaoui, H. (1975). La créativité. Paris: Seghers.
Mooney, R. & Razik, T. (1967). Explorations in creativity. New York: Harper and Row Publishers.
Reid, A., & Petocz, P. (2004) Learning domains and the process of creativity. Australian Educational Researcher, 31(2), p.45-62. Récupéré du site ERIC Database: www.eric.ed.gov. (EJ689639)
Reinders, S. (1992). The experience of artistic creativity: A phenomenological psychological analysis. Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilm International.
Spitz, E. H. (2006). The child’s creation of a pictorial world. The Journal of Aesthetic Education, 40(1), p.120-122.
Takatori, M., & Bomtempo, E. (2007). The implications of Winnicott’s theory of play for the work of occupational therapy’s observation with children with physical disabilities. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 22(1), p.47-61. Récupéré du site ERIC Database: www.eric.ed.gov. (EJ764251).
Wickes, K., & Ward, T (2006). Measuring gifted adolescents’ implicit theories of creativity. Roeper Review, 28(3), 131-139. Récupéré du site Academic Search Premier database: http://search.ebscohost.com.
3rd year, Art Education Specialization
18” x 24”
As part of a class assignment dealing with visualization through data collection, Blissful evolution is a study on the artistic and social development of children from kindergarden through grade six by means of five-minute self portraits. From physical appearance to attitude, the brief drawings express more than we can imagine about a number of aspects pertaining to children and their perspective on school and their standpoint in society. Using the same tools within the same time frame at different periods of their life, children build a personal portfolio of their development through the artistic process which allows teachers to evaluate their progress and simultaneously becomes a reward when you hand them their Blissful evolution portfolio upon graduation.
3rd year, Double Major Art Education & Art History
acrylic paint on canvas
60” x 60”
As the selected artist for ‘Les journées de la culture à Quebec’ in 2008, I was asked to represent my idea of community. Living in Mont-Tremblant at the time inspired the mountain as the back drop for the painting which is the center of this community. The diverse androgynous figures in the foreground symbolize the diversity of individuals living within this community and by extension, the global community. They are emblems of the different ages, ethnicities and gender that shape a community’s character and personality. The colorful palette represents the changing seasons, both figuratively and metaphorically, which advance a community and build it’s history. The double panel plays on the notion of individuals coming together to form a community.
As artists, we are influenced by the world around us. We may produce work engaged with environmental issues, political content, concern for social justice, influenced by visual culture or simply intending to depict and convey beauty. We produce concepts that fit our personal style, and conceive themes based on our life experiences. We are driven by a hunger to create, a need to express, and the desire to perform.
My life as an artist is an ongoing evolution. Every morning, my brain awakes and my eyes open to a new session of exploration and stimulation, often so overwhelming that I feel winded by the marvel of our existence.
Nature’s beauty and its ruin, reciprocity and hate, the inner voice and the unconscious mind, love and deception, nostalgia and the human condition – these are the Masters, and I the apprentice. Colors trigger my imagination like bullets with dragonfly wings – fierce yet delicate, woven with symbolism and charged with emotional impact. Although I may not produce physical evidence of my passion each day, it remains in my being as an enchanting virus that infects me in the most exquisite way. It surfaces without warning, and then manifests itself through hand to the canvas, or eye to the lens. When it is done, I reflect, somewhat mesmerized by the occurrence.
My childhood art teacher used to chant a catch phrase in her classes: “Don’t rush the brush!” The class would respond “Cause the paint don’t go on smooth…!” Regardless whether her students were kids, teens or adults, or whether that particular week we were working with watercolor, chalk pastel, or soapstone carving, this motto always made sense to us. In fact, to this day I remind myself of this chant whenever I am frustrated with my work, or even with life in general. This phrase resonates with me because it suggests a perfect recipe for teaching and learning: logic, creativity, interaction, recreation, and language. In my teaching, I aim to apply these qualities, which I believe are prerequisite to any type of student’s learning of art. I believe teaching skill and technique in visual art is important, but for me, it is the overall experience of making that inspires growth and creativity.
1st year in Art Education Major
Diptych 19b & 24b
8.6” x 18”
These diptychs are part of a series made from a selection of photographs taken while traveling in Poland, Germany and Croatia. These photographs are based on various associations and ideas, while the pairing of the two images are based on formal aspects such as composition, color, shapes or lines. In Diptych 24b, the shape of the door finds accord with the shape of the dryer filled with pots and pans. The colours also serve to harmonize the two images. In Diptych 19b, the juxtaposition is based on the idea of opposition or similarity, where the live pigeons, especially the one in flight, clash with the remains of the dead pigeon on asphalt. The spread out wings seem to have been stopped in full flight.
4th year, Art Education Specialization
Memory series I & IV
silver gelatin print
8” x 9 1/2”
These two works are part of a series of photographs that use darkroom techniques to distort the ‘truth’ of a memory. Photographs are often accepted as fact, but like our own perceptions of reality, they can be altered to the point where fact blurs harmoniously with fiction. These works allude to the way our own minds take creative liberties with our memories and perceptions. Read into them as you wish – the facts are yours to interpret.