07 SES 13 A, Creative Connections Dissemination: An Inquiry Process on Citizenship, Education, and Contemporary Art
This paper presents some findings from a three-year study, Creative Connections, which worked with learners (aged 8-18) in 25 schools in six European countries to promote inter-country dialogue in order to enhance understanding of different perspective of European citizenship. Using schemes of work developed during a carefully designed action research phase in the school art lessons, learners explored different aspects of identity and created artworks in a range of media which expressed their perceptions and ideas. Learners shared these images via a secure website and were able to communicate with peers of the same age via secure blogs. The usual barrier of language was overcome with the use of automatic machine translation applied to all blogs so that learners could write in their own language and translate comments from peers, thus communications could happen in real time. Images created in managed, research situations tell particular stories (Arizpe and Styles, 2006) and provide insights into their perceptions of European belonging, but the learners’ blogs reflecting on their artwork often told other ‘stories’. Using thematic analysis (adapted from Van Leewen, 2005) structured to focus on the key themes of: Identity, Political Comment and Belonging, this paper will provide examples and analysis from the blogs written by the learners in the 25 schools. The emerging results are suggesting that learners’ perceptions can change through such online engagement, but that there are pressing issues relating to their everyday lives which make them concerned for their future. When political or social issues dominate their day to day, lives the learners seem less interested in interrogating a notion of citizen identity; thus this is a significant problem for educators who are attempting to ameliorate such fears in classrooms across Europe.
Arizpe, E. And Styles, M. (2006) Children reading pictures: interpreting visual images. London: Routledge. Keating, A. (2014) Education for Citizenship in Europe. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Mason, R., Richardson, M., and Collins, FM. (2012) School Children's Visualisations of Europe. European Educational Research Journal. 11(1) 145-165. Van Leewen, T. (2005) Introducing Social Semiotics. London: Routledge.
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