29 SES 04, Arts Education and the Construction of Identities
Time to time in social and educational sciences a new turn arrives to the research agenda. This turn can be occasional or more permanent. This seems the case of the spatial turn, that coming from Geography involves a reworking of the notion and significance of spatiality (Warf & Arias, 2008: 1, paraphrased). From this frame, we arrive to visual cartographies both, as an epistemological tool and as a rhizomatic research strategy, with a long trajectory in social sciences and education research (Paulston, & Liebman, 1994; Ruitenberg, 2007; McKinnon, 2011; Ulmer& Koro-Ljungberg, 2015). Visual cartographies have also an extended presence on maps -mythical, relational, spatial, of the known, topological, … (Biblioteca Nacional de España, 2017) and in art practices (CaixaForum, 2012) to depict physic, mental, and emotional territories, as well as for exploring social and political issues; body and life experiences, and for mapping the intangible and generating concepts.
We put in dialog these various notions and practices of cartography with Guattari’ s approach of ‘schizoanalytic cartographies’ (Guattari , 2012), considered as maps which refuse a fixed and invariant domain of subjectivity, but are rather relational configurations, which change state and status as a function of particular assemblages. As Deleuze, who considers maps as spaces of becoming, where the unconscious is ‘uncover’ through cartographic performances (Ulmer and Koro-Ljungbeg, 2015: 139), Guattari contributes with this book to on-going debates in contemporary social and educational research, with regards to abstraction, affect, cartography, subjectivity, and theory.
From this revision we arrive to a notion of cartography as an 'apparatus of capture' that territorializes the new and the singular and can show assemblages, "multiplicities or aggregates of intensities" (Deleuze & Guattari, 1980/2000: 15), which are in danger of being captured by strata. From this approach we consider cartography as a powerful and versatile representation of personal/social learning trajectories; as a connector of experiences and knowledge of design, abstraction and translation, as well as an increaser of knowledge and appreciation toward oneself and one's learning environment (Onsés, 2014). In that sense, cartographies are not just an elicitation visual method but as space of entanglement in which all these substances –bodies and things, texts and situations, affects and intensities, movements and crossroads, ideas and manners of doing, etc., remain assembled, within a processual, relational and performative ontology of becoming (Atkinson, 2012).
This onto-episteme-methodological frame is part of the research project How do Secondary School Teachers Learn: Educational Implications and Challenges for Addressing Social Change- APREN-DO (MINECO. EDU2015-70912-C2-1-R, in which, in a first moment, we invited secondary school teachers to generate visual cartographies of those scenarios inside and outside school where they learn, and to think about what they value as source of knowledge and experience. In a second moment, a group of teachers, who are involved since several years in an experience of generating pedagogical knowledge, -and who knew about the research process from one of the presenters of this paper-, expressed their desire of being part of an experience of creating and sharing visual cartographies of their biographical learning trajectories. It is the process of this group, and the relations stablished around the cartographical experience, what we will account in this paper, where we try to respond the following questions:
- Which are the contributions of artistic and visual strategies to the narrative of teachers’ biographical-learning trajectories?
- How teachers are affected by the displacement generated by this Artistic Research move?
- In which ways the cartographic process affects teachers’ learning gazes and positionalities?
- Which are the potentialities of Arts based research foundations and strategies to teacher professional development?
The research was carried out, as part of a teacher developed process, based on the experience of creating visual cartographies by 11 teachers (working in different settings of the educational system), in the six encounters held so far, as it is an ongoing process: 1. In the first one, we share the meaning of the cartographies and the idea of learning trajectories. After an intense conversation, we plan the next meeting, to which they would bring materials (objects, visual and textual memories…,) to configure the cartographies. 2. At the second meeting, which took place in a design classroom of the Faculty of Fine Arts, each teacher chose a place -on a table or on the floor- where develop the cartography. While the process was going on, the teachers were moving around, sharing impressions and reflections and opening dialogues on what each one was doing. So, what could be an individual process became - as is characteristic of the life of this group - a place of encounter and care. The whole process was video recorded, photographed and field notes were taken for building a collective memory of this learning (and formative) event (Atkinson,2012). 3. At the third and fourth meetings, each teacher presented the meaning and decisions placed on the cartography they had made. The rest of the group interacted, sharing resonances and wonderings (Greenblatt, 1992). These polyphonic conversations were video-recorded, and the verbal exchanges transcribed. These transcriptions were included in a record, with photographic testimonies of the realization of the cartographies and the photographic visual details taken during these presentations to the group. These sessions took place in a large room in the Faculty of Fine Arts, which allowed all the cartographies to be placed on the walls, as if it were an art gallery, being able to stand and talk around each cartography. 4. In the fifth session, teachers went on sharing the resonances and wonderings generated in each of them during the process of building the cartographies, as well as the value of sharing with others. Previous the meeting teachers received the document containing the transcription and images of the whole process. 5. At the sixth meeting, we talk about the main aspects that stood out and about how the whole process had affected them. In this encounter ‘corporeal’, relational and biographical meanings configured as constitutive of their trajectories of learning.
Thinking through these spaces we were able to locate moments, relations and experiences of learning, but not how learning takes place. Teachers’ cartographies tell stories about where, with whom and with what they learn, but it is unclear –unknown- what they tell us about how they learn. However, we do not consider this ‘unknown’ as a limitation but, as a possibility for “constantly being challenged by doubts about what we don’t know. This is what effective research does, it helps us see that uncertainty and curiosity not only motivate new inquiries, but also inspires artistic impulses.” (Sullivan and Gu, 2017: 50). Visual cartographies, taken not as a prescriptive navigational formula, but as a fluid, dynamic process for exploration and experimenting in research, do not seek to locate or trace meanings but “to extend beyond normative forms of theorizing and representing” (Ulmer and Koro-Ljungbeg, 2015: 139). This approach prevents in relation of “the use of mapping as a way of describing and interpreting any kind of learning” (Sefton-Green, 2016). Firstly, because teachers are who represent their own trajectories, being able to escape of the colonial discourse of the maps, by using appropriation and transformation strategies; secondly, because those cartographies tell stories about where, with whom and with what secondary school teachers learn, but it is unclear what they tell us about how they learn, because, as (Biesta, 2013) says, learning is not something natural, but contextually constructed. In this case, visual cartographies are not only visual and textual form of expression, but a process of collaboration and generating concepts which go beyond the visual representation. For teachers and researchers, this means, “in a sense putting [ourselves] at risk, becoming unrecognised within the normalising frameworks that govern [our] practice” (Atkinson, 2011: 5).
Atkinson, D. (2011). Art, equality and learning: Pedagogies against the state. Rotterdam: Sense. Atkinson, D. (2012). Contemporary Art in Education: The New, Emancipation and Truth. The International Journal of Art & Design Education, 31 (1), 5-18. Biblioteca Nacional de España (2017). CartografÍas de lo desconocido (Carthographies of the unknown). Madrid: Biblioteca Nacional de España. Biesta, G. J.J. (2013). The Beautiful Risk of Education. Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2013. CaixaForum (2012). Contemporary Cartographies. Drawing the though. Barcelona: Fundació La Caixa. Deleuze, G. & Guattari, F. (2004). A thousand plateaus: Capitalism and schizophrenia. Translated by B. Massumi. London: Continuum. Greenblat, S. (1992). Resonance and Wonder. In, I. Karp & S. D. Levine (Eds.), Exhibiting Cultures (pp. 42-56). Washington & London: Smithsonian Institute Press. Guattari, F. (2012). Schizoanalytic Cartographies. London: Bloomsbury. McKinnon, I. (2011). Expanding Cartographic Practices in the Social Sciences. In E. Margolis and L. Pauwels (ed). The SAGE Handbook of Visual Research Methods edited by, 452-473. London: SAGE, 2011. Onsés, J. (2014). Subjective Cartographies: Mapping the network of neighbourhood relationships in the neighbourhood of Poble Sec. Conference Mapping Culture. Communities, Sites and Stories. Universidade de Coimbra, Coimbra (Portugal). May 28-30. Paulston, R. G., & Liebman, M. (1994). An Invitation to Postmodern Social Cartography,” Comparative Education Review, 38 (2), 215-232. Ruitenberg, C. (2007). Here be dragons: Exploring Cartography in Educational Theory and Research. Complicity: An International Journal of Complexity and Education, 4, 7-24. Sefton-Green, J. (2016). Representing learning lives: what does it mean to map learning journeys? International Journal of Educational Research, 84, 111-118, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijer.2016.05.003 Sullivan, G. & Gu, M. (2017). “The possibilities of Research-The promise of Practice,” Art Education, 70 (2), 49-57. Ulmer, J. B. & Koro-Ljungberb, M. (2015). “Writing Visually Through (Methodological) Events and Cartography,” Qualitative Inquiry, 2 (2),138-152, http://doi.10.1177/1077800414542706 Warf, B. & Arias, S., (ed) (2008). The Spatial Turn: Interdisciplinarity Perspectives. London and New York: Routledge.
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