NW 29 - B: The Materiality in Arts-Education Research

NW 29 Research on Arts Education

The Materiality in Arts-Education Research

Materiality in arts and educational context is being addressed in different countries in Europe and elsewhere. From the arts & craft proposals to new materialisms research framework, there is the need to think in which ways materiality affects research. In which way materiality brings other conceptualizations, ontoespistemologies, methodologies and ethics in research (including more-than-human perspectives).

The call is especially addressed to promote the organisation of collaborative sessions with the contribution of researchers from various European countries in the form of symposia, research workshops, and round tables on this topic.

The Call
New materialism is a theoretical reordering of the humanist and human-centred positioning of subjects and objects. This approach  goes beyond the traditional humanist concept of the subject/object divide, in which the human and the non-human are conceived of in a dualistic or oppositional way. Instead, new materialism proposes a relational conception of human beings and objects, which takes into account the way in which objects, and not only subjects (read human beings), have agency or possess the capacity to act on and influence others.

New materialism is also seen as an imaginative approach to research that is based on being with things (Bennett, 2010, 2012). This turn to the material and materiality asks the researcher to pay close attention to what things do with us, not just what they mean (Hood and Kraehe, 2017). For this purpose new materialism can help us to conceive of arts education practice as research by introducing new materialist concepts for thinking about the power of things in arts education and arts research.

The new materialist orientation of enquiry embraces contemplation and speculation based on acute attention and wonder. These sensitising modes of engagement are necessary for developing artistic practice and creative research with objects that can account for both the palpable material reality and the cultural and ideological effects of art (Barrett & Bolt, 2012).

This "material turn" (Barrett & Bolt, 2012, p. 5) signals also a radical ethical and political awakening that challenges the assumptions and methods of traditional philosophies of (art education) research. It situates the researcher (teacher, artist, student) as no longer separate from or more valuable than the materials and objects with which they interact. Instead, the division between the human and the non-human ceases to exist, and new ways of knowing the self and the object emerge as interbeings (Anderson & Guyas, 2012). From this approach several authors such as Hood and Kraehe (2017), Hickey-Moody & Page (2016) call for an art education curriculum and art education research that not only assumes that materials have meaning, but begins to account for the ways in which "the human and the non-human, people and things - have material vitality and agency." (Hood and Kraehe, 2017, p. 33). Taking into account this frame, the aim of this special call is to invite participants to take this perspective into account and submit proposals and papers on:

  • Research based on Arts Education experiences that question or present issues related to materiality.
  • Research highlighting the role of the materiality in arts-education research.
  • Artistic and educational research linked to projects that promote the new materialism approach.

Contact Person(s)
Judit Onsès : jonses.edu(at)gmail.com

Anderson, T., & Guyas, A. S. (2012). Earth education, interbeing and deep ecology. Studies in Art Education, 53(3), 223-245.

Barrett, E., & Bolt, B. (2012). Carnal knowledge: Towards a “new materialism” through the arts.  I. B. Tauris & Co

Bennett. J. (2010). Vibrant matter.  Duke University  Press.

Bennett, J. (2012). Powers of the hoard: Further notes on material agency. In J. J. Cohen (Ed.), Animal, vegetable, mineral: Ethics and objects (pp. 237-269). Oliphaunt Books.

Hood, E.J. & Kraehe, A.M.  (2017). Creative Matters: New Materialism in Art Education Research, Teaching, and Learning. Art Education,  70(2), 32-38.

Hickey-Moody, A., & Page, T. (Eds.). (2016). Arts, pedagogy and cultural resistance: New materialisms. Rowman & Littlefield.

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Interview with Link Convenor 2019