2010

This doctoral study is an investigation of my “lived experience” of art-making with children as an artist, teacher and researcher. My research project focuses on the relationship between the artist and the child. It is an inquiry into the nature of my practice which encompassed children as the participants in, and audience for, the work. The research was driven by the following emergent questions: “What is the nature of the relationship that occurs between adult artist and child during the creation of a collaborative artwork?”; “How might the experience of collaborating with children inform how the artist feels about his or her art practice?”; and “In what way does the experience of the children impact on how the artist feels about his or her art practice?” The visual outcomes of the research are presented online at http://sfod.net. The final outcome of the research can be conceptualised as a transformation of all the research components; myself (from educator vs. artist to a/r/tographer); the children (from objects/subjects to active participants and social actors); the “spacing” of the encounter (from “learning environment” to “potential/creative/play space”) and; the art objects (from semiotic system to means of social interaction). The transformational outcome of the research has been the development of “a critical pedagogic competence: knowing how to act tactfully in pedagogic situations on the basis of a carefully edified thoughtfulness” (Van Manen, 1990, p.8). This dissertation draws on literature from diverse fields including phenomenology, psychoanalysis, aesthetics, children’s geography, gallery education, creativity and interactivity. It adopts an A/R/Tographic (Irwin & de Cosson, 2004) approach which interweaves images, stories and critical theories to arrive at research insights.