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Title: Beautiful little moments : a principally ethnographic study of eight East Anglian artists' pedagogies
Author: Denmead, Tyler
ISNI:       0000 0004 0135 5145
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2012
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This research investigates artists’ pedagogies to address the limited understanding in the education field of how artists enact their pedagogies, why they value them, and how they describe them. I purposively selected eight people from a UK-based charitable organisation that offers creative projects for children and adults in and beyond schools. I used a principally ethnographic multiphased research design and adopted methods of data collection and analysis from grounded theory to progres- sively focus on artists’ interests that have been overlooked by education research. In the exploratory phase of research, I conducted 13 participant-led, unstructured interviews with eight artists from the organisation. I progressively focused on salient concepts that emerged from this phase through participant observation and further interviews in subsequent phases. I observed six of the eight artists from the exploratory phase as they facilitated 20 workshops in total across five sites. Each workshop averaged approximately two hours in length. I observed three or- ganisational retreats when these eight artists collectively planned, described and discussed workshops. I attended a daylong conference hosted by the organisation on outdoor learning, which included presentations by two artists I observed. I participated in two artist-led reflective conversations when five artists and three site partners discussed workshops I observed. I conducted seven semi-structured interviews with three partners and three workshop participants. To represent their pedagogies, I selected three of the five sites for descriptive cases studies that featured four of the eight artists working in outdoor settings. These workshops served, for the most part, nursery and primary school children along- side nursery nurses, teachers, and members of their families such as parents and grandparents. These four artists member checked these descriptive case studies through additional interviews. I presented a separate framework that interprets themes that emerged in these three descriptive cases. Using a nested case study approach, I included the perspectives of the eight artists who participated in the study to interpret these themes: space, time, material, body, and language. I used a focus group with six of the eight artists, as well as separate interviews with the founder and director, to examine similarities and differences in interpretation and strengthen the trustworthiness of my account. This research found that these artists attempt to create conditions for open-ended enquiry across five dimensions—space, time, material, body, and language—so that participants experience immersive and pleasurable “beautiful little moments” when they extend possibilities for being in ways that could not have been prescribed or judged. The artists positioned their pedagogies as a critique of a market-driven ethos pervading institutions, particularly schools, that have narrowed opportunities for being.
Supervisor: Swann, Mandy. ; Hickman, Richard. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Artist pedagogy ; Community arts