ERG SES F 08, Parallel Session F 08
This paper will explore possibilities offered by emergent, art-informed methods in researching with teaching professionals – in particular, the potentiality of these types of research methods to connect with, investigate and make visible aspects of teaching that are embodied, uncertain, and dynamic. In engaging with these ideas, I draw on Margaret Somerville’s work around ‘postmodern emergence’ (2007, 2008) in research processes, where research is a “process that cannot begin with logic, but comes from a place of not knowing, informed by intuition and responsiveness” (Somerville, 2008, p. 210), along with authors who argue for arts-informed methodologies that harness “the importance of diverse languages for gaining insights into the complexities of the human condition” (Cole & Knowles, 2008, p. 59) by engaging with “forms of representation [that] give us access to expressive possibilities that would not be possible without their presence” (Eisner, 2008, p. 5).
The research methods explored here are a fragment of a larger case study from my doctoral research. My research is concerned particularly with illuminating time, space and place, knowledge and relationships as elements of pedagogical practice that may have become normalised, or perceived as natural or inevitable ways of ‘doing’ school, and exploring other ways in which it might be possible to imagine and enact pedagogy in the early years of school. Using Deleuze and Guattari’s (1987) notion of territorialisation, I am interested in exploring the ways in which the profession of education marks out and enacts a particular territory of ‘the early years of primary school’. Through case study research in a diverse, inner-urban community in the Australian state of Victoria, my focus is on the potential possibilities offered in pushing through some of these ‘taken for granted’ elements of the territories of the early years of school and finding ways to follow lines of flight to deterritorialisations and reterritorialisations that may offer new ways of imagining and enacting schooling.
I will focus in this paper on the emergent research processes involved in the creation of a sculpture by four teachers who took part in this research, and who sought to visually represent their shared understandings around pedagogy in the early years of primary school. Drawing together threads of ‘data’ from the time in order to explore the emergent nature of these creative processes of researching and artmaking, I will analyse some of the ways in which these teachers struggled (through conversation, experimentation, negotiation, drawings, sculpture) to make visible and concrete that which is felt and known, but not easily contained and articulated. These processes of articulation, negotiation and creation involved interactions that were at once wonderfully metaphoric but also concrete, practical, created, and embodied as the teachers considered ways to represent the abstract in the concrete genre of sculpture, then to create the sculpture, and finally to exhibit the final product of their sculpture to a wider audience.
Barone, T., & Eisner, E. (2006). Arts-based educational research. In J. Green, G. Camilli & P. Elmore (Eds.), Handbook of complementary methods in educational research. Washington DC: American Educational Research Association. Bown, K., & Sumsion, J. (2005). Teachers as professionals in the regulatory environment: Experiences in early childhood services. Paper presented at the AARE. Cole, A., & Knowles, J. G. (2008). Arts-informed Research. In J. G. Knowles & A. Cole (Eds.), Handbook of the arts in qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage. Cole, A., Neilsen, L., Knowles, J. G., & Luciani, T. C. (Eds.). (2004). Provoked by art: Theorizing arts-informed research. Nova Scotia: Backalong Books. Diamond, C., & Mullen, C. (1999). Prologue: An invitation to an in-quest. In C. Diamond & C. Mullen (Eds.), The postmodern educator: Arts-based inquiries and teacher development. Eisner, E. (2008). Art and knowledge. In J. G. Knowles & A. Cole (Eds.), Handbook of the arts in qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage. Flyvbjerg, B. (2006). Five misunderstandings about case-study research. Qualitative Inquiry, 12(2), 219-245. Lind, U. (2005). Identity and power, 'meaning', gender and age: Children's creative work as signifying practice. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 6(3), 256-268. Richardson, L. (1997). Fields of play: Constructing an academic life. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. Rinaldi, C. (2006). In dialogue with Reggio Emilia: Listening, researching and learning. Oxon: Routledge. Somerville, M. (2008). Waiting in the chaotic place of unknowing: articulating postmodern emergence. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 21(3), 209-220. Thomas, S. M. (2004). Of earth and flesh and bones and breath: Landscapes of embodiment and moments of re-enactment. Nova Scotia: Backalong Books.
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