04 SES 02 B, Learning Environments
There has been a lively international dialogue concerning the potentiality of artists working in partnership with educational contexts, underpinned by an assumption that traditional pedagogical approaches fail to realise the creative potential of young people in general, and the vulnerable and excluded in particular.
This paper presentation discuss three key themes emerging from a thematic analysis of four research projects involving artists working with vulnerable young people (looked after young people, students with special needs, students with mental health needs and young people not in education, employment or training) in educational contexts.
Drawing upon interviews with young people, educators, artists and a range of visual methods in addition to an international review of literature, it argues that artists create safe pedagogic spaces in contrast to traditional educational activities but it will also raise questions about what constitutes such a safe space for a vulnerable participant.
It will then show that skilled and experienced artists often mediate dichotomous pedagogical positions, characterised by competency and performance. It will employ the metaphor of a trellis to illustrate how artists can provide both structure and support whilst allowing creative freedom and growth.
Finally, it will discuss the social impact of the arts through the lens of social-capital theory, highlighting the utility of the approach whilst also indicating areas for critical refinement, particularly when grouping vulnerable young people together.
The paper will be of interest to international researchers and policmakers grappling with issues around school organisation, pedagogic practice, arts education, creative partnerships and inclusion pertinent to education across the globe in a rapidly changing century.
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