29 SES 04, The neoliberalization of arts education: resistance and critique
The term “artist-teacher” first appeared during the 19th century and it’s frequently used in the fields of art, museums, art history and arts education. It refers to an individual who dedicates himself to the activities of making and teaching art and whose carrying out involves a commitment to, or a belief in, such dual practise (Daichendt, 2010; Thornton, 2005). Nevertheless, the concept seems to emphasise the teaching of the art’s overlaying with the artistic practise, thus enabling the existence of a space where Arts Education can happen, recurring to the artistic practises so as to think within the classroom. In that way, the term “artist-teacher” is materialised in a subject which differs from the art teacher, as it’s a reflexive practitioner that understands, in a richer and more inclusive manner, the teaching of art’s multifaceted nature (Thornton, 2005; Daichendt, 2009).
Considering the actual interest in adopting the artist-teacher model in Arts Education, be it through performances and artistic residencies which have resulted, since the 1990’s, in an increase in collaborations between artists and schools (Rabkin, 2010), or by the growth of Postgraduate Arts Education courses which value the artist-teacher model (Tom Anderson, Elliot Eisner & Sally McRoriel, 1998), it becomes quite relevant to intersect the discourses which appeal to introduce this model in the 21st century with the artist-teacher’s nature. (Daichendt, 2009; Zwirn, 2006).
The literature committed with the artist-teacher model within the educational field tends to make the benefits as a whole positive feature in terms of the integration of the arts within school culture and in the curricula (even in schools that have full-time art teachers), to the teachers’ professional development, not to mention the improvement of the classroom’s environment and of the academic performance. It thus seems misleading to believe certified art teachers may reach such results without the artists’ presence. (Upitis, 2005; Rabkin, 2010; Easton, 2003).
In contrast, studying the artist-teacher’s nature reveals that, even though they recognise the differences between the artistic practices developed within educational institutions, with an educational purpose (Efland, 1976) and the art which is made outside of them, struggling so as to relate them, they often perpetuate the teaching of their skills and knowledges in a master-apprentice manner. Besides, many artists are seen to be highly dependent on the sponsorships given to education in contemporary societies (whether it be in schools, galleries, or public museums which have educational programmes), which may justify the continued stand for the arts within schools (Thornton, 2005, Siegesmund, 1998).
If the current discourses lean towards the need for the educational institutions and systems’ support so as to improve the artist-teachers’ effectiveness, despite his nature revealing contradictions born out of an identity crisis, (Anderson, 1981; Thornton, 2012), it might be meaningful to analyse a genealogy of the artist-teacher, so as to look out for leads which may elucidate us on this subject’s roots, fragilities, and potentialities in today’s world, and, above all, on the discourses being weaved about them.
A qualitative (or interpretative) perspective was considered as the most adequate for this research. Given that this research is inserted within the field of Arts Education, the collection and interpretation of data must be highlighted before the measuring of their results. In other words, this posture of researching prefers the description of phenomena based on the gathering of information which may appear as words or images as opposed to the addressing of numerical data. In this field, research occurs in the attempt of understanding situations, experiences and perceptions, without generalisations whatsoever, but rather particularising a certain object of study, so as to explore its singularity and complexity. (Bogdan e Biklen, 1994). For the above-mentioned reasons, the research concerns the collection of a variety of perspectives and points of view of different individuals, be it through their words (written and spoken) or through images within an intended context. As such, the existent literature review, as well as the interviews and the focus groups, represent crucial moments so as to understand the processes, the phenomena and the products related to the research object (Amado, 2017).
According to the collection and analysis of the data, this presentation aims to the definition of the possible profiles for the artist-teacher figure, i.e., understand the path this dual figure has taken since its apparition until the present day. Through the narratives of the current artist-teacher, and of the agents involved in the artistic-educational process, it’s expected to understand his/her relationship with school and with the artistic field, by describing the challenges and the possibilities both fields represent to himself/herself. In sum, different kinds of approaching this dual practise will be registered.
Anderson, C. H. (1981). The identity crisis of the art educator: Artist? Teacher? Both?. Art Education, 34(4), 45-48. Daichendt, G. J. (2009). Redefining the artist-teacher. Art Education, 62(5), 33-38. Daichendt, G. James (2010). Artist-Teacher: a Philosophy for Creating and Teaching. Bristol:Intellect Ltd. Easton, H. (2003). The purpose of partnerships: An outline of benefits and shortcomings. Teaching artist journal, 1(1), 19-25. Efland, Arthur (1976) The School Art Style: a functional analysis. Studies in Art Education, 17(2), 37-44 Rabkin, N. (2010). Artists, Art Teachers, Schools, and Art: Can They Live Together?. Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, 7(1), 43-47. Siegesmund, R. (1998). Why do we teach art today? Conceptions of art education and their justiﬁcation. Studies in Art Education, 39(3), 197–214. Thornton, A. (2005). The artist teacher as reflective practitioner. International Journal of Art & Design Education, 24(2), 166-174. Thornton, A. (2012). What is it to be an Artist Teacher in England Today?. World Journal of Education, 2(6), 39. Tom Anderson, Elliot Eisner & Sally McRoriel (1998) A Survey of Graduate Study in Art Education, Studies in Art Education, 40:1, 8-25 Upitis, R. (2005). Experiences of Artists and Artist-Teachers Involved in Teacher Professional Development Programs. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 6(8), 1-12. Zwirn, S. G. (2006). Artist or art teacher: The role of gender in identity formation and career choice. Teaching Artist Journal, 4(3), 167-175. Amado, J. (2017). Manual de Investigação Qualitativa em Educação 3ª edição. Imprensa da Universidade de Coimbra/Coimbra University Press. Biklen, S., & Bogdan, R. C. (1994). Investigação qualitativa em educação. Porto: Porto Editora, 134-301.
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