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Title: Imagination : exploring cognitive and metacognitive perspectives in relation to visual-arts education
Author: Burns, Helen Lisa
ISNI:       0000 0004 8505 4437
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2018
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In arts education, imagination is recognised as important, usually seen as a vital ingredient of arts experience, but it is less frequently defined. Grounded in artseducation practice, this thesis is a theoretical journey which prioritises 'imagination' as a focus, exploring it through paradigmatic lenses of: history, psychology and art. From within these perspectives, repeating themes, pertinent to visual-arts education, arise and are cohered towards a pragmatic understanding of imagination which empowers our approach to arts education. Exploration reveals imagination as our ability to connect mental images towards the production of mental categories and the cohering of concepts, indicating that it is a fundamental aspect of cognition and metacognition. We see the dependent relationships between imagination and psychological development, everyday cognition and metacognition and how their inherent syncretistic processes are modelled in and can be enabled by conditions which are present in the visual arts. These conditions relate to the malleable nature of mental imagery, its necessity in cognition and its physical manifestation as art, to the hypothetical nature of knowledge construction and 'space' given to this and to the use of visual metaphor as a vehicle for imagination. The interpretation or creation of visual art in these conditions nurtures an iterative process of mental transformation, akin to metacognition, which can be personal and also sociocultural. The key implication is that by exercising our imaginations through the cognitive and metacognitive activity of art, we can improve our imagination generally. Imagination is fundamental to cognition, so developing imagination will develop better learning. The argument implies a practice-based need for increased understanding of imagination as cognitively fundamental and of how visual-arts education is well-placed to nurture this. In turn, this implies a need to address the status and implementation of visualarts learning within education.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available