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A study of dress through artistic inquiry : provoking understandings of artist, researcher, and teacher… Barney, Daniel T. 2009

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A STUDY OF DRESS THROUGH ARTISTIC INQUIRY: PROVOKING UNDERSTANDINGS OF ARTIST, RESEARCHER, AND TEACHER IDENTITIES  by Daniel T. Barney B.F.A, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA M.A., Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY  in  The Faculty of Graduate Studies (Curriculum Studies)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver) June 2009 ©Daniel T. Barney, 2009  ABSTRACT  What understandings are provoked by concepts of dress when related to artist, researcher, and teacher identities? An artist/researcher/teacher recruited a public secondary school art teacher and her students to join this participatory study. Participants were invited to investigate concepts of dress while inquiring through artistic processes. The written rendering of this dissertation is a mashup inquiry—a nondeterministic bricolage or ludic play—of images, text, and diverse theories, which gives rise to understandings of artist, researcher, and teacher identities. A key understanding from this study is the redescription of artist, researcher, teacher, and student identities. For example, redescribing a teacher as one who occasions learning rather than solely transmits fixed bodies of knowledge generates new understandings. Teaching and learning co-exist as neither fully separate roles within the identities of teacher and student nor as perfectly balanced and equal; they are processes that are relational, shifting, and shared. Likewise, as inquiry and research are redescribed alongside artist, teacher, and student identities, spaces of the possible or as-yetunimagined emerge. The qualitative arts-based research methodology a/r/tography, which is utilized as the primary methodology in this study, is also conceptualized here, as a pedagogical strategy where the teacher becomes teacher-researcher and students become studentresearchers. This places inquiry at the center of the curriculum. Participants in this approach to education work as independent and capable a/r/tographers moving toward an emancipatory form of artistic creation and inquiry. This study investigates how a  ii  secondary art course centered in inquiry can open perception to new possibilities as opposed to viewing a teaching/learning relationship as simply shaping perception to existing frames. Anti-oppressive forms of pedagogy may surface when the classroom is decentralized and the inquiry is nonlinear and outcomes are not pre-determined. A graphic version of this dissertation was also created and can be found at http://m1.cust.educ.ubc.ca/Artography/phd.php. The juxtaposition of the standardized format alongside this graphic version highlights how knowledge and communication are managed and maintained. Form and structure, like dress and the format of this dissertation, are explored within this study as both potentially liberating and potentially oppressive.  iii  TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT........................................................................................................................ ii TABLE OF CONTENTS................................................................................................... iv LIST OF FIGURES .............................................................................................................x ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS............................................................................................. xiv DEDICATION................................................................................................................. xvi INTRODUCTION ...............................................................................................................1 Dress ........................................................................................................................2 Form.........................................................................................................................4 Un/Folding Questions ..............................................................................................6 Language..................................................................................................................9 Methodology ..........................................................................................................12 Mashup Inquiry..........................................................................................14 Relationality...............................................................................................16 Understandings ..........................................................................................20 Dress and Styling as Metaphors for the Dissertation as Artifact ...........................27 OUTLINING THE STUDY: ACCOUNTING FOR ONESELF.......................................31 Pseudonyms ...........................................................................................................31 Himation Secondary...............................................................................................33 Opening the Invitation ...........................................................................................36 Un/Doing the I .......................................................................................................37 Humiliating the Ego...................................................................................40 The Self Divided: The Hydradic “I”..........................................................42 Naming the Artist .......................................................................................43 A/R/TOGRAPHY AS A PEDAGOGICAL STRATEGY.................................................51 Why A/r/tography in the Art Classroom?..............................................................51 A Shift in Attitude: Personal Perpetual Reconfiguration ..........................53 A Hybrid in Flux....................................................................................................56 A/r/tographic Un/folding ...........................................................................57 iv  Transactional/Transformational Education and Relationality..................61 Action Research as a Living Practice........................................................65 Phenomenology and Hermeneutics Open Understandings .......................67 Narrative Inquiry .......................................................................................70 Concepts as Renderings .........................................................................................77 Openings ....................................................................................................79 Living Inquiry.............................................................................................83 Reverberations ...........................................................................................84 Metaphor and Metonymy ...........................................................................86 Excess.........................................................................................................88 Contiguity...................................................................................................89 A/r/tography as a Teaching/Learning Strategy ......................................................90 Emerging Theory Amidst Inquiry Practices ..............................................92 A Commitment to a Relational This and That............................................93 Schooling and Schools ...............................................................................94 Attending to Context ..................................................................................96 Teaching and Learning as a Rhizomatic and Relational Activity..........................99 SARTORIAL ARTISTIC INQUIRY ..............................................................................104 What Is Fitting? What Is Suitable? ......................................................................107 Investments ..........................................................................................................110 On Living Artistically ..........................................................................................111 Thinking Artistically Through Clothing ..............................................................115 Alicia Framis and Anti_Dog: Social Justice Through Redescription .....115 Wolfgang Stehle and Social Prosthesis: Social Norms Redescribed.......115 Lalla Essaydi and Converging Territories: Coming Together Through Transgression...........................................................................................116 Art in Everyday Living ........................................................................................117 Clothing in Art Education’s Past.............................................................117 Skills, Techniques, Processes, and Composition in the Classroom.....................120 Art as a Method Makes Meaning .............................................................122 FRAMEWORKS WITHIN FRAMES OF DIVERGENCE: COMPLEXITY  v  THINKING, A/R/TOGRAPHY, AND PEDAGOGY.....................................................127 Why Complexity? ................................................................................................128 Why A/r/tography? ..............................................................................................131 Setting up the Conditions of Complexity and A/r/tography ................................136 Redundancy..............................................................................................138 Diversity...................................................................................................141 Decentralized Control..............................................................................142 Neighbor Interactions ..............................................................................145 Forcing the Issue ..................................................................................................148 Un/Bound .................................................................................................149 STUDENTS AS ARTS-BASED INQUIRERS: PEDAGOGICAL SPACE FOR STUDENTS’ VOICES AND THE POSSIBILITY OF ACTION, OR, DIS/RUPTURING THE PEACE.....................................................................................151 The Question of Student and Teacher Identities Within Inquiry: Whose Voice Counts? ................................................................................................................151 Voice, Choice, and Criticality..............................................................................151 Valuing Students, Equity, and Democracy ..............................................153 Venues for Voicing ..............................................................................................158 Students as Inquirers and the Action Research Classroom: A Potential Complex Learning System...................................................................................162 Is Teaching for Social Justice Undemocratic?.....................................................167 Students as Arts-based Inquirers..........................................................................169 Investigating Multiple Voices and the Imagined Voice ...........................169 Hearing Unheard Voices and Speaking with Voices of Possibility .........171 Accounting for a Relationship of Multiple Voices: An Invitation Toward Action by Responding to the Question, Who’s Voice Counts?...........................175 UN/DOING CURRICULUM: IMPROVISATION WITHIN A SCENE OF CONSTRAINT ................................................................................................................178 Relationships of Curriculum and Drag: Re-Acting and Re-Thinking Artist/Researcher/Teacher Identities....................................................................178 Concepts of Drag Emerge Amidst a Living Curriculum .....................................179  vi  Messing with Grammar as it Is Received ................................................185 Dragging Myself Through the Mud .........................................................187 Dragnet ....................................................................................................189 Drag Racing.............................................................................................190 A Dragline................................................................................................192 The Dragonet ...........................................................................................193 Dragoman ................................................................................................196 The Alphabet........................................................................................................197 The Drag of/on/in/amidst/through/with Curriculum............................................200 SHOPPLACING: OCCASIONING A PEDAGOGY OF THE POSSIBLE THROUGH ARTISTIC AND SOCIAL NETWORKING PRACTICES .......................202 How Does My Artistic Practice Relate to My Practices of Teaching, Learning, and A Study of Dress Through Artistic Inquiry? ................................202 Learner as Capable...............................................................................................202 Shopplacing on MySpace as an A/r/tographic and Complex Learning System..................................................................................................................203 Teaching as Occasioning: Teacher as Someone Who Occasions Learning Possibilities ..............................................................................205 The Complex Phenomenon of Shopplacing: A Method of Collective Inquiry ...207 The “Slowness” of Studying Nonlinear Systems .....................................209 New Networks are Formed Recursively...................................................210 Art Education Beyond the Classroom......................................................210 Social Technologies: Weaving Connections............................................211 Collaboration: A Trading Zone Between Production and Consumption.............213 Juan Carlos Castro ..................................................................................213 Hair PUddle.............................................................................................217 Jess Smiley a.k.a. Glasshopper ................................................................218 Ashley Christensen and Gallery 110........................................................220 Art and Research as Activism..............................................................................223 Collaboration and Complexity.............................................................................223 Collaborative Failings .............................................................................226  vii  Dialogic Collaboration............................................................................228 ADDRESSING MYSELF ELSEWHERE: THE IMPACT OF BECOMING UN/DONE........................................................................................................................231 The Anguish of Becoming Un/Done ...................................................................231 A Chance To Become Un/Done—To Be Addressed, Claimed, Bound to What Is Not Me....................................................................................................233 To Be Moved, Prompted to Act, To Address Myself Elsewhere...............234 Vacating the Self-sufficient “I” as a Kind of Possession.....................................238 Forgiving Me as I Address Myself Elsewhere.....................................................238 Recognizing: Recursively Knowing Again by Allowing One to Be Written Upon ..................................................................................................239 FACING POTENTIALITIES..........................................................................................241 Implication 1 ........................................................................................................244 An Understanding Through a Redescription of Teacher and Learner ....244 Implication 2 ........................................................................................................245 Understanding the Arts-based Research Methodology, A/r/tography, as a Pedagogical Strategy .......................................................................245 Implication 3 ........................................................................................................246 An Understanding that the Form of this Dissertation Adds to the Rupture of Textual Authorities and Provokes New Re/presentations of Knowledge(s) ...........................................................................................246 Implication 4 ........................................................................................................247 An Understanding that Calls forth Divergent Interactions of Students and Research............................................................................................247 Implication 5 ........................................................................................................248 Understanding How Best Practices Are Transformed into Vibrantly Sufficient Practices ..................................................................................248 Implication 6 ........................................................................................................249 An Understanding That Classroom Artistic Practices Are Capable of Entering into a Discourse with Broader Contemporary Artistic Practices......................................................................................249  viii  Criticisms .............................................................................................................251 Exclusionary ............................................................................................251 Neither Research nor Art .........................................................................253 Judging this Work ................................................................................................255 Good Art...................................................................................................256 Good Research.........................................................................................259 Good Pedagogy........................................................................................261 REFERENCES ................................................................................................................264 APPENDICES .................................................................................................................274 Appendix A..........................................................................................................274 Certificate of Approval ............................................................................274 Appendix B ..........................................................................................................275 A/r/tographic Data Considerations .........................................................275  ix  LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1.1  I was introduced as an artist-in-residence and co-teacher by Skadi ...................... 1  Figure 1.2  Erik, one of my former secondary students ........................................................... 3  Figure 1.3  Early versions of the graphic layout of this dissertation........................................ 6  Figure 1.4  Contemporary clothing utilizes text and textile ..................................................... 9  Figure 1.5  “Change How You See, Not How You Look” .................................................... 10  Figure 1.6  Research participants working on their artistic projects ...................................... 13  Figure 1.7  Student researchers are working on various projects........................................... 20  Figure 1.8  The folding and unfolding of a textile is a metaphor........................................... 21  Figure 1.9  A student participant, Gunnar, demonstrates a technique.................................... 23  Figure 1.10  Student researchers discuss as they collate photographs ..................................... 25  Figure 2.1  I created “The Stranger/Hydradic I” from found porcelain doll parts ................. 31  Figure 2.2  To varying degrees, several student researchers kept written reflections............ 33  Figure 2.3  I created a double-sided tunic for “The Stranger/The Hydradic I”...................... 34  Figure 2.4  Detail of “The Stranger/The Hydradic I”............................................................. 35  Figure 2.5  Detail of “The Stranger/The Hydradic I”............................................................. 36  Figure 2.6  I did not know how I would utilize the data ........................................................ 38  Figure 2.7  Detail of “The Stranger/The Hydradic I”............................................................. 40  Figure 2.8  Detail of “The Stranger/The Hydradic I”............................................................. 41  Figure 2.9  Detail of “The Stranger/The Hydradic I”............................................................. 42  Figure 2.10  Detail of “The Stranger/The Hydradic I”............................................................. 43  Figure 2.11  Detail of “The Stranger/The Hydradic I”............................................................. 46  Figure 2.12  Detail of “The Stranger/The Hydradic I”............................................................. 48  Figure 3.1  Exchanging feedback ........................................................................................... 51  Figure 3.2  The student researcher above, Ann, investigates ................................................. 52  Figure 3.3  Student participants search through a box of discarded telephone wires ............ 54  Figure 3.4  Skadi and the student participants brought in piles of donated material ............. 55  Figure 3.5  Un/Folding is folding and unfolding and the relationship between..................... 57  Figure 3.6  Sunny created a drawing on her shoe .................................................................. 60  Figure 3.7  A student inquirer displays an origami design..................................................... 62  Figure 3.8  Ann’s collection and the handbag’s development ............................................... 64  Figure 3.9  Rena’s “Bulimia Skirt” and “Starburst Bikini” ................................................... 65  Figure 3.10  Ann’s completed bag ........................................................................................... 66  Figure 3.11  Rena’s “Bulimia Skirt” is juxtaposed by her “Starburst Bikini” ......................... 68  x  Figure 3.12  Kayvin performs his piece around the school grounds ........................................ 69  Figure 3.13  Xu and Kayvin worked both independently and collaboratively......................... 72  Figure 3.14  Gabe transgresses the boundaries of paper .......................................................... 73  Figure 3.15  This is the lower half of Gabe’s “Likert-like Scale”............................................ 75  Figure 3.16  Artist, Cassandra Christensen Barney, wearing the skirt..................................... 76  Figure 3.17  Student participants formed small groups and styled each other......................... 77  Figure 3.18  Gunnar teaches other participants ........................................................................ 78  Figure 3.19  A research participant before and after her group styling exercise...................... 82  Figure 3.20  Daniel T. Barney, “See What You Can’t Touch” ................................................ 84  Figure 3.21  Student participants designed a runway show ..................................................... 85  Figure 3.22  Daniel T. Barney, “Felt” ...................................................................................... 86  Figure 3.23  Gabe’s “Nuke the Whales” T-shirt and handmade stencil................................... 88  Figure 3.24  Annabella creates a T-shirt entitled, “Race, It Shouldn’t Matter” ....................... 89  Figure 3.25  Not all the feedback that was provided on this T-shirt ........................................ 92  Figure 3.26  Gee wears her painted vest outside of the school walls....................................... 94  Figure 3.27  A work in progress by a student participant ........................................................ 98  Figure 3.28  Bruce created many of these sculptural figures from wire .................................. 99  Figure 3.29  Sculptural forms that Bruce created in his search for a living shirt................... 101  Figure 3.30  Bruce states, “My inspiration for this project…” .............................................. 102  Figure 4.1  Alexander created this dress in relation to his inquiries .................................... 104  Figure 4.2  Skadi and I looked up from our work and saw Gabe constructing .................... 106  Figure 4.3  Gretchen Elsner in “Circle Flare Skirt.” ............................................................ 110  Figure 4.4  This is a detail of Alexander’s “Christina Aguilera Dress.” .............................. 121  Figure 4.5  Laurie created “Liquids of My Life” as a secondary student ............................ 124  Figure 4.6  John, now an accountant and portrait photographer .......................................... 126  Figure 5.1  A detail of a wearable artifact by artist Gretchen Elsner ................................... 127  Figure 5.2  Fashion designer and scholar Otto von Busch ................................................... 131  Figure 5.3  Student researchers worked independently and collectively ............................. 133  Figure 5.4  Student researcher, Maya, created these shoes .................................................. 136  Figure 5.5  Gretchen Elsner created “Soft-Wear” ................................................................ 137  Figure 5.6  Gretchen Elsner with one of her “Soft-Wear” pieces ........................................ 139  Figure 5.7  Gave tries on a pair of shoes and a different way to style ................................. 141  Figure 5.8  Skadi asked Alexander for sewing lessons ........................................................ 145  Figure 5.9  Gretchen Elsner, detail of “Soft-Wear” ............................................................. 146  xi  Figure 5.10  Sharing ideas, supplies, and products were common ........................................ 149  Figure 6.1  Yumi, “Armless, Helpless” (right), and “Little Purple Dress” .......................... 153  Figure 6.2  Skadi expressed her concern that “Mikal would not want to make… ............... 155  Figure 6.3  Mikal models his “own creation” ...................................................................... 156  Figure 6.4  Student researchers organize photographs to present to the public ................... 158  Figure 6.5  A collection of designs created by Alexander ................................................... 161  Figure 6.6  Student researcher, Puck, constructs a tin man with moveable parts ................ 163  Figure 6.7  Puck’s mechanic tin man has a door that opens to “organs and systems”......... 164  Figure 6.8  A student researcher created an edible hat from a variety of candies................ 165  Figure 6.9  Miranda wears her headband created from recycled Tyvek, ink, and paint ...... 166  Figure 6.10  Alexander started creating this dress out of recycled materials......................... 168  Figure 6.11  Sabrina showed up in this dress ......................................................................... 170  Figure 6.12  Detail of Sabrina’s dress made from degradable packing material ................... 171  Figure 6.13  This student participant spent days learning how to patch ................................ 175  Figure 6.14  Skadi and the student researchers invited the community to the final............... 176  Figure 7.1  Detail of “Un/Doing,” Daniel T. Barney ........................................................... 179  Figure 7.2  Detail of “Un/Doing” unzipped ......................................................................... 181  Figure 7.3  Daniel T. Barney, “Un/Doing,” zipper, embroidery, and dyed canvas.............. 182  Figure 7.4  B. F. Larsen Gallery in the Harris Fine Arts Center .......................................... 185  Figure 7.5  Alternate view of “High Art”............................................................................. 186  Figure 7.6  Binocular view of “High Art”............................................................................ 187  Figure 7.7  Alexander preparing the models for his photo shoot ......................................... 190  Figure 7.8  Koichi describes his influences as clothing, amoebas, biology, Picasso… ....... 191  Figure 7.9  Tyvek is a common building material that acts as a breathable vapor… .......... 194  Figure 7.10  Puck’s designs on one of Alexander’s Tyvek dresses ....................................... 195  Figure 7.11  A view from the “Alphabet Show” .................................................................... 197  Figure 7.12  One of the many dresses that Alexander created ............................................... 199  Figure 8.1  This is a screen shot of The Wait Gallery’s MySpace page .............................. 215  Figure 8.2  This is a screen shot from Shopplacing’s MySpace page.................................. 216  Figure 8.3  These images were posted on Glasshopper’s MySpace page ............................ 218  Figure 8.4  Glasshopper drawing in chalk on what he describes as “fresh pavement” ........ 219  Figure 8.5  Ashley is shown above putting up her project “Grow” ..................................... 221  Figure 8.6  One of the research participants created a hidden place in a shoe ..................... 227  Figure 8.7  One of Alexander’s dresses that was decorated................................................. 229  xii  Figure 9.1  I am shown interacting with “Un/Doing” (right) ............................................... 232  Figure 9.2  This is an embellishment that Skadi created and added to a shirt...................... 233  Figure 9.3  Gunnar wears a shirt, collar, and jacket that he and another participant… ....... 235  Figure 9.4  Inspired by the story that Skadi shared regarding her mother sewing ............... 239  xiii  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This dissertation journey began long before I enrolled in the PhD program at UBC. Numerous family members, friends, and teachers were influential in my search for knowledge, meaning, and understandings throughout the years. I thank and acknowledge my teachers, both past and present, formal and informal, within the classroom and out of the classroom. My advisor and mentor, Rita Irwin, has been a supportive yet critical friend. She has set an example to me as a reflective artist, progressive and prolific researcher, and caring teacher. My committee members, Carl Leggo and Graeme Chalmers have likewise given attentive support while challenging my ideas and understandings. I thank Carl for encouraging me to live a more poetic life and to make my work “sing.” I thank Graeme for provoking me to seek alternative and possible histories that attend to social issues relative to a broad discourse of art and education. I thank all of my professors for their dedication and diligence, for their patience and paradigms. Stephen Petrina, for example, greatly impacted my previously held views of qualitative research through his teaching and encouragement; and Cynthia Nicol pushed me to question my own actions and thinking in relation to others. I thank Walt Werner for unwittingly petitioning me to study the stability and dynamic potential of structures and systems within education. Likewise, Gaalen Erickson demonstrated a powerful, albeit quiet, model of caring for and valuing students that affects my current teaching practice. Kit Grauer, Area Head of Art Education, made sure that my love for teaching was satisfied and fed, even while I was working on my studies. Her energy, spontaneity, and search for fun in teaching and learning are admirable. In addition to the interactions with my many professors at UBC, the influence of the work of visiting scholars and lecturers was also significant in developing my understandings. I am indebted to the scholars whose work I cite in this dissertation. Divergent and unintended possibilities emerge as their words are taken up in conversations that they could not foresee: as their theories and concepts are appropriated, redescribed, and placed in new contexts.  xiv  Undoubtedly, there are those whose contributions have impacted my own understandings without my conscious knowing. I thank those who have gone before and who are currently contributing to and checking my understandings, both indirectly and directly. I acknowledge the simultaneous simple yet complex, discussions and debates with friends, classmates, and colleagues as significant. During my studies in the Department of Curriculum Studies at UBC I met students with diverse interests and experiences. The interdisciplinary approach of curriculum studies in the Faculty of Education at UBC opened possibilities that I did not anticipate. I thank my teaching companions, Nadine Kalin and Juan Carlos Castro, for their caring feedback, mentorship, and camaraderie in art, inquiry, and education. The participants at Himation Secondary in the Vancouver School Board were patient, trusting, and expressed an energy that motivated me on a daily basis. I thank the student and teacher inquirers for believing that they had significant contributions to make via this study. I learned a great deal working with them and I assert that we all became smarter because of our individual efforts in this collective study. They have transformed my thinking and actions in multiple ways. I would also like to thank the artists and scholars who have interacted with me specifically on a personal level: Gretchen Elsner, Otto von Busch, Hair Puddle, Jess Smiley, The Wait Gallery, Ashley Mae Christensen, and Juan Carlos Castro. My former high school student and now BFA graphic design graduate, Chris Crosby, provided much needed assistance with the layout of the graphic version of this dissertation. Finally, I must thank my family for their tolerance of my passions in art, research, and education. Besides displacing their home so that I could pursue my PhD, my partner and our three children have endured hours listening to my theories, narratives, and critiques. I thank them for their long-suffering feedback, continuous critique, and sufficient love to endure my interests.  xv  DEDICATION  This dissertation is dedicated to artists, researchers, teachers, and learners who face ethical, socially engaging, and anti-oppressive potentialities.  xvi  INTRODUCTION  Figure 1.1 I was introduced as an artist-in-residence and co-teacher by Skadi, the teacher participant, in this study. Skadi and I invited her students to participate in an artistic investigation of dress. Each of us documented processes, questions, and insights, which we shared intermittently in informal conversations and in semi-structured presentations throughout the three-month classroom study. Additionally, I conducted several non-structured interviews with Skadi and several student participants. At the end of the study the participants shared their understandings and artifacts with the public in an exhibition. The top image shows three of the research participants discussing and preparing photographs that were taken during the study, which were shown during the final exhibition. The other images show (bottom left) a research participant working on a story dress, (bottom middle) a page from a student researcher’s research reflections, and (bottom right) a student researcher wearing a pair of jeans signed by Canucks hockey players.  1  Dress Adolescence is generally thought of as a time of change, transition, and boundary testing, occurrences adolescents commonly express through dress (Dillabough, Wang, & Kennelly, 2005; Hebdige, 1979; Kaiser, 1997). As Holman (1980) states, dress is “the most easily controllable aspect of the external environment of the individual” (p. 11). Adolescents are principal participants in groups defined primarily by dress, including variations on identities such as, Goth, Punk, Prep, Hipster, Scene, Emo, Mod, and Gangsta (Allison, 2009; Barnard, 2002; Dillabough et al., 2005; Haddow, 2008). A sizeable marketing industry regarding dress, is targeted toward the adolescent (Duncum, 2002; Freedman, 2003; Media Awareness Network, 2008) and the impact of this marketing and the resiliency/(re)action of adolescents is a key area of research in visual culture. Furthermore, youths have utilized dress as a means to subvert cultural norms and address issues such as socio-economic injustices (see Fig. 1.2), governmental politics, gender, race, and morality as a form of activism (Barnard, 2002; Barney, 2007; Cunningham & Lab, 1991; Maynard, 2004).  2  Figure 1.2 Erik, one of my former secondary students (see Barney, 2007), created a vest in which he saved a week’s worth of “leftovers.” The vest was shown in a conceptual clothing exhibition within the school. The vest was a visual representation of how much food he wasted. In addition to sharing this vest with the public during the exhibition period, Erik created a photograph of himself wearing the vest in the streets of his hometown as an educational and social engagement in his community. (Photograph used with permission from the artist). Scholars generally agree that dress mediates social identity and individual expression. Dress is a cultural concept full of paradox and ambiguity. It is concurrently oppressive and liberating; it is seen as simultaneously significant and trivial. Dress acts as a concept for inquiry throughout this study, as well as a concept that generates new metaphors that challenge and elaborate currently held beliefs of art, research, teaching, and learning. Hence, its paradoxes, ambiguities, and simultaneities are relative to conceptualizations of artist, researcher, and teacher presented throughout this study. For example, through the artistic investigation and interaction of this study’s participants, 3  concepts of dress, such as drag, identity styling, textiles and text, fit and suitability, and inside/outside emerged, thereby pointing toward the understandings found within these pages. Because of the personal and cultural significance that artists, researchers, teachers, and students place on dress, I was hopeful that new and challenging understandings regarding my identities as an artist, researcher, and teacher were to be gained from studying dress through artistic inquiry with another teacher and her students. Form Form, like vocabulary, is political in that it both limits and encourages meaning. It is often managed through reified conventions and canons. The form that this dissertation would take, for example, was an important consideration during this study. The dissertation’s form was significant to me as a researcher because I realized that its styling relates not only to concepts of dress, but also in its creation as an artifact. My attention to formal properties calls back to my training as an artist, but I am cautious in privileging form over content or socio cultural contexts. Foundations programs in art schools emphasize a Formalist1 view of the elements and principles of art and design—the basics to some, which have been likened to grammar in the language of visual art (see Goldonowicz, 1985; Hurwitz, Madeja, & Katter, 2003). For example, Hurwitz, Madeja, and Katter (2003) state “teachers know  1  According to Terry Barrett (2000), “All art has form. The theory of formalism, however, asserts that form is the only criteria by which art should be judged. Formalists hold that aesthetic value is autonomous and independent of other values: According to them, art has nothing to do with morality, religions, politics, or any other area of human activity. In this view, the realms of art and social concerns are by their natures distinct, and the artist is alienated or separated from society” (p. 146). While formalism is reiterated in the art classroom, I believe there are relatively few teachers who hold to these tenets without reserve. Regardless, the language of formalism is strong within the field of current art education. 4  that isolating the elements of art is an effective way for students to learn the language of art” (p. 19). They also warn teachers about bringing in political content into a curriculum. I respond by arguing that teaching fixed notions of art elements perpetuates a specific language of art. Hurwitz, Madeja, and Katter’s premise that the language of art—notice the use of the definite article in front of the word language—can be taught by isolating certain elements is a political decision, regardless of their desire to remove cultural context from an art dialogue. Teachers choose where to place their emphasis in instruction. Choosing traditional, conventional, and common sense approaches and content over other available or as-yet-unimagined approaches and content is a political choice. My study posits that art education can position the study of dress at the center of the curriculum, and in so doing, can encourage teachers and students to investigate their understandings of such things as identity, diversity, redundancy, conventionality, and relationality. In addition to the visual arts, convention and form play significant roles in academia, research, and schooling. A portion of this dissertation explores these conventions and offers openings with implications through a reflexive dialogue of coconstructed understandings generated through a participatory study. Additionally, I point to the form of the presentation of this study—the dissertation as an artifact—as a metonym for the study itself (see Fig 1.3). Convention is defined as habits, norms, canon and protocols, but is also defined as an agreement, accord and a bargain. Additionally, it is understood as a meeting, congress, assembly, or gathering. This research study relates to convention in the following ways: First, the study includes a body of agents, as an assembly or a gathering, who agreed to  5  deal with a particular issue: the norms and disruptions of dress. Second, it explores how convention is enacted in artist, researcher, teacher, and learner identities.  Figure 1.3 Early versions of the graphic layout of this dissertation. Un/Folding Questions My research began with a focus on the relationships between dress in visual culture and the adolescent as consumer, artist, researcher, and activist. The research evolved into a relational conversation with research methodology and teaching/learning strategies at the forefront of my questioning. It is not uncommon in arts-based research for questions to “emerge over time” (Sinner, Leggo, Irwin, Gouzouasis, & Grauer, 2006, p. 1225) and A Study of Dress Through Artistic Inquiry was not exempt as research questions surfaced and evolved.2 Questions transformed over time, but did not do so  2  Chapters within this dissertation address various aspects of the overarching question. These themes emerged as the study transpired, but simultaneously were already present. Subsequent chapters address concepts recursively, meaning questions fold back on each other and resurface in new ways to create new understandings. These themes include 6  linearly or even spirally (see Kemmis & McTaggart, 1990). A more descriptive dress metaphor for the transformation of these questions would be un/folding,3 which includes a simultaneous folding and unfolding that both hides and presents. Significant to this study is a notion of latent potentiality, or capacity amidst the hidden, within this un/folding. Therefore, from the initial conceptions I did not intend to delimit the study to a single research question, but the social exchanges and transactions were to provoke multiple and dimensional directions of questioning in relation to individual understandings. Consequently, this study is both autobiographical and relational. I will therefore elaborate upon my own experiences as an artist/researcher/teacher and upon the participants’ experiences throughout this dissertation in a weaving of stories and interactions. My overarching research question asks, What understandings are provoked by concepts of dress when related to artist, researcher, and teacher identities? These identities are self-incurred4 and yet are created through social scenes of interaction. Dress was presented as a common thread of inquiry to the potential participants in this study, which ultimately included a secondary classroom teacher, her students, and myself. The concepts and stories presented in the following chapters overlap, contradict, resonate, and reverberate each other, much like the three identities of artist, researcher, and teacher to  non-oppressive teaching and learning, voice and voicing, troubling and unsettling through un/doing, transformation and stability, and processing and producing. 3 The transitive versions of the verbs unfolding and folding are presented simultaneously through the use of a slash that acknowledges a process of non-sequential dis/closing. 4 Incur is from the Latin incurrere, from in- “toward” and currere- “run.” See Irwin (2006b) for more on curricular insights and relational meanings. 7  create openings5 in understandings. This study is informed by diverse texts, philosophies, paradigms, and transactions, many of which remain covered in the fold of an aforementioned latent potentiality. However, I have organized this thesis document around emerging themes. In conjunction with my own developing understandings of artsbased research and complexity thinking, I mashup Richard Rorty’s notion of metaphoric redescription and Judith Butler’s performativity,6 to re-interpret conventions of style, form, and language with the ability to both constrain and enable new knowledge creation as it relates to dress in the context of art, inquiry, and curriculum (see Fig. 1.4). The following sections in this introductory chapter present key notions of dress, methodologies, and metaphors that will be reiterated throughout this document.  5  Please refer to the discussion on the a/r/tographic rendering, openings, in A/r/tography as a Pedagogical Strategy. 6 Ted Aoki (2005b) explains that Butler’s use of performativity is not the same as the word performance. While performance “presumes the subject” (p. 442), performativity “puts into question the very concept of the subject” (p. 442). Butler, states Aoki, “theorizes performativity as the radical undermining of the subject-as-performer” (p. 442). 8  Figure 1.4 Contemporary clothing utilizes text and textile. A/r/tographers juxtapose image and text to create new understandings. Image need not be seen as an illustration of the written text, but as a visual text itself in which meaning is not fixed or clarified, but provoked. Language Falling under the overarching research question, this study investigates the interrelationships among pedagogy, arts-based research methodologies, and cultures of dress. Roach and Musa (cited in Kaiser, 1997) define dress as “the total arrangement of all outwardly detectible modifications of the body itself and all material objects added to it” (p. 4). This particular definition of dress is expanded in this dissertation to include descriptions conceptualizing dress as a language. Dress as language is not a new idea. Roland Barthes (1983) takes up this conceptualization with his discussion of the semiotics of fashion. Susan Kaiser (1997) presents a social dialogue of clothing and  9  Margaret Maynard (2004) explores cross-cultural exchanges of dress. Alison Lurie (1992) explains that clothing and dress, which includes hairstyles, bodily attachments, and decorations, are languages that have a vocabulary and a grammar like other spoken languages (see p. 4). As I have gained fluency in this particular method of communication and way of knowing, the metaphor of dress as a language has created new understandings in my identity roles as artist, researcher, and teacher. The ambiguity in dress language is perhaps more pronounced than written or verbal language (Barthes, 1983). As in art, however, ambiguity—perhaps at the expense of clarity, focus, and known results—generates a mis/communication (see Fig. 1.5) that calls forth possibility and wonder.  Figure 1.5 “Change How You See, Not How You Look” is a shirt that I constructed as an artwork. I wear it as I engage in everyday activities. I created this piece as I juxtaposed a bumper sticker slogan with a dress shirt, and an art exhibit with a research poster session. Like clothing and fashion, art has been said to be a form of communication (Barrett, 2000; Goldonowicz, 1985; Hurwitz et al., 2003; Sandell, 2006). Since my first  10  formal training in visual art to my current observations in K-12 and higher-education art teaching, this metaphor persists. Art and design literature remains rife with metaphors of communication. These are metaphors that retain value in my understandings of art and its roles in education, although these metaphors can be expanded and re/imagined. Intentional and unintentional meaning is described as emerging from the artist to the viewer, the artifact to the artist, the artifact to the viewer, and the viewer to the artifact. Less commonly, the communicating agents are challenged through the reinterpretation of artists and theorists who explore the relationships between the viewer and the artist, the viewer and another viewer, or the artifact and another artifact. Returning to my overarching research question, this study is interested in interactions, transactions and relationships, as well as resistances, among the identities of artist/researcher/teacher within a specific context (see Pinar, 2005, p. 4). I am concerned by convention that restricts or limits possibilities, that constrains the imagination of divergent understandings. Language, in a variety of forms, along with its vocabulary offers potential for expression and understanding, but it comes with a caveat if it is not able to adapt. Ordinary usages of language, their form and structure and their protocol for exchange restrict as they offer opportunities to create. This poses a paradoxical complication, for we are able to create through vocabulary and convention, but are simultaneously limited by it. Judith Butler (cited in Salih & Butler, 2004) shares a concern that ordinary language and received grammar constrain thinking. She shares her warning that grammar simultaneously constructs and limits our understandings of the world: I’m not sure we’re going to be able to struggle effectively against those constraints or work within them in a productive way unless we see the  11  ways in which grammar is both producing and constraining our senses of what the world is. (p. 328) Methodology The primary methodology used for this research study is a/r/tography, an artsbased inquiry that allowed me to mashup participatory action research, narrative inquiry, hermeneutic phenomenology, and autobiographical self-study. It is a relatively new qualitative research methodology that combines the Greek graphia, or writing, alongside the identities of artist, researcher, and teacher, hence the a/r/t of a/r/tography. The use of qualitative research methodologies within the field of art education has grown tremendously in popularity over the last decade but most studies overlook students as researchers. A significant component of my research posits the participants and myself as artists, inquirers and both teachers and learners through a/r/tography (Irwin & de Cosson, 2004). Traditional qualitative data gathering methods, such as field notes, photographs, and interviews, are used in relation to artmaking, creative writing, performance, and reflection. Several chapters are dedicated to the discussion of these conceptualizations, including the use of this methodology as a pedagogical strategy. The format or design of the dissertation explores the conventions of the traditional PhD dissertation through design layout, emphasizing the styling of knowledge in terms of dress. Additionally, the contents of this dissertation present an account of understandings that have arisen through a critical interpretation or reflexive exegesis of my relationships with student investigators and their teacher. These participants act as co-creators and cocommunicators in this effort to inquire into concepts of dress through artistic inquiry (see Fig. 1.6).  12  Figure 1.6 Research participants working on their artistic projects during regular classroom hours. I intentionally left open the definitions of dress and inquiry as I presented my research proposal to recruit potential participants. The research site of this study was a general art classroom—students were enrolled in a class called Art 1—housed in a public secondary school located in an upper middle class neighborhood in Vancouver, British Columbia. However, students in the school come from various parts of the greater Vancouver area. I invited the 16- to 19-year old secondary students and their art teacher, Skadi, to investigate dress, as a concept, through a process of artistic inquiry. Twenty-six students from diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds participated in this study. The student inquirers, the teacher inquirer, and I collected data over a three-month term, the details of which will unfold in the following chapters as mediated through multiple analyses. Skadi, who I will further introduce in Outlining the Study, and I met during the beginning of the school year to discuss our interests and investments in A Study of Dress  13  Through Artistic Inquiry. Skadi chose a class for us to work with that she thought would most accepting of our invitation. I came in for preliminary observations and agreed to start whenever she was ready to begin. When approval letters arrived from the district and the university Skadi changed her mind about which class to invite in this study. After some deliberation Skadi invited one class and then the other to participate after the students completed a regular class assignment in painting with photocopy transfers. This three month time period allowed one full term to play out adjacent to the end of the school year for Himation Secondary School’s traditional end of the year art exhibition. Mashup Inquiry The term mashup originates from the practice of layering two or more pieces of music to create a new song, a re-appropriation7 of beats, and voice(s). For example, the vocal tracks from one or more songs are mashed with the instrumental track(s) of another. Recently, the term mashup has been taken up in web development to signify a content aggregation technology. In other words, the mashup is a web application that combines data from more than one source into an integrated instrument. Key to web application mashups is that they produce results that data owners did not originally anticipate (downloaded from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mashup_(web_application_hybrid) on 17 December 2008) and remain open and flexible in how they are utilized. As an artist, I frequently mashup ideas, metaphors, concepts, images, texts, and experiences to provoke new understandings. This method of artistic mashup generates unanticipated meaning by  7  Re-appropriation is used here to mean to make one’s own anew. 14  mis/using data, processes, media, or technology. Understandings, therefore, are created through transgression and humble8 reflexivity.9 A negative description10 of mashup suggests unoriginality since data is realigned, recombined, re-described, and not created spontaneously. This argument that mashups are not original and therefore redundant, actually highlights research practices where researchers organize and realign data to generate and sift out findings. Contemporary artistic processes, many examples of which will be provided in the following chapters, recognize the genealogies and sources of new visions. I attempt to perform a similar re/cognition in juxtaposing the experiences and understandings within this study. It is significant to note that I am not conceptualizing mashup in this study as a hybrid. The original data are not changed inextricably through their meeting to create solely one new fixed possibility. Here, mashups are not a mixture, or even an unwavering blend. The parts of a mashup retain their individuality and are potentially transformed independently of their significant, albeit tenuous meeting. However, interacting relationships between these mashup agents, or parts, create unanticipated and fluid responses. This can be disorienting, though liberating, to an observer/user of mashup phenomena, as the whole can be an amorphous shapeshifter. Complete and final understandings slip through the spaces between and possibilities bubble to the surface in this beneficial transitory whole. 8  Originating for Latin humilis “low, lowly,” and from humus “ground.” In Mormon culture, being humble equivocates teachability. See Humiliating the Ego in the chapter entitled, Outlining the Study. Being humble expresses a sufficient incompleteness that remains open through a relational and critical reflection. 9 To be reflexive here relates to theories of accounting for oneself within a researcher’s investigation. 10 See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mashup_music) retrieved on 18 December 2008.  15  The readers of this dissertation are encouraged to choose their own course through this document. I did not sit down and write these chapters in a chronological order, but I did so in relation to my interpretation of the data. Readers may therefore find that beginning with the final chapter creates unique understandings. While I do not know of any who transgress the linear narrative in a novel, I know of several academics who will read a research study’s conclusion or methodology before reading it from beginning to end. I have organized this document in a way that resonates with me, but I welcome other possibilities. The footnotes, images, text body, and captions can all be read relationally and mashed up to create new insights and interpretations. In this way, readers construct various interpretations of this study and formulate useful applications in their own becoming as artists, researchers, teachers, and learners. Relationality A/r/tography, as described by Pinar (cited in Irwin & de Cosson, 2004), is where “knowing, doing, and making merge” (p. 9). The principles that govern the qualitative methods used to gather data in this study encouraged the subjects to become coresearchers and inquirers through the process of artistic production. Additionally, as an a/r/tographer, I am called to attend to the relationships—including the dissonance—of my identities as artist, researcher, and teacher/learner. Thereby making a/r/tography highly relational (Irwin, Beer, Springgay, Grauer, Xiong & Bickel, 2006a) and autobiographic (Sullivan, 2005). A key question relating to my overarching question11 of this study is  11  What are the understandings provoked by concepts of dress as related to an artist’s, researcher’s and teacher’s identities? A/r/tographic inquiry scrutinizes the entangled identities of artist, researcher, and teacher. My interest in the secondary classroom undoubtedly includes my experience as a secondary art teacher. 16  how a/r/tographic practices might un/fold12 in a secondary art classroom. My broad definitions of an artist is one who uses artistic practices13 to inquire and present understandings; a researcher investigates directions of inquiry through various methods in order to present new understandings and a teacher/learner14 negotiates understandings through a relational dialogue. Therefore, these three identities—artist, researcher, and teacher/learner—are related to how understandings are created, investigated, presented, and managed. The art classroom provides a context in which all of these identities might be conceived, not just by the teacher as a/r/tographer, but also by the student as a/r/tographer. To some (see Freudenburg, 2002; Patai, 1994; Sober, 1982; Ziman, 2006), a potential danger in research, especially autobiographical work including a/r/tographic inquiry, is solipsism or navel gazing. This metaphor of gazing inward assumes that the inquirer is attempting to describe an inner world to an outside world without looking up and around, ignoring significant interactions beyond the self. Navel gazing is of particular concern in my artwork and research if it is not performed in relation to a wide view. Locking oneself away in a cave is perhaps one way to attempt to prevent relational influences, but I do not present the self in this dissertation as solely an internal entity. Hence, personal history is co-created and re-created. The ability of a researcher to present 12  The reader will note my tendency to emphasize the space in between some words. Some words, like un/fold, signify both folding and unfolding, while teacher/learner might signify teaching, learning and a new understanding of the meeting of both. 13 The reader should understand artistic practices broadly, using historical practices, multicultural practices, contemporary practices, and imagined practices as possible references. 14 Paolo Freire (2006) uses the expression “dialogical, problem-posing teacher-student,” explaining “Authentic education is not carried on by ‘A’ for ‘B’ or by ‘A’ about ‘B,’ but rather by ‘A’ with ‘B,’ mediated by the world—a world which impresses and challenges both parties, giving rise to views or opinions about it” (p. 93). 17  a disassociated portrait of the real has been thoroughly argued by Denzin and Lincoln (2003). Gergen and Gergen (2003), for example, notice four ways in which current qualitative researchers are challenging and disclaiming arguments of validity. They point to reflexivity, multiple voicing, literary styling, and performance, all of which are addressed in subsequent chapters. Therefore, the question pertaining to this study regarding solipsism should not be as follows: Is the researcher looking up and around sufficiently? The inquirer is not separated from the study gazing inward, but situated amidst the research gazing in relation. The metaphoric umbilical cord remains intact to the lived experience. Research participants were asked to respond artistically—as they understood and challenged definitions of artist—to concepts of dress. Discussions followed to investigate the term dress. The teacher researcher, student researchers, and I shared hundreds of examples of artistic responses to dress, a number of which are presented in the following chapters.15 Participants were asked to record their inquiry in some way during the study. Some chose to keep notebooks, visual journals, digital recordings of thoughts, photographs, and prototypes, while others asked to be interviewed, recording a discussion of their processes and understandings. Skadi and I attempted to decentralize the classroom power structures and we were attentive to an emergent curriculum, therefore, we did not pre-plan specific art skills or techniques to be taught. However, some skills and content were anticipated to surface.  15  The notion of bringing into play multiple examples is a form of engagement with a broad discourse of the possibilities of art. Encouraging research participants to engage in this dialogue and expanding upon it by exploring examples from visual culture created openings in art discourse as well as reverberations between teacher and learner and between consumer and producer of art and art knowledge. 18  For example, several students were excited to sew and the use of a sewing machine and serger were presented to the class in the form of a workshop for all who were interested (see Fig. 1.7). Additionally, drawing and painting techniques that were previously explored in this course were anticipated to resurface.16 While the teacher researcher and a few of the student researchers expressed some anxiety about participating in an emergent17 curriculum early on in the study, they agreed to anticipate understandings18 and new possibilities in learning even if the culminating results, the outcomes, were unknown.  16  These prior art media were surprisingly scarce. Student participants created a few paintings and drawings, but the majority of the products were created with materials outside the previously taught art curriculum. Figure 1.6 shows one student participant continuing to work on a painting project carried over from previous efforts in this class. 17 William E. Doll, Jr. (2002) describes emergence in relation to John Dewey’s ideas of curriculum: “These are: (1) as a process, education does not aim for an end external to itself; (2) ends arise from within activity rather than being set prior to activity; and (3) the child and the curriculum, the learner and the text, as it were, unite through the process of inter- (or trans-) action” (pp. 37-38). 18 The term understandings replaces the term findings in a/r/tographic research, emphasizing knowledge as co-constructed and shifting in lieu of a more static notion. Here, anticipating understandings means that we anticipated the emergence of understandings, but we did not know what these understandings might be from the outset of the study. 19  Figure 1.7 Student researchers are working on various projects. The serger and sewing machine are shown on worktables. Skadi and I demonstrated how to turn on and thread these machines, as well as how to adjust thread tensions, stitch width, and length to all those interested. Further “instruction” was shared among participants as they discovered or invented approaches and techniques. Understandings Phenomenology, Butlerian philosophies, complexity thinking, and critical theory have troubled my notions of artist, researcher, and teacher/learner identities. Curriculum theorist Patrick Slattery (1995), states: Phenomenology… is based on the assumption that we cannot speculate what beings are in themselves. Rather, the emphasis should be placed on possibility and becoming as a goal of the curriculum, for human consciousness can never be static. (p. 254) He continues, “Art, like the curriculum, is a process of becoming and re-creating in each new situation” (p. 254). Slattery’s assertion resonates with my presentation of this dissertation. Each chapter is a re-creation, an un/folding of the boundless whole. Or said another way, the whole is nested in each chapter and iteration. It is common practice in research studies to close with a set of findings; however, a/r/tography, as influenced by hermeneutic phenomenology (see Jardine, 1998), acknowledges the subjective interpretation of research. As with much of art, a/r/tographic  20  inquiry privileges ongoing explorations and openings to unsettle, to create understandings and new possibilities rather than fixating on a finished world. Tom Barone and Elliott Eisner (1997) state that arts-based research “serves to create a new vision of certain educational phenomenon” whereby such research “may find that new meanings are constructed, and old values and outlooks are challenged, even negated” (p. 78).  Figure 1.8 The folding and unfolding of a textile is a metaphor that highlights plural dimensions, patterns, juxtapositions, and surfaces. However, I envision this textile as a dynamic and living form, rather than fabric that is to be flattened and pressed in order to observe a “whole.” These new visions and meanings can be anticipated but not known in advance. They un/fold as inquiry is recurrently performed. I acknowledge the work that has gone before this study’s contributions. I am aware of relevant work by phenomenologists, historians, artists, philosophers, curriculum scholars, and complexity thinkers that have influenced this study. My conceptions of a/r/tography have been formulated through much search, research, and dialogue with artists, teachers, and researchers. Among many scholars, I am indebted to Brent Davis and Dennis Sumara for sharing their views of  21  complexity as an attitude as much as I am indebted to the many a/r/tographers who have joined me in inquiry, including my mentor and advisor, Rita Irwin, and the participating teacher and student a/r/tographers of this study. I present the nonlinear aspects of emergence that Davis, Sumara, and Luce-Kapler (e.g., Davis 2004, 2005; Davis & Sumara, 2006; Davis, Sumara, & Luce-Kapler 2008) discuss, as harmonious and resonant with my un/folding understandings of a/r/tographic research. Emergence can be described as self-organization that is not controlled through top-down power directives but is “capable of more flexible, more effective responses to previously unmet circumstances” (Davis & Sumara, 2006, p. 74). Therefore, in constructing this study as previously mentioned, I anticipated an emergence of the “unfolding of new possibilities for action and interpretation” (p. 76).19 Since complex phenomena present themselves in nonlinear ways, in what form these new possibilities would emerge, I could not predict, only anticipate. Hence, the study and the art curriculum-as-lived were both influenced by complexity thinking, which values learning as adaptive and relational. Emerging from this study were spontaneous, self-organized collaborations between unexpected students, teacher/learner identity shifts, and my own reflections of myself as artist, researcher, and teacher. The anxieties that the teacher researcher experienced were similar to my own when I was a secondary teacher. She expressed her anxieties in relation to artist and teacher identities. Many of her statements, beliefs, insights, challenges, and concerns resounded with my own musings and experiences as artist/teacher. Our interviews were like a contextual mirror where her hesitations, 19  Many of these new possibilities are presented as understandings in the chapter entitled, Facing Potentialities. 22  concerns, enthusiasms and the like, resonated, reflected, and reverberated with my own thoughts and experiences. The unsettling moments in this study are explored as opportunities upon which to reflect and make meaning. These moments included teacher questions over concerns about time and material management; how other teachers, administration, art colleges, and possible future students would view the many nontraditional artifacts created during this study; and about the anxiety over the shift from teacher as active transmitter of knowledge and skills to one who occasions20 and participates in learning.  Figure 1.9 A student participant, Gunnar, demonstrates a technique that he developed by juxtaposing his leatherworking skills with a concept for a wallet created out of recycled soda pop cans.  20  Davis (2004) suggests “teaching is participating—in the production of personal knowing and collective knowledge, in the evolution of personal identities and collective forms, and in the shaping of personal activities and collective possibilities” (p. 171). He also presents occasioning as a synonym for teaching that refers “to the way that surprising possibilities can arise when things are allowed to fall together” (p. 170). 23  Students became teachers in sewing, using recyclables, in saddle stitching and leatherwork (see Fig. 1.9), spray painting, stencil making, and cartooning. While several participants expressed concern over not knowing how something is done,21 the not knowing inspired experimentation with materials and processes. These participant-driven experiments included drawing with a sewing machine, creating wearable art with found and altered objects, and transferring and applying previously held knowledge and skills to artistic production. The skills that students already had were utilized in new ways and shared among participants. The sharing of diverse knowledge, techniques and skills, much of which would fall outside the definitions for traditional artmaking, was a major understanding in attending to emergence as a characteristic of a complex curriculum. Originally, I imagined my study to be primarily about dress from a cultural studies perspective, which was the initial concept in which to respond and through which to inquire. However, the processes involved in teaching and learning—curriculum studies—soon took import over certain concepts of dress as key to my understandings. As noted earlier in this chapter, the following question is significant in this work: How might a/r/tographic practices un/fold in a secondary art classroom? Notwithstanding, calling back my overarching research question,22 this study is about the reverberating reflections regarding identities of artist, researcher, and teacher/learner. It is not so much about the final results or ultimate conclusions as the process of inquiry; it is about allowing for the possible (see Fig. 1.10). When viewing research as a living practice, research is always 21  Rather than focusing on objectivity as something that is finished or complete, a finished reality, for example, I emphasize inquiry—and teaching/learning—as a process. Slattery (1995) argues that a goal of the curriculum should be placed on “possibility and becoming” because “human consciousness can never be static” (p. 254). 22 What are the understandings provoked by concepts of dress as related to an artist’s, researcher’s and teacher’s identities? 24  entered into somewhere in the middle; it is an ongoing movement that is relational. Through this study I understand curriculum as lived, nonlinear, and relational. It has helped me to understand necessary conditions for emergent learning, which will be addressed in subsequent chapters. These are not limited to, but include redundancy and diversity of ideas and experiences, neighboring interactions, and a distributed network or decentralized control with constraints that enable. These conditions occasion the possibility for self-organization and resonate with my theory of curriculum as an “improvisation within a scene of constraint” (Butler, 2004a, p. 1), an emergent concept that I revisit in several following chapters.  Figure 1.10 Student researchers discuss as they collate photographs taken during the study before they are presented to the public.  25  A difficulty in research that acknowledges a researcher’s entrance into the middle poses the questions of how to begin and where to begin? The chapters in this dissertation were not written from start to finish in a linear fashion, as previously mentioned, but mirror the harmonious cacophony23 of the study. The chapters emerged similar to the lived curriculum of this secondary school study. Themes surfaced and were juxtaposed alongside each other, amidst which new understandings developed. Since form has been conceived as a significant aspect in creating understandings, I have attempted to organize these chapters thematically while allowing for possibilities to emerge by suggesting nonlinear relationships among chapters. While this decision has been somewhat thwarted by the limits of the university and by my own imagination and experience in graphic design layout, I believe the gesture is worthwhile in creating new understandings for academic inquiry. I have designed a layout that transgresses the university’s guidelines. I have attempted to conform to these guidelines as much as I could while retaining the metaphors that arose from this study. I make an effort to use these guidelines as a constraint to enable new possibilities.24 However, they have proved too limiting and disabling for a mashup of image and text, facing25 conversations, and multiple stories that  23  These terms are placed together to re-imagine dis/cord and dis/order. Interacting within the constraints did, however, provoke me to change the proportions of the graphic version of this dissertation. The spread on the original layout was 9” x 12” and I changed it to 8.5” x 11” so that it could more easily be printed when downloaded. 25 The facing in garment construction is a piece of fabric that mirrors the visible side of an article of clothing. It is sewn into the garment for fit and aesthetics. The face also declares the fabric’s position. Facing pages are not allowed at the time of this dissertation’s submission (see http://www.grad.ubc.ca/students/thesis/index.asp?menu=005,002,000). 24  26  talk back. Therefore, I have created a graphic version26 and a university-approved version. Dress and Styling as Metaphors for the Dissertation as Artifact While I have already mentioned that I present this dissertation as an artifact that acts as a metonym for what I consider the boundaries of this study, I am well aware that it cannot contain all the relations, all the knowledge, and all the relevant interactions and potential implications. It is a polyvocal narrative (Gergen & Gergen, 2003) that presents understandings that provoke additional understandings and possibilities. In dressing up this document I have upset the traditional format of a dissertation, as have other artsbased researchers whom I will address in the chapters that follow. In a prior study (see Barney, 2007) I offered a metaphor for curriculum that relates to the sartorial, or tailoring processes. The sartorial inquiry that I suggested challenges the drafting, planning, cutting, piecing, and fitting of curriculum as well as other notions of tailoring.27 I imagined a fitting that would emerge through a relational and critical living inquiry. This theory includes a sartorial inquiry that would explore fit28 through a nonviolent, non-tearing-cutting-piecing of draping, folding, tucking, adjusting, and gathering that pulls here and there to envision a contextual fit.  26  See http://m1.cust.educ.ubc.ca/Artography/phd.php for the graphic version of this dissertation. 27 I use the word tailor as a non-gendered term, although, in daily life, I use the term seamster in lieu of either seamstress or tailor as a self-descriptive label of my interests in sewing. 28 Fit is used here to include a Rortian (Rorty, 1999) notion of fit-as-contextualusefulness or vibrant-sufficiency. Thus, a specific vocabulary was once used by our ancestors to serve certain purposes, but, as Rorty argues, “we have different purposes, which will be better served by employing a different vocabulary” (p. xxii). 27  Making clothing can be done in three ways, according to Norma R. Hollen (1972). In one suggested technique, drafting, precise measurements are taken and through “an engineering-type method” (p. 1), a pattern is produced to fit those measurements. Another process called the flat-pattern method describes starting with a simple commercial pattern that is altered to create new designs. This method seeks a pattern that has fit previously and then is altered and re-altered as the designer desires. Finally, draping is a method in which fabric is swathed around a figure’s form to see “how the garment will look as the pattern develops” (p. 1). Each of these approaches to tailoring transacts in relation to my own understandings of artist/researcher/teacher in terms of artistic inquiry, educational research, and curriculum theory as presented here. Hence, the format of this dissertation is significant in terms of how it represents the processes and products that were un/folded during the documented and imagined limits of this study, and also how it will potentially challenge, transform and contribute to arts-based educational research. As Jayne Armstrong (2008) points out, “[f]eminist, postcolonial, poststructuralist, and postmodern thought radically challenge the criteria that have traditionally provided the foundations for evaluating qualitative research and problematise what counts as ethical research” (p. 29). This work attempts to open new possibilities for understanding through new metaphors and methods, as it simultaneously points to resistances and challenges.29  29  Springgay, Irwin, and Kind (2005) assert that product driven research is transformed in a/r/tographic inquiry “to an active participation of doing and meaning making within research texts,” and “is a rupture that opens up new ways of conceiving of research as enactive space of living inquiry” (p. 899). 28  This dissertation is not presented as a model or as a new standard to be canonized and re-presented, but as a disruption that creates possible openings30 within certain constraints. I have maintained the book structure in this dissertation and I point to concepts of liberation through specific limitations along the way. Notwithstanding, I have emphasized an aspect of nonlinearity in the layout and structure of the internal chapters of the visual version of my dissertation.31 This occurs between this introduction and a summary reflection at the end, entitled Facing Potentialities, which contains possible implications of this study in the fields of art, art education, curriculum studies, and teacher education. However, this whole points to understandings beyond itself. In some cases, images within this document will illustrate concepts that I would like to point toward; in other cases, images are placed alongside text to reverberate meanings and provoke openings. These methods are utilized to shake out and generate as-yetunimagined understandings of artist, researcher, and teacher identities. Gergen and Gergen (2003) challenge contemporary researchers involved in polyvocality to “enable participating parties (and themselves) to give expression to their multiplicity—to the full complexity and range of contradictions that are typical of life” (p. 596). I take up this challenge in A Study of Dress Through Artistic Inquiry. As already described, I do not believe a full or complete expression of the artists, researchers, and teachers involved in this study can be presented, but it is a study that expresses the  30  The process of creating new metaphors and vocabulary is reiterated using Butlerian philosophies, complexity thinking, and a/r/tographic inquiry throughout this dissertation in multiple chapters. However, Rorty’s process of redescription (see Calder, 2007), through which we invent the possible through renaming and new depictions, is relevant as well. 31 Again, this refers to the graphic version of this dissertation found online at http://m1.cust.educ.ubc.ca/Artography/phd.php. 29  ambiguity, recursivity, and excess that reverberates the potential of these significant identities.  30  OUTLINING THE STUDY: ACCOUNTING FOR ONESELF  Figure 2.1 I created “The Stranger/The Hydradic I” from found porcelain doll parts, a Canadian two-dollar coin, embroidery, stuffed canvas, and cotton fabric. It was created in relation to my writing this chapter and the theories and understandings found within. The above figure is a detail of the work, its parts to unfold throughout this chapter. Pseudonyms Skadi “loved the mountains, but her husband favored the seashore. She eventually returned to the mountains” (McFarland, 1996, p. 144). McFarland’s narrative of a particular Skadi in history resonated with the participating teacher’s recounting of her simultaneous love of Vancouver and her longing for her native country on another  31  continent. Skadi32 is a Teutonic name that I selected as a pseudonym for the participating teacher in this study. A title of an artwork (see Fig. 2.1) or a pseudonym can have significance when juxtaposed with images and/or text. Originally, I imagined that all participants would choose their own pseudonyms, however, encouraging participants to select a pseudonym posed some unexpected issues in a classroom study that was attentive to decentralized network structures.33 Similar issues arose when participants were invited to share their research with audiences that were most significant to them34 which again transgressed many of my previous notions of boundaries or limits about research, pedagogy, democracy, and artistic practice. I found it curious that many participants had trouble selecting only one name and changed their pseudonym each time we met. A few participants did not see the ethical ramifications of disclosing their real names in protection of the rest of the participants. This posed somewhat of an ethical dilemma for my interests in co-constructed research in a collective learning group. Why is my name not also a pseudonym? Cannot these participants take responsibility and receive credit for their own artistic creations, musings, and understandings? In the end, I have acquiesced to ethical norms and hidden the names but not the understandings of the co-contributors. I  32  Phoenix McFarland (1996) describes Skadi as a “name for following your bliss, being true to yourself, and learning to pay attention to your needs” (p. 144). 33 Decentralized networks will be further elaborated in the chapter entitled Frameworks Within Frames of Divergence: Complexity Thinking, A/r/tography, and Pedagogy. See Brent Davis, Dennis Sumara, and Rebecca Luce-Kapler’s (2008) practical description of decentralized networking systems in the classroom (pp.198-200). 34 The student participants and teacher participant shared their artistic inquiry in many ways, including with their friends on Facebook and MySpace, and in community dance recitals, local galleries, and an art exhibition/performance that was held at the end of the school year. These venues actually expanded my notion of voice, democracy, pedagogy, and learning systems, although at first I erroneously imagined all participants voicing their inquiry in this dissertation without my mediation. I elaborate on this in other chapters. 32  have attempted to honor the wishes of the participants to the best of my ability since I see this study as a co-construction. The written result, however, while containing multiple perspectives from various participants, is primarily based upon my analysis of the collected data. Each participant has shared their understandings in unique ways (see Fig. 2.2). This dissertation is one product of understanding constructed through the process of the study, and while it cannot hold all the stories and understandings, it addresses themes that reoccurred in personal reflections, my own artistic production and inquiry, participant interviews, and observations.  Figure 2.2 To varying degrees, several student researchers kept written reflections of their inquiry. I passed out notebooks at the beginning of the study, but some participants posted their reflections on their Facebook and MySpace pages while others wrote their thoughts directly on their clothing. A few of the student participants asked if I could record their thoughts during informal interviews. Several participants stated that they felt uncomfortable having their thoughts recorded digitally. Each participant, however, documented his or her reflections and understandings in some manner. Himation Secondary I began my search for a site to conduct my research a year before the study took place. Several of my colleagues, familiar with my research agendas, provided many  33  suggested locations, including alternative classrooms and programs. However, I wanted to work with a group in a classroom of students with diverse needs, cultural backgrounds, and skill levels in a traditional public school like the one I was familiar with in my previous role as high school teacher. It was also important for me to find a teacher who was interested in exploring emergent curricula, art as a form of inquiry, and was willing to commit as a research participant. I found that combination of students and teacher at Himation Secondary35 within the Vancouver School Board.  Figure 2.3 I created a double-sided tunic for “The Stranger/The Hydradic I.” Skadi teaches several general art classes, each organized somewhat according to grade level. A fellow doctoral student familiar with my research interests, whom I will call Ann, first introduced me to Skadi a year before conducting this study. Beyond her identity as a secondary art teacher, Skadi is a practicing artist as well as a part-time  35  According to Charles Burton Gulick (1973) the himation is a garment worn over the chiton by the ancient Greeks but also “is the word for clothes in general” (p. 158). 34  faculty member at a well-known postsecondary art school. Skadi and Ann had worked together in a variety of education scenarios. Ann knew that Skadi had previously brought an artist into her classroom to work with her students. This artist specializes in wearable art and textiles. Ann thought Skadi might be keen on working with more visiting artists in the classroom in the future, and perhaps even be open to participating in a research study. Skadi invited me to her end-of-the-year art exhibition, where we discussed my research foci and pedagogical philosophies. We both found common threads and she expressed interest in collaborating in a research project with her students. I went through the procedures as directed by the university’s office of research services and received permission to conduct A Study of Dress Through Artistic Inquiry the following year.36  Figure 2.4 Detail of “The Stranger/The Hydradic I.”  36  I received ethical clearance in the last semester of the following school year, which was the semester in which Skadi expressed interest in participation. 35  Opening the Invitation Originally, Skadi invited me to work with one group of students enrolled in her general art course for grade-eleven students. However, after presenting my invitation to participate in that class, she asked if I would be willing to offer participation to the following grade-twelve class. She told me that many of the grade twelves heard about my presentation and wanted to join in. Hence, twenty-six students, between the ages of 16 and 19 brought back assent and consent forms, and are included in this study. Several students did not bring in signed forms and, unfortunately, their inquiry is not included in the pages of this study, which took place from mid April (mid-semester) to the end of the school year in June 2007.  Figure 2.5 Detail of “The Stranger/The Hydradic I.” This dual-headed figure expresses a relational joining and mirroring, a search for the multiple possibilities of the self.  36  Un/Doing the I I state in the introduction of this dissertation that I did not envision the extent to which my work would be autobiographical (see Fig. 2.5). I was aware that much of the published a/r/tographic research was autobiographic, but I did not imagine my work as being self-study. I was wrong. As an a/r/tographic inquirer committed to the identities of artist, researcher, and teacher, I create openings so that there is a potential for new possibilities to emerge—a recurring theme in this study. Notwithstanding, sharing the processes of my own understandings, including my partialities in terms of biases and limits was not included on my initial research agenda. I was anxious to explore the biases, resistances, practices, and beliefs regarding dress, artistic practice, and curriculum of a group of adolescent participants and their teacher. Nevertheless, should not research that purports to be participatory include the preposition with in significant ways?37 Does this preposition with not require the “I” to be alongside or in relation to others? My initial research questions included (a) utilizing a/r/tography as a pedagogical strategy—a question that remained viable throughout the dissertation—but also (b) the negotiation of concepts of dress and identity by adolescents. This latter line of inquiry shifted38 as the diversity of research topics began to emerge. I later became more interested in complex learning systems, neighboring interactions, collaboration, and curriculum constraints that encourage divergence. However, at this first meeting, I wanted to review the first impressions of these students who had little interaction with me up until this moment. I wanted to ask hard questions and this act was one of the most 37  I discuss Freire’s (2006) notion of this preposition in relation to pedagogy in the chapter entitled A/r/tography as a Pedagogical Strategy. 38 Initial questions evolved into new questions as themes and patterns emerged in this study. I elaborate upon these significant themes in greater depth in subsequent chapters. 37  difficult things for me to do: What am I named by the other? Am I willing to be un/done in relation to others?39 These also relate to Judith Butler’s (2005) question, “How are we formed within social life, and at what cost?” (p. 136).  Figure 2.6 I did not know how I would utilize the data, but I photographically documented my dress each day of the research study. Along with a blazer, this is what I wore on the first day of our study. I was about to rip an opening in my ego from the very first day in the classroom of this study. But this act of trust and humility/humiliation created an opening to new understandings in my relational identities. Immediately before Skadi formally introduced  39  These concepts are further elaborated in the chapter Addressing Myself Elsewhere. 38  me to the grade-eleven students, I passed a blank piece of paper to each of them and invited them to, Write your first impressions of me. Make it honest and do not hesitate to offend me. Do not write your name, as this will remain anonymous. One student will collect all of these responses and return them to me. (From my daily research reflections) I had opened myself up to a form of humiliation—that I present in the next section—but I was surprised by the discrepancy between the anticipated responses that I imagined and the actual responses that I received. The students’ naming of me was different from what I expected. My own insecurities may have been to blame for this mis/alignment of first impressions. Nonetheless, I did not know how this exercise would be used in this study; therefore, it was undetermined as much as it was spontaneous.40 However, it summoned an opening in which to respond to “both this and that, and more” (Aoki, 2005a, p. 299).  40  See my conceptualization of the ludic in the chapter entitled A/r/tography as a Pedagogical Practice. 39  Figure 2.7 Detail of “The Stranger/The Hydradic I.”  Humiliating the Ego I frequently use juxtaposition, realignment, and the mashup as strategies in my artistic inquiry and in my teaching to convince new possibilities to surface.41 This repositioning of an Aokian-lived tension between this and that encourages new perspectives and calls for divergent understandings. In a hermeneutically playful but significant way, Ted Aoki (2005a) repositions the word humiliation in relation to humour, human, humus, and humility in an essay entitled Humiliating the Cartesian Ego. In his essay, Aoki shifts the negative sounding humiliation into a word that calls forth generative relationships amidst a living space of tensions. As I review my own list of possible responses with the lists that were presented to me by student researchers, I am both done—connected with a context—and undone—repositioned—in the sense that I am re/named in a way that emphasizes multiple and simultaneous possibilities. The risk I took in allowing myself to be re/named was a modest attempt at displacing “I” from a 41  I have called this mashup inquiry in the Introduction of this dissertation.  40  specified center and allowing myself to be placed in between or amidst multiple identities. Humiliation, in this sense, is always a possibility for the artist, researcher, teacher, and student.  Figure 2.8 Detail of “The Stranger/The Hydradic I.” Repositioning a word invites unanticipated possibilities and new understandings. Hence, the planned curriculum for that particular class, according to Skadi, was simply to invite me to present my research interests to this group of students, and then invite them to participate in the study. The curriculum-as-lived, however, included the improvisations of Skadi, her students, and me within this open-ended curriculum-as-plan, or scene of constraint.42 The curriculum-as-lived acted as an improvisation, with the potential for humiliation, in the sense of perceived foolishness, but also in the repositioned sense of generativity, or the opening of new understandings, connections, and meanings.  42  Improvisation within a scene of constraint is a concept originally used to describe Judith Butler’s (1990, p. 1) notion of gender, but that I appropriate and reposition in relation to curriculum and art education. 41  Figure 2.9 Detail of “The Stranger/The Hydradic I.” The Self Divided: The Hydradic “I” In Greek mythology, the Hydra is a many-headed snake-like creature whose heads multiply regeneratively as they are cut off. Hydra can be used as a symbolic noun to describe a thing that is difficult to overcome or resist because of the enduring or pervasiveness of its many aspects.43 Aoki (2005e) interprets Julia Kristeva’s notion of the divided self, as a reinterpretation of an individual, which resonates with my theories of latent potentiality and possibility. To Aoki (2005e), Kristeva would say the following: [E]ach one of us is both self and other; each subject is inhabited by both self and other. In each one of us there is always a part that is a stranger to the self—other than self. (p. 288) Aoki challenges us to tolerate the otherness—the strangers—within ourselves, for if we cannot, “we shall never be able to live at peace with the strangers around us” (p. 289). Acknowledging or recognizing the multiple or split notion of “I” provokes a tolerance of the strange, the possible, the ludicrous. This tolerance places the “I” in a constant state of flux and of potentiality. The strange(r)44 invites latent possibilities.45  43  For example, finding an essential self may prove to be a hydra in a Lacanian search for the self. 44 Tolerating strangers within provokes me to revisit my own identities as artist, researcher, and teacher, to view them as strange. The term strange is a shortening of Old 42  Figure 2.10 Detail of “The Stranger/The Hydradic I.”  Naming the Artist When I invited the student participants to note their first impressions of me, I thought of the myriad of recognizable strangers that were part of my own understanding of self, the limits of my knowledge, my masculinities and femininities,46 my securities and insecurities, and my in/ability to represent an authentic self. The students submitted  French estrange, from the Latin extraneus, meaning “external,” or “strange.” Strange, however, also means (1) unusual or surprising in a way that is unsettling or hard to understand, and (2) not previously visited, seen, or encountered; unfamiliar or alien (see strange in the Oxford American Dictionary). I was observing the familiar and strange in my identities as artist/researcher/teacher. As a teacher I wanted to create an opening to the possible, and upon reflection I shared contemporary artistic responses to dress by a wide variety of artists to unsettle the participants’ understandings of art and research. However, the participants also unsettled my own views of what it means to be an artist, researcher, and teacher through strangeness, that is, through interactions, questions, responses, feedback, and the like. 45 Skadi expressed excitement and surprise due to a couple of the unsolicited collaborations in this study. These collaborations will be discussed in later chapters in this dissertation, but it might prove useful to the reader at this time to know that several students who did not consider themselves to be friends prior to this study, formed alliances during this study. Perhaps these student researchers felt confident enough with the otherness within themselves to work with the other outside their selves. 46 In the chapter Un/Doing I share more about the performativity of gender. 43  an interesting mix of responses that allowed me to tolerate some of the strangers amidst my recognized selves. A few of the responses were descriptive: thin, high forehead and pointy hair, small bones. However, the majority of the responses were more interpretive with one-word statements, such as interesting, energetic, aesthetic/fashionable, optimistic, nice, sexy, weird, handsome, smart, odd, and cool. Several qualified their interpretations with a short description, such as you are eccentric because the way you speak is flamboyant; there is an awesome girl on your shirt, I love your hair, and you have straight teeth, making you look like a neat guy; you have a nice shirt, I don’t know many people who would wear shirts like that; you look like you’d own a beauty salon by the way you present yourself, speak, and your t-shirt; you seem confident because you use a loud voice; you are stylish because I have never seen anyone combine the style of a suit and a casual t-shirt. I opened my selves to be named by the other. It was a frightening but liberating occasion. All participants, however, opened themselves to be named by each other in this collective research study. In the subsequent weeks the participating researchers were invited to engage with concepts of dress through their notions of artistic inquiry. According to Skadi, many of the student participants played with concepts for longer than she would have allowed in her regular teaching style. This brought unexpected insights. In giving up a certain amount of control of the class to other participants, for example, Skadi expressed her search for understanding in a series of comments and questions during an interview about a month into the study: This experience is a test for me, I want to see evidence of growth and discovery, to go out and make mistakes, to try, to experiment. I want to know how to teach in such an open environment. I want the students to just do it. It seems that the free in open takes too long. Discovery comes in  44  doing. What have these students accomplished in eleven hours? Why did it take so long to get into? They are taking more ownership and responsibility. Medium is a choice that I usually make for the students. In our project [this study] a lot of boundaries cross. I don’t want to create mush where there is no empowerment. What do I do when the students can’t think for themselves? It has been hard to give up control. I love collaboration and connection and the crossing of disciplines. Every person is working with a different process and medium. Who could have sped it up? Most students taught themselves. But, it was exciting, unexpected, there were different projects, I got to work with Dan. There was so much growth, discovery for oneself. Students found what worked for them, what resonated for them. I didn’t know so much about my students, their interests, and the processes they already knew. Skadi described the management of the students’ ideas and the classroom time schedule on several occasions. As a secondary teacher for more than a decade, I am familiar with such structures and practices—i.e., the management of students and curriculum-as-plan—in a school culture (see Aoki, 2005c). There are factors for which a teacher must be accountable. There are outcomes and standards that must be reached. There are expectations of administrators, other teachers, parents, and students. As I read the students’ research journals I saw something for which Skadi was perhaps unaware of; these students were engaged in artistic practice, but not in Skadi’s perception of what constituted normal secondary artistic practice. Several students shared with both Skadi and me throughout the research project that this is the first time they felt like they were artists. One student researcher describes this shift in perception: My idea came to me immediately. This is the first time I feel like I am a real artist. I didn’t know how to do what I wanted to do; I just did it. Then, conversely, I find a statement written in a student’s notebook that supports Skadi’s worry about students’ not knowing. The student writes, “I don’t know what to do.” This student researcher describes her artistic journey in terms of a meandering. She started with an idea and then “felt bored.” She tried something else, “but wasn’t successful.” She  45  changed media and processes, “but realized I couldn’t finish it.” In the end, she finished several pieces for the art show by reassembling her “failures” into something else. Management of time, skills, processes, media, and ideas were a recurring themes for Skadi. The student researchers, however, did not express concern about time management. There were surprisingly few concerns with not knowing how to do something, and Skadi’s worry that the students weren’t “doing art” did not seem to be justified. Most of the concerns expressed by the students were conceptual issues. Several had difficulty coming up with ideas for their final products. I knew that a final product was a concern for Skadi, because she felt the need “to maintain her reputation as a good art teacher with a quality art program.” I wondered if there was a way to encourage students who expressed concerns without determining their path and outcome. I asked students to begin to engage with questions and concerns in which they were already entrenched. What do they want to begin to understand? What are understandings they want to investigate, scrutinize, and share with the public? Of course, these questions were to be framed within the participating researchers’ burgeoning understandings of research, art, and dress.  Figure 2.11 Detail of “The Stranger/The Hydradic I.”  46  Skadi expressed apprehension about crossing boundaries. She stated that doing so would create a “mush” that would counter “empowerment.” I argue that boundaries perceived as essentially fixed may bring a false sense of security. Enslavement to fixed structures can hardly be conceptualized as empowerment. Outcomes might easily be stated within the boundaries of the curriculum-as-plan, but the sense of empowerment that a teacher might feel from having reached the goal of the directed curriculum is not necessarily passed on to a student. While the teacher and some student researchers described uneasiness with such an “open assignment,” many student researchers expressed their excitement in “becoming an artist.” Gunnar, Heather, Emilie, and Gabe, for example, each felt like this was the first experience they had at feeling like a “real artist.” When I asked them what was different about this experience from others that they had had, they all stated that they felt that they were in charge of what they had to say and share as artists. This study has influenced me in my practice as an artist, researcher, and teacher to be patient and to remember that my knowledge is always partial. Some of the student researchers were insecure about their lack of knowledge and experience. Gabe, one of the most prolific object makers in the study, was very vocal about not ever wanting to try sewing on a machine. One day, however, I looked up and he was using the sewing machine without anyone around guiding him. Because he was so adamant about not ever trying the sewing machine, I felt uncomfortable asking him what had changed his mind. Curiously, even though from my observations he seemed to be full of ideas, bringing in  47  materials, experimenting with new processes, helping his peers with ideas, and exchanging techniques, he handed me a note as he left class one day that read: I have been trying hard to find something unique to make clothing-wise. I am having a hard time. I brought much materials but I’m low on ideas. I had overlooked something. I didn’t fully know why Gabe decided he could use the sewing machine and I didn’t know why he felt he was low on ideas when he was clearly independently productive and helpful to other participants.  Figure 2.12 Detail of “The Stranger/The Hydradic I.” Additionally, Skadi expressed worry about not knowing certain media and processes in which the students were working, about not knowing how to teach them.  48  Frequently, she voiced that her identity as a good teacher was determined by her ability to transfer her knowledge of specific media and processes to finish specific tasks. She regularly expressed concern over the products in the final show. These end-of-the-year products have been primarily drawings, paintings, and some sculpture. In my opinion, the work exhibited in the final show is not what made her a good teacher. I believe Skadi cares deeply for her content area of art, but most importantly, she cares about her students. Through observation and in our interviews, I came to understand that she worried about these students outside of the school, she wanted to set a good example for them, and she thought about how to make them feel good about themselves. Her notion of a good teacher solely as a content-knowledge expert, nonetheless, was something that she questioned during this study. In an interview, she expressed the following: I believe that all children are born artists until they are told that they aren’t. I believe in my students. I believe that the greatest gift that you could ever give another is the gift of your expectation of their success. She asked me, “Why do teachers all teach the same thing?” Skadi continued by answering her own question: “We should believe in our students and not control the process [of becoming]. If they know how to problem solve, then they will be the best, their own kind of successful. The trick is to allow others to be what they want to be, to value their own potential.”47  47  In reading Skadi’s reflective questions and comments, I am reminded of shifting views from various participants. For example, Gabe stated initially that he would never use a sewing machine, but he eventually did use it, I suspect, after attempts at hand sewing and taping proved unsuccessful for his artistic visions. Another shifting view came from Skadi herself. She informed me that the student researcher Michael would never use the machines. The statement was due to her own perception that this student was a “jock” and therefore would avoid such “female” technology. Again, this student did use the machines after soliciting help from another male student, Skadi, and me at various times. 49  Like Skadi, I am interested in the becoming of students—but extend this interest to the identities of artist, researcher, and teacher—and how art and pedagogy relate to un/deterministic potential. This includes the reflexive naming of self and being named by the other, or as Judith Butler48 might state, the giving of a relational account of oneself, one that is transformed through interaction and naming. These concerns of possibility and relational identity49 will be elaborated upon recursively in ensuing chapters.  48  Butler (2005) declares, “An encounter with an other effects a transformation of the self from which there is no return” (p. 28). 49 Butler (2005) claims that we are fundamentally dependent on the other, “that we cannot exist without addressing the other and without being addressed by the other, and there is no wishing away our fundamental sociality” (p. 33). 50  A/R/TOGRAPHY AS A PEDAGOGICAL STRATEGY  Figure 3.1 Exchanging feedback; designing, reflecting upon, and constructing meaningful wearable and non-wearable concepts of dress; learning and teaching techniques and processes; and working independently and collaboratively in a collective were among the highlights celebrated within this a/r/tographic engagement. Not knowing how to do certain things, like constructing a pattern (as shown above), was a challenge that most student researchers were up to investigating for themselves and with the help from other participants and sources. Why A/r/tography in the Art Classroom? Like other a/r/tographers (e.g., Barney, 2007; Darts, 2004; Dias, 2006; Irwin & de Cosson, 2004; Springgay, 2004; Irwin et al. 2006a) I attend to the relationships— including the dissonance—of my identities as artist, researcher, and teacher/learner. By consciously blurring these imagined delineations or boundaries, I imagine new possibilities for these identities. As an emergent methodology in arts-based research, one that is specifically considerate50 to the identities of artist, researcher, and teacher/learner, I wonder how a/r/tography or a/r/tographic practices might be conceptualized in the  50  Considerate is used here with its archaic meaning, “showing careful thought.” 51  secondary art classroom. The art classroom provides a context in which all of these identities might be re/conceived and re/considered, not just by the teacher-asa/r/tographer, but also by the student-as-a/r/tographer. This chapter investigates how an arts-based methodology like a/r/tography might be used in the classroom by teachers and students, as well as by artists-in-residence and educational researchers.  Figure 3.2 The student researcher above, Ann, investigates the significance of brand names that create a sense of status and belonging in her peers at Himation Secondary. As she began discussing her understandings during her inquiry, her fellow researchers shared their own experiences and feeling about fitting “in and out” at the school. Ann created a handbag from collected hangtags from clothing purchases that outwardly exhibit their brand names and prices. This work explicitly shows her efforts to fit in by creating an original bag that ironically demonstrates the status, wealth, and search for belonging that is attributed to many articles of dress, including handbags. Maxine Greene (1995) asserts “the classroom situation most provocative of thoughtfulness and critical consciousness is the one in which teachers and learners find themselves conducting a kind of collaborative search each from her or his lived situation” (p. 23). She continues, “[W]e can only know as situated beings. We see aspects of objects and people around us; we all live in the kind of incompleteness that Freire identified and  52  there is always more for us to see” (p. 26). I present a/r/tography as a possible strategy to accomplish such a vision. Irwin, Gouzouasis, Grauer, Leggo, and Springgay (2006b) explain, “Understanding ourselves as constituted through experience, a/r/tography does not live outside or separate from the experience of inquiry. Thus, both the subject and the materialization of the research are open to perpetual reconfiguration” (p. 8). Therefore, a/r/tography is conceptualized here as a teaching/learning strategy that encourages new understandings and possibilities through reflexive, relational, and artistic living inquiry. A Shift in Attitude: Personal Perpetual Reconfiguration As an art educator, practicing artist, and as an inquirer informed by critical theory, I seek an awareness—a critical awareness—of practices I perform and have been taught. I question whether it is socially responsible for an art teacher (a) to determine what students will learn, (b) how they will learn that specific thing, and (c) in what context they will learn it? More specifically, I am critical of the art teacher who (a) determines a line of investigation for his or her students, (b) chooses a process by which they should work, (c) selects the media in which the work will be completed, (d) creates the criteria by which students will be assessed, and (e) researches specific contexts by which all of these might relate in an effort to disseminate the best and most useful knowledge to his or her students. I am that art teacher I critique51 largely—especially in my early career as a K-12 teacher—since I feel as though these are methods encountered to be a good art teacher.  51  I am critical of my practices and beliefs and these are aspects that I attempt to attend to in my practice as a teacher. 53  Figure 3.3 Student participants search through a box of discarded telephone wires and connectors with the intention of creating new imaginings. The lower pair of hands holds the beginnings of a functional woven belt and the other seeks parts for jewelry. My definition of artist is inextricably attached to my definition of researcher. Barone and Eisner (1997) argue that artists are researchers. They question why the “scrutinizing of the world by artists of all sorts would be considered any less worthy of being called research than the scrutinizing done by scientists” (p. 115). They predict the shifting of the field of education “by those in the field who imagine new possibilities”— much like as has already occurred in the acceptance of ethnography as a useful lens for “viewing previously unnoticed educational phenomenon” (p. 115). What previously unnoticed educational phenomenon might be unfolded through arts-based research, the conceptualization of students as arts-based researchers, and the teacher as learner and the learner as teacher? These boundary blurrings help us notice the unnoticed and create a potential for new understandings. What if art students are thought of as artistic inquirers who are capable of significant artistic inquiry that is personally revelatory and socially  54  relational? I suspect the prevalence for the inculcation of the basic skills and essential techniques of art—as if there are such things outside of a specific context—would be exchanged for imaginings of living artistically in the world. That is, what would occur if art were conceptualized as a way of knowing through which understandings and possibilities are generated and negotiated? I suspect that the content that would be taught in classrooms would shift from memorizing and appreciating canons of knowledge to scrutinizing processes and methods—in relation to multiple contexts—that open possibility and understanding. This, of course, would require a shift in metaphors for teacher and learner, as well as a shift in how content is utilized, consumed, challenged, and produced.  Figure 3.4 Skadi and the student participants brought in piles of donated and discarded material and used clothing to recycle and renew. Anastasia, an avid research-journal keeper during this study, created a “Uniform of Inquiry” almost every day during class even though she did not have any formal training in sewing or clothing construction. Here, undergarments have been reinterpreted as outer-garments.  55  A Hybrid in Flux The approaches of action research, phenomenology, hermeneutics, narrative inquiry, and arts-based research may influence a/r/tography as a research methodology and as a form of living inquiry (Irwin & de Cosson, 2004; Leggo, 2006; Springgay, Irwin & Kind, 2005). A/r/tographers share the attitude that living is a state of constant becoming, rather than something that is fixed, static, and known. According to Pinar (in Irwin & de Cosson, 2004), “A/r/tography provokes questioning, wondering, and wandering that brackets the everyday and the conventional as artist-researcher-teachers study and perform knowledge, teaching, and learning from multiple perspectives” (p. 23). This attitude of a continual becoming, and of questioning, wondering and wandering, encourages the troubling of definitions and trespassing of borders (see Fig. 3.4). Hence, a/r/tography and its practitioners are perpetually in a state of becoming. The inquirer is passionately engaged amidst the inquiry; that inquiry is a living practice of merging theory and practice. A/r/tography can be described as a borrower that redefines itself in its borrowing; it is a little of this and, a little of that, which makes something new— something that is neither this, nor that. A/r/tographers anticipate new metaphors and ways of thinking and doing.  56  Figure 3.5 Un/Folding is folding and unfolding and the relationship between to create more. A/r/tographic Un/folding Skadi expressed concern over both her propensity toward using didactic methods to instill, what she called the basics or traditional art techniques, and her desire for her students to think, search, and value for themselves. However, Skadi was committed to this a/r/tographic study to challenge prior notions of teaching and learning. She stated on several occasions that “giving up control is difficult,” but in doing so, she is “learning more than [she] expected and the students are teaching themselves.” I would describe Skadi as a very caring teacher who values her students and who teaches secondary art content in a fairly planned or sequential way.52 In a meeting on the second day of our study, we exchanged our expectations for this study. I expressed my intentions of recording the unfolding journey of a co-constructed, arts-based research study, including conceptualizing the students as artistic inquirers. She explained then, and reiterated later 52  For example, while Skadi wanted “to see what would unfold, and what would emerge” as the students engaged in their own lines of inquiry, she also wanted to make sure that the “students stayed on task and knew what they were doing.” She was nervous that I did not provide a time schedule with due dates and specific criteria. Hence, we formulated a schedule together that offered self-referential prompts regarding dress, questions about the student participants’ notions and purposes for engaging in a research study, and the potential audience to present their research understandings. We quickly deviated from this schedule, but these prompts were used at the beginning of two classes to initiate nondeterministic discussions and actions. 57  in the study, the importance of technique; she placed value less on concept and composition but wanted her students’ work to be “well-crafted and technically sound.” Throughout this study, Skadi negotiated her identity as artist, co-researcher, and teacher/learner, stating that she “learned more than [she] could have ever imagined by giving up some of [her identity] as teacher.” While Skadi was an enthusiastic participant in this study and key in the dynamics of the collective, I believe timing within the year was significant to opening some possibilities that would have been more difficult at other times. For example, Skadi acknowledged the importance of the June art show, which was held at the end of our study, as a recruiting tool for her art program. She stated the following: “As far as scholarship opportunities go, those are now past and so the pressure is off in creating work that gets students into art programs.” Since the “pressure was off,” we were able to play, experiment, and inquire into dress using artistic methods in ways that were outside Skadi’s notion and experience of art school entrance portfolio expectations. As a researcher or artist-in-residence I was privileged to study and participate in an emergent curriculum, to allow events and interactions to un/fold. As a teacher with certain top-down mandates and accountability issues with a variety of stakeholders, Skadi was very accommodating and brave to open her classroom facilities, practices, and beliefs to the unknown. The students all expressed interest in participating in this study, but there were questions as to the duties of a researcher and the venues in which research might be presented. For example, one student participant shared his interpretation of researcher by asking if I was “going to take their blood and stuff.” I explained that my research was not  58  of that nature. I explained my interests and reviewed my research proposal with them. I invited the students to participate as researchers to share their own voice and express it in a collective way—perhaps through an exhibition or other venue—but that I would include their voices in my own dissertation. I expressed the desire to preserve their voices as best as I could and that I would check the accuracy of their statements before publishing the information. I explained that I would collect data using various methods, analyze that data by presenting an interpretation, and then offer any conclusions that might impact the fields of art education and curriculum studies. I explained that many researchers study students, but it is rare to conceptualize students as researchers (Rudduck & Flutter, 2004). I expressed my interest in art-as-research and students-asresearchers in an art class. While each of these student participants had a unique notion of research throughout the study, I did not discount their abilities to create personal metaphors and significant understandings.  59  Figure 3.6 Sunny created a drawing on her shoe before becoming a participant in this study. She shared that she wanted to be successful in her career after leaving Himation Secondary and wanted to do something creative. She relayed that her multiple interests, in cooking, music, and art were viewed as in competition with each other. She expressed unease in having to decide on one single road to travel, bidding farewell to her other options. Pointing toward the convergence, blending, and juxtaposition in her activities of drawing and dress opened a simple, but poignant metaphor of possibility for this young inquirer. Sunny, a student who created drawings on her clothes even before meeting me or engaging in this study (see Fig. 3.06), asked me, “Did you go to fashion design school or something?” I told her that I was trained as a printmaker/drawer and educator, but that I had no formal training in clothing construction or styling. She responded by pointing out that Jimi Hendrix played guitar in a powerfully unique way and was self-taught. She added, “Sometimes I find that when you aren’t trained at something you are actually more creative.” This young thinker presented an idea that counters many of my own beliefs as an educator but provokes me to think in new ways. The plural histories, rather than a single history, of certain forms of inquiry through artistic production, including music, visual art, poetry and others, might stimulate insights that give rise to connections,  60  understandings and imaginings hidden under a canonized history that is perpetually transferred. Transactional/Transformational Education and Relationality I have briefly discussed relationality and emergence in the introduction of this dissertation, but I feel it appropriate within this chapter to elaborate my conception of transaction as it relates to a/r/tography as a pedagogical strategy. According to Allan R. Neilsen (1989), Louise Rosenblatt53 acknowledged her friend and contemporary John Dewey’s contribution in the development of transactional theory. Rosenblatt (cited in Neilsen, 1989) argues that reading54 involves “much more than the accretion of facts” (p. 8). A/r/tography has been described as a relational inquiry (Springgay et al., 2005), which resonates with Rosenblatt’s (1985) statement, “The human being is not seen as a separate entity, acting upon the environment, nor the environment acting upon the organism, but both as parts of a total event” (p. 98). However, Neilsen’s (1989) advocacy of transaction deviates from the importance that I place on relational understandings within a social milieu as he touts the importance “for creating options with confidence and acting on them with conviction without looking to others for direction and/or affirmation” (p. 8). I suggest that creating options with critical confidence through the scrutiny of multiple histories and belief structures requires the looking to others for discourse and action, and to formulate and challenge understandings. This is an argument substantiated in current  53  See Rosenblatt, L. M. (1978). The reader, the text, the poem: Transactional theory of the literary work. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. 54 I call for a more broad definition of the concept of reading in this study to include the reading of culture, dress, and art. Reading therefore, through transformational meaning making, becomes learning. 61  discourses. For example, Lieberman and Pointer Mace (2008) provide the following insights: We are coming to understand that learning rather than being solely individual (as we have taken it to be) is actually also social. It happens through experience and practice. In plain terms—people learn from and with others in particular ways. They learn through practice (learning and doing), through meaning (learning as intentional), through community (learning as participating and being with others), and through identity (learning as changing who we are). (p. 227)  Figure 3.7 A student inquirer displays an origami design. My research questions continue to evolve through transaction. For example, in the chapter in which I introduce the practice of Shopplacing I also present an argument for conceptualizing students-as-capable. After reading several articles on transaction and transformation education in relation to my own experiences, I have had to re-question: To what extent do I want my students to be capable (see Fig. 3.7)? To what extent do I want them to be able to choose, deconstruct, imagine and re/make? Do I have the right or responsibility to engage or not engage in this line of pedagogy? Likewise, what are my responsibilities as an artist and researcher? Curiously, the accountability regarding these  62  identities is unique to each identity. It seems that as an educator and as an educational researcher, I walk a thin line between critical and non-critical pedagogy, both of which are transformational. In the latter, pedagogy as a form of colonialism in which I, as a teacher, colonize the mind with my own definitions of capability is certainly not my intention. How do I guard against such non-critical pedagogy-as-tourism as described by Margaret Werry (2008)? In the following passage, Werry tackles this dilemma not by avoiding tourism but through re-imagining tourism as an opportunity for reflexivity (see Fig. 3.8) brought on by the affect of shame.55 There is an urgency to all projects of critical pedagogy in the current militarized, corporatized climate of higher education, but I believe there is a special urgency to work that examines in this way the conjunction of schooling and the culture industry, tourism in particular. Tourism is a fact of life in most parts of our globalizing world, and the global economy’s only consistently growing industry: our students will all be tourists, and many of them will work in some dimension of the industry. Bluntly, the only kind of engagements that they will have with other places and peoples may be ones mediated by tourism. If the “disciplined encounter with the other” extolled by Gadamar, and enshrined at the heart of liberal educational philosophy (Appadurai 1996) is to have a future, tourism may be it. Like their teachers, our students will need to develop a language to talk about ambivalence, ethical challenges, compromises, failures, opacities, and shame that attends their implication in such institutions, as they attempt to learn, to connect, to reciprocate through practices always already structured by the market. They will need the tools to translate the privatized ethical landscapes and modes of subject-hood available in these neo-liberal contexts into a compassionate and impassioned sense of public commitment. Working from this ground of affect, one might hope they could envision and desire a tourism practice that is democratic, egalitarian, and perhaps even a site of social engagement or radical social transformation, for tourists as much as tourees. (pp. 37-38)  55  Werry (2008) states, “[I]t was the benefit of shameful retrospection that impelled me to pedagogical reflexivity (Giroux 2001b), to question how and why this experiment had failed to live up to my convictions as a teacher and scholar of tourism. It was shame that encouraged me to make deeper connections between my own pedagogical practice and the structural conditions that both enable and disenable it” (p. 37) 63  The un/folding of my questions—sometimes un/folding through complicity,56 humiliation, shame, or other affect—develops as I respond to my experiences as artist/researcher/teacher.  Figure 3.8 Ann’s collection and the handbag’s development as she sorts through the souvenirs she has retained from her past shopping endeavors. Rena, a self-proclaimed artist and ice skater, wanted to explore “the two faces of fashion” in her artistic production as a student research participant. Skadi reminded Rena about the transfer techniques she used in previous assignments before the research study began. Four days into the study Rena approached Skadi and me with the concern that she would be away from the research group on a school trip to Disneyland. She couldn’t use the transfer techniques while traveling. I suggested that she continue her work—her inquiry—on her trip. For example, I pointed out that even on her journey there might be  56  Complicity is the state of being involved with others in a wrongdoing, but it has also been used by curriculum scholars as a new word melding complexity and simplicity into a new whole. The word is derived from the Latin complicare, “fold together.” 64  materials that refer to her stated concern of bulimia. When she returned from the trip, she brought in a skirt designed entirely out of Air Canada airsickness bags (Fig. 3.9).  Figure 3.9 Rena’s “Bulimia Skirt” and “Starburst Bikini.” Action Research as a Living Practice A/r/tography challenges the theory/practice dilemma of action research (see Carson & Sumara, 1997) by integrating Aristotle’s three conceptualizations of thought: knowing (theoria), doing (praxis), and making (poesis) (Irwin & de Cosson, 2004; Springgay et al., 2005). This interweaving seeks the creation and conveyance of meaning rather than facts (see Springgay & Irwin, 2004). Carson and Sumara (1997) explain that if research is thought of as “inextricably tied to the complex relations that form various layers of communities” (p. xvii) then research is not simply a method that is done, but is so tied to the researcher’s life that “[w]ho one is becomes completely caught up in what 65  one knows and does” (p. xvii). A/r/tography is explicitly attentive to these relationships. How then do these assertions relate to this study? Each a/r/tographer, therefore, conceptualizes a/r/tography inimitably because, although lives may interact and paths may intersect, they also have unique intersections and individuals hold diverse understandings. Sometimes these understandings are in conflict with each other, which can provoke new understandings that could not have surfaced if kept compartmentalized. In the classroom, students and the teacher share a portion of a living experience. Outside of that classroom, understandings are created in relation to other living experiences. Simply stated, therefore, living experiences are relational.  Figure 3.10 Ann’s completed bag. This was only one of the artifacts that Ann created during our study, but it was a significant piece for her as she reflected on her inquiry. The bag wears the price of its creator’s ongoing styling.  66  Phenomenology and Hermeneutics Open Understandings Phenomenology, according to Jardine (1998), “lays out for educational inquiry the painful task of articulating our actual lives as educators [teachers and learners]” (p. 24) and “leaves us right where we always already were, with the actual play and interplays of life, with all its difficulty and ambiguity, unredeemed or, better, not in need of redemption but only thoughtful savoring, reflection, conversation, and understanding” (p. 23). Thought of in this way, phenomenology addresses contexts and relations, rather than fixed essences (Fig. 3.10). Hermeneutics, Jardine says, “involve[s] cultivating in oneself the ability and desire to keep the world open” (p. 1). Hence, to Jardine, the world is not closed, fixed, or finished whether dealing with mathematics or art. Therefore, the search for understandings and possibilities is privileged in this type of inquiry, rather than an immovable, closed set of facts or findings. This type of learning does not end exploration with discovery, but stays in the investigation, creating openings for understandings. I would have been surprised if Rena’s learning had ended when she left for her trip to Disneyland. Likewise, my learning did not end when Rena shared her assemblage of airsickness bags as a product of artistic exploration. The metaphor that she presented opens understandings through dialogue and in creating new metaphors (Fig. 3.11).  67  Figure 3.11 Rena’s “Bulimia Skirt” is juxtaposed by her “Starburst Bikini” to provoke new connections and understandings. Kayvin, Xu and Gu write the following about their ongoing investigations highlighting the process of learning through their artistic investigation entitled The New is Old, and the Old is New: Our project started with a very different concept than you see now. We both had separate ideas at first. Kayvin was going to investigate the possibility of combining many aspects of dress, from various cultural heritages, into one, hopefully showing an appreciation and tolerance for all cultures. Xu wanted to create a shirt with lights, which would transmit the spiritual light of God. Both of us met up in the library and started discussing our projects. Neither of us could figure out how to create a mobile power source for the lights needed and so we decided to create a helmet together. The helmet led us to a shield, the shield to a spear, and the spear to Roman-like clothing. We also attempted to make a breastplate but we couldn’t agree on certain aspects so we left that idea behind. Our concept has obviously shifted quite a bit from its original conception, and we were even going to discuss the inner and outer aspects of identity using photographs being adhered to the interior and exterior of the shield. However, we decided to forego that idea because of time constraints. We never really planned on working together, it just happened that we started talking and debating and then we focused on making armor together. It was an interesting investigation in making two minds work as one. Gu came into our project after the helmet was created. We all learned more  68  about cooperation and working together in a group on a self-guided project. The meaning of our piece deals with the past returning to the present and moving into the future. If we can learn from the past, we can make the future better. We invented some new techniques, we learned how to sew, and negotiate our ideas in a group in order to present them collectively. As a side project, it is interesting to actually wear the piece and to interact with people. Wearing the piece brings out emotions that are new and creative. These secondary students worked in a cyclical way, remaining open to possibility while simultaneously foregoing other possibilities due to multiple reasons, including collective agreement and lack of experience with certain techniques and media. The product of their inquiry is not finished in their artwork, as they have stated, in that they continue to construct understandings as they wear the piece in various contexts (see Fig. 3.12).  Figure 3.12 Kayvin performs his piece around the school grounds. During the final exhibit Kayvin asked Xu to videotape his interactions with the audience.  69  Narrative Inquiry From narrative inquiry, a/r/tography attends to autobiographical artistic practice, inquiry, and teaching and learning. While much of the educational research that has previously been identified as arts-based has been literary (Barone & Eisner, 1997), a/r/tographers have used other forms of narrative, such as performance, movement, music, ritual, design, sculpture, installation, painting, quilt making, photography, clothing design and film (Barney, 2007; Irwin & de Cosson, 2004). Describing a/r/tography as a form of arts-based research suggests an attention to aesthetic properties through which understandings are generated. The aforementioned approaches to inquiry—action research, phenomenology, hermeneutics, and narrative inquiry—have all been defined at some point as living inquiry. Because these methodologies concern themselves with relational living experiences, they can all be conceived of as a way of—or attention to— living in the world. This type of autobiographical inquiry is therefore relational to the lived experience of the inquirer and is as individual as her or his fingerprint. However, unlike a fingerprint, this relational inquiry shifts according to contexts. Irwin et al. (2006a) agree that much of the writing in a/r/tography has called for autobiographical inquiry, but that even “more needs to be written about the challenges and insights gained through collective artistic and educational praxis” (p. 85). A classroom provides one such venue in which a/r/tographers might collectively dialogue. Therefore, while a/r/tography is a living inquiry, context and commitment play an important role in the dynamics of the formation of meaning.  70  Meandering Shape-Shifting Border-Dwelling Xu describes the limitations of being able to share his understandings with others as he investigated his ideas with Kayvin and Gu. Similar to the co-written artist statement presented earlier in this chapter, Xu describes his meanderings in the following: My friend, Gabe, suggested the use of black duct tape as a main medium. This was completely a huge breakthrough. Then, things started to pace up. We used wire as the structure and tape as a skin. The audience I aimed for was for those who might feel like they do not belong in certain time periods, as well as for those who wish to experience the past. One of our concepts is that old can be new and vice versa. It is hard to understand, but I wish people could realize this by watching our project unfold. Xu acknowledged the influence of his peers in his knowledge formation, but he also wishes that others could experience his process “by watching our project unfold.” Not all of the students collaborated in the same ways as Xu, Kayvin, Gu, and Gabe. However, their individual and collective narratives provide insights into self-organizing behavior, collective learning groups, and classroom dialogue (see Fig. 3.13).  71  Figure 3.13 Xu and Kayvin worked both independently and collaboratively on their project. While Skadi and I find the final piece perhaps lacking in technical skill and form, the commitment invested in each other and to their historical research after school hours was noticeable. Xu and Kayvin stated that they made significant connections in their process of thinking and doing. Curiously, Skadi stated that she was struck by the investment of these students in their project and their collaboration, but she was not comfortable with the use of non-art materials like duct tape. I agree that the work looked crafty to my formal art-snob-trained eye. Here there was an opening. Why do we praise product over process as art teachers? Is it because of the tools we have at our disposal to assess value? As a researcher and artist-in-residence, I was privileged that I did not have to face accountability for the program’s reputation as Skadi had to. Stakeholders expect a school that produces students with a knowledge of specific art techniques. However, her concerns about Gu, Xu, and Kayvin’s end product-as-artifact resonated with my memories of being an art teacher with a reputation for producing students who produced “quality” works. This event highlights the value that some a/r/tographers (Irwin & de Cosson, 2004; Springgay,  72  Irwin, Leggo, & Gouzouasis, 2007) place on a process of exploration and emergence over recipes of representation, the maintenance of formal standards for example. The final product did not look like art as Skadi and I had been taught. However, the process, with its research, collaboration, investment, and play, appeared to be the process of art that we—speaking as artists and teachers—seek for our own work and for the work of our students.  Figure 3.14 Gabe transgresses the boundaries of paper, fabric, and other “traditional” art supports through body art and performance.  73  Unlike some methodologies, like action research, a/r/tography has not yet experienced a divisive faction.57 Instead of delineating branches—that is, detailing differences in approaches in order to argue what it is and what it is not—a/r/tographers acknowledge contextual shifts, folds, and tears and attend to the liminal, or the blurry, messy places where delineations are problematized. Irwin (cited in Irwin & de Cosson, 2004) describes a/r/tographers as those living in the borderlands (see Fig. 3.14). A/r/tography is a shape-shifting border dweller. A/r/tographers celebrate this shifting characteristic and revere conflict as a place of generative possibility. Belidson Dias (2006) explains how a/r/tography is both individual and relational, and encourages new understandings and practices in the following: My thesis did not set out to define what a/r/tography is or how it must [be] performed or practiced. A/r/tography, after all, is a lived practice in which each a/r/tographer interrogates his/her emergent understanding within her/his basic theoretical framework. A/r/tography is a shifting concept that gradually evolves [or emerges] over the course of creating a/r/tographical pieces and conversing with other a/r/tographers: thus it is a difficult task to define a/r/tography with any certainty [and not conducive to a theory in which openings are intended to be created]. However, the attentive viewer must notice that the form and method of an a/r/tographical work always perform the theory that they represent. In this light, I was drawn to the practice of a/r/tography and in turn, my own art making became a starting point for examining relationships between visual culture theory and practice. A/r/tography contaminated, altered, and diversified my practices. (p. 120) A/r/tography is not a fixed method of inquiry with a set of prescribed steps. It is, however, according to Springgay, Irwin, and Kind (2005), a form of research that “empower[s] and change[s] the manner through which research is conducted, created,  57  By addressing name and ideological differences I am not discounting action research as a methodology but noting the different conceptualizations that have been made through distinction. A/r/tographers, on the other hand, come to expect distinctions within a/r/tographic practice. 74  and understood” (p. 897). It is an inquiry practice that has potential in the art classroom for both students and teachers to challenge notions of identity by working as artists, inquirers, and teachers/learners in new ways. A/r/tographers generate new understandings and meanings that subvert and challenge long-held patterns of oppression or normalcy.58 In problematizing language, practices, and conceived identities, we are provoked to rethink, re-live and re-make “the terms of [our] identities as [we] confront difference and similarity” (Irwin & de Cosson, 2004, p. 29) in our constructed world, attending to our multiple identities and possible identities.  Figure 3.15 This is the lower half of Gabe’s “Likert-like Scale” that he created on his arm. The scale ranges from “Exhilarated” to “Leave Me Alone.” He constructed a white sleeve the can be slid up and down the scale to display his emotions to those around him. 58  A/r/tography can be described as a cultural studies approach to research “not to be understood in terms of a fixed set of rules that guide and shape the process of data collection. Rather, a cultural studies methodology is a theory of the research process and should be understood as a practice or craft, in which questions of power and responsibility, politics and ethics, are constitutive considerations of the research process” (Armstrong, 2008, p. 29). Likewise, Springgay et al. (2005) highlight the significance of concepts over systematic and prescribed methods of research and present the condition of relational aesthetic inquiry and concepts as renderings. 75  Figure 3.16 Artist, Cassandra Christensen Barney, wearing the skirt portion of the wearable Tyvek sketchbook we created. Trying on Identities within a Scene of Constraint On the first day of our study I brought in an example of one my artistic endeavors in which I created a wearable sketchbook using Tyvek.59 Surprising me, and I believe some of her students, Skadi climbed onto the tables in the middle of the room and modeled the wearable sketchbook that I originally made for my artist-partner Cassandra (see Fig. 3.16). The following day Skadi brought in her own collection of wearables and asked the students to form groups of two or three and dress each other. One student within a small collaboration group was invited to be a model while his or her partner(s) performed the styling (see Fig. 3.17). My research notes express my surprise that every student in the class seemed enthusiastic in participating and experimented with each item as it was attached to the body. The activity, which was outside of Skadi’s usual 59  Tyvek and the wearable sketchbook is also discussed in the chapter Un/Doing Curriculum: Improvisation within a Scene of Constraint. It is a recyclable material that feels like paper but is difficult to tear. 76  curriculum plan but not planned by the students, or me opened a group discussion about performativity of identity, styling, dress, inquiry and new ways of thinking and being.  Figure 3.17 Student participants formed small groups and styled each other in clothing that was brought into class, mainly by Skadi. After which, we participated in conversations about garment construction, culture, and identity formation. Concepts as Renderings A/r/tography is an artistic way of knowing and living. I have discussed a/r/tography as a methodology of inquiry and as a teaching strategy in flux. A/r/tography has also been described as a boundary shifter and border dweller, residing in the spaces between artistic practice, research, and teaching and learning. As a border shifter, a/r/tography simultaneously imagines new possibilities as new understandings emerge. In addition to the key condition of a/r/tography, relationality, Springgay et al. (2005) propose six flexible, vibrant, and interconnected concepts of possibility in a/r/tography. These concepts—Contiguity, Living Inquiry, Metaphor and Metonymy, Openings,  77  Reverberations and Excess—are identified as renderings60 and are offered as “possibilities of engagement” (p. 899). I reiterate these six renderings here in relation to my own understandings of a/r/tography. While these renderings are not presented as descriptors, steps, or essential qualities of a/r/tography, I discuss them here to suggest their possible conceptualization in relation to art curricula. However, others may emerge during a/r/tographic practice.61 For example, Dias (2006) identifies not six, but twentynine renderings used in his own a/r/tographic research.  Figure 3.18 Gunnar teaches other participants, including Skadi, how to create a saddle stitch in a piece of leather from a deconstructed coat that he and another participant collaboratively altered.  60  A rendering in art is a drawing or sketch that is carefully thought out or observed. A/r/tographically rendering relates to giving back or submitting for consideration. Springgay et al. (2005) state, “Renderings are theoretical spaces through which to explore artistic ways of knowing and being in research” (p. 899). They inform as they give back. 61 I have included my understandings in relation to these renderings, but have added ludic to the rendering openings. I also make reference in other chapters to ambiguity and latency, which act as possible renderings in this study. 78  Openings Openings can be conceived of as new understandings and possibilities. With so much concern in some educational discourses regarding deterministic outcomes, the notion of openings may counter common sense62 educational practices. Like holes, openings can be scary and dangerous, allowing for the potential of the not known and the unexpected to pour in and pour out (Fig. 3.18). Springgay (2003) states, “Schooling is traditionally concerned with the discipline and control of bodies. Openings and gaps in which desire and fear seep through are often closed, filled in, and repaired in the efforts of efficiency and rationalization” (p. 14). In a/r/tography openings are created; they are not necessarily searched for to repair or to fix. The format and content of arts-based research serve “to create a new vision of certain educational phenomenon” (Barone & Eisner, 1997, p. 78). Readers or participants of such research “may find that new meanings are constructed, and old values and outlooks are challenged, even negated. When that occurs, the purposes of art have been served” (p. 78). The Ludic Ludic is an adjective that means showing spontaneous and undirected playfulness. It is derived from the French ludique, through the Latin ludere, “to play,” and from ludus, “sport.” Play is celebrated within contemporary arts (Buckley, 2006; Mataric, 2005; Rosenstein, 1976; Toloudis, 1989) and relates to not knowing and the possible. The question, why are you doing what you are doing? can be answered in terms of the ludic: “I am doing this just for fun.” Or, likewise, “Just because.” The pragmatism that is involved with the ludic is enjoyment, challenge, spontaneity, exploration, 62  For further reading on why countering common sense makes sense, see Kumashiro (2004). 79  experimentation, whimsy, and nonlinear learning. Art critic Dorothy Joiner (2004) suggests, “play-filled pieces provoke thought, tickle the imagination and claim their rightful role cavorting with the muses” (p. 14). Anthropologist Ronnie Frankenberg (1995) first describes the ludic work of specific contemporary artists in an exhibition review of the Tate Gallery and then goes on to describe the transformational impact of those pieces in the following: For me this set of liminoid spaces had proved liberating and enlightening. I understood myself and one familiar concept in a new way; my future teaching, reading, writing and perhaps even experience of living had been permanently enriched. (p. 20) Ted Aoki (2005a) reminds us that negative sounding words may be repositioned for divergent meanings (p. 300). Ludic is the root of ludicrous, a word with negative connotations that means foolish, unreasonable, ridiculous and absurd. It is not surprising that play is marginalized in curricula, even though new understandings and possibilities are able to emerge from spontaneous and undirected play (D’Heurle & Fiemer, 1971). While the sensible—an antonym to ludicrous—may be more prized in traditional curricula and the ludic more risky, the ludic may prove more beneficial since the outcome is not deterministic allowing for adaptation, the unexpected, and the yet-to-be imagined. People have asked me where I get my ideas for my works of art. Sometimes they ask me if I envision the finished work before I begin the work. Some of the research participants expressed concern that they “didn’t know what to do.” This was also a recurring concern for Skadi as she described her usual curriculum in terms of sequential processes.63 While there may be artists who work in a systematic or sequential way—  63  Systematic instruction is also a concern for me in my identity as a teacher. Some artistic processes certainly call for a systematic form of instruction, like lithography for 80  planning out each step of their actions to create a pre-determined work—I find myself most often responding to a series of what can be described as risks or mistakes in my artmaking. I have general concepts that I want to explore and I begin playing with a determination that I will see where the artistic process/journey of ludic not knowing takes me. I envision artmaking in this way as an un/folding. I make a mark and then respond to that mark; it is a relational aesthetic. Ideas emerge as I engage with the work in relation to my current understandings, experiences, and the possibilities that the ludic opens. I trust that something of value, something meaningful will surface. The ludic does not always make sense and it is not always rational. I know I would have a difficult time explaining the value of the ludic to any number of my former K-12 administrators. Skadi described her own process of painting in similar terms to my own, but she kept coming back to “feeling nervous” about not having a structured plan that students would follow. While ludic is described as non-deterministic play, that play is not always comfortable play. In my years in education I have encountered many who believe that a good art teacher is one who produces students who generate quality products. We imagine that quality products are achieved through quality thinking and engagements. My experience as a teacher rejects this assertion. For example, if one were to display the sum a student derived from a simple mathematic equation, there would be little known about how the student arrived at this sum even though we may deduce that the sum is correct. In my  example. However, I noticed that Skadi expressed unease when student participants struggled for meaning and stated that it was sometimes “easier to be told exactly what to do.” While stating that she was excited about an emergent curriculum Skadi wanted to know, “what will they [the students] do next?”  81  experience of attending art education conferences, I have met many teachers who are looking for the foolproof assignment in which all the students’ artistic products look good—a kind of correct, in that the product should look like good art—regardless of the inquiry involved. The criteria we use to determine quality is contextual, based on the experiences of the teacher and those to whom the teacher is accountable. Additionally, processes of engagement and thinking are difficult to assess and certainly require more than the product alone can ascertain.  Figure 3.19 A research participant before and after her group styling exercise One of the student participants (see Fig. 3.19) who was styled by her peers declared, “I feel really exposed because the clothes are so tight.” The clothing that the student was wearing before this exercise consisted of a brighter and lower-cut top than her dress-up outfit, but did not have such a bold pattern. However, the dress that her styling partners selected exposed more of her legs and had only one layer of fabric in  82  certain areas, where her top and jeans had provided two. The conversation that emerged from this ludic activity included the insight that play can be uncomfortable and that clothing, like art and research, can simultaneously reveal and conceal. Living Inquiry Art, research, teaching, and learning all require a living inquiry to exist in relation to each other: none of these identities are separate from life; they are life. We are all students as we learn through our engagement with the world. Why should this be ignored within the walls of a classroom? Punishing children for or protecting them from “big questions, abstract thought, and passionate engagement” limits their interaction and understandings of the world (Jardine, Clifford, & Friesen, 2003, p. 173). Art has the potential to transgress boundaries that limit understandings and limit possibilities. Of course, all knowledge is partial, but some practices, attitudes, and perspectives may conceal in their attempts to protect from living experiences, manage living experience, or even close living experiences. For example, Hurwitz, Madeja, and Katter (2003) believe the following: Attention should be given to the selection of artworks that do not threaten the culture or value system of the student. One way to disarm negative reactions is to focus upon value free factors such as the components of a work. (p. 19) This statement is a telling reminder that there is a belief, even among scholars, that certain knowledge is “value free.” Of course, the term value free can also be conceptualized as knowledge that is devoid of value. Here, the components of art mean the compositional elements and principles—line, shape, color, texture, value and, harmony, unity, balance, emphasis, space, proportion and the like—of art that are devoid  83  of context from a Formalist perspective, which views, and judges, art solely on its formal properties.  Figure 3.20 Daniel T. Barney, “See What You Can’t Touch,” 2008, graphite on paper. This work was created for the exhibit entitled, “High Art,” in which all the artifacts were hung twenty feet off the ground and viewers were encouraged to look at the art using binoculars placed in the middle of the gallery space. Reverberations Elliot Eisner (2004) states that means are not necessarily formulated after a conceptualization of an end within an arts study as can be understood in so many models of “rational decision-making” (p. 6). He explains, “In the arts ends may follow means. One may act and the act may itself suggest ends, ends that did not precede the act, but follow it. In this process ends shift; the work yields clues that one pursues. In a sense, one surrenders to what the work in process suggests” (p. 6). Research is always entered into somewhere in the middle when viewing research as a living practice; it is an ongoing  84  movement that is relational, and does not require linearity or a prescribed set of steps. A/r/tographic research is similarly nonlinear. It is not followed in a straight line of means to an end, but is a relational reverberating discourse of an a/r/tographer. It is a “quaking, shaking, measure, and rhythm that shifts other meanings to the surface” (Springgay et al., 2005, p. 907). Rebecca Luce-Kapler (1997) acknowledges the reverberating subjectivities involved in research, and suggests that research is much like poetry. She explains: I see possibilities unfold even as I choose some possibilities. I don’t use all I can see; don’t see all I can use. With poetry I try to reconstruct experience using words from other contexts, hoping to offer readers a vivid taste of my particular vision in a poem. In writing research, I try to reconstruct the experience, anchoring the writing in the transcript’s words which I shade with my own intentions even as I invited the reader to join us in the room, to see for her or himself. But I can never choose all the possibilities or even the best possibilities. I exclude. Because of the complexity of language, of research, I must use the page as a boundary for this moment. If the words weren’t written on this page for others to read, the language would scatter, become other meanings in other contexts. (p. 195-196)  Figure 3.21 Student participants designed a runway show so that their pieces could be displayed in action and offered a place for feedback and response during the end-of-year art exhibit.  85  Therefore, student and teacher a/r/tographers may dialogue with each other as they negotiate their unfolding understandings. Meanings are made both individually and collectively in a classroom of a/r/tographers. I imagine that when a classroom of a/r/tographers inquires into a common theme, there is a balance that allows for innovative individual responses and still enables coherent collective activity (Davis & Sumara, 2006). This balance is perhaps not viewed as a static line, but as an organic, undulating, dancing, reverberating beat (Fig. 3.21).  Figure 3.22 Daniel T. Barney, “Felt,” 2008, embroidery on felt, for the exhibition entitled, “High Art.” Metaphor and Metonymy Numerous educational researchers call for alternative methodologies and ways of knowing (e.g., Arhar & McElfresh, 2004; Barone & Eisner, 1997; Irwin & de Cosson, 2004; Sullivan, 2005). Metaphors and metonymy “make things sensible—that is, accessible to the senses” (Springgay et al., 2005, p. 904). Through ambiguous metaphoric 86  and metonymic relationships, new understandings become available. Arthur D. Efland (2002) argues that it is only through the arts that “the constructions of metaphor can and should become the principal object of study, where it is necessary to understand that the visual images or verbal expressions are not literal facts, but are embodiments of meanings that can be taken in some other light” (p. 153). Art and poetry embrace ambiguity to imagine the unimagined (see Fig. 3.22) but in this relationship, “there is both a loss of meaning and simultaneously a realization of it, invoking the presence of what it is not, and also what it might become” (Springgay et al., 2005, p. 905). That loss of meaning might be perceived as a potential danger in the classroom, but new imaginings might be worth the risk of such disruption. For example, Gabe was vocal in his discovery of how to create his own custom T-shirt through a process of stenciling and simple spray paint. He created a shirt that read, “Nuke the Whales,” in bold text (see Fig. 3.23). The shirt, rather than solely presenting a story of violence and destruction, became an opening in which we shared many stories in which non/violence is enacted, resolved, avoided, and reimagined.  87  Figure 3.23 Gabe’s “Nuke the Whales” T-shirt and handmade stencil. Excess What do we do with the excess, that which remains, the things that don’t fit, the unfair or the under-theorized, the marginal, silenced, seemingly unimportant, or contextually un-useful portions of our lives, in our classrooms, and in our curricula?64 Springgay et al. (2005) suggest it is through excess that we are able to “work against, to subvert, and to act as an agent of change” (p. 908). It is through these that we feel and sense. Excess creates an opening to explore, shift, reimagine, and question (see Fig. 3.24).  64  Appendix B on page 275 demonstrates an example of my decision making process regarding this section on excess as I engage in a/r/tographic practice. 88  Figure 3.24 Annabella creates a T-shirt entitled, “Race, It Shouldn’t Matter,” which included an interactive aspect in the final exhibition. The public was invited to participate as they respond to this treatise directly on the shirt. Contiguity Contiguity attends to the performing identities that are adjacent in our lives. And yet, these identities act in relation to and enhance each other but might not touch or overlap. For example, in our roles as student and teacher we might not share all or many aspects of our lives outside of the classroom. However, the living inquiry of my students enhances my understandings as a teacher and the living inquiry of my teachers enhances my own understandings as a student. A/r/tographers unsettle assumptions of the prescribed while living meaningful lives through a search for deeper understanding. Hence, the places where identities are separated and where knowledge ends is the space in which a/r/tographers work.  89  A/r/tography as a Teaching/Learning Strategy How appropriate is it to conceptualize students as researchers? Shirley R. Steinberg and Joe L. Kincheloe (1998) argue, “No reason exists to preclude most elementary, secondary, and university students from becoming critical student researchers” (p. 2). They continue by stating: [S]tudents as researchers relearn the ways they have come to view the world around them. Indeed, such students gain the ability to awaken themselves from a mainstream dream with its unexamined landscape of knowledge and consciousness construction. In their newly awakened state critical student researchers begin to see schools as human creation with meanings and possibilities lurking beneath surface appearances. (p. 3) A/r/tography as a teaching strategy may disrupt, unsettle and scrutinize alternatives and suggest new possibilities in knowing. It is not for those seeking to maintain, control, or, in some regard, transfer, or transmit. Kevin Kumashiro (2004) reminds educators and students that it is not only new knowledge that is problematic but the partial—meaning simultaneously biased and incomplete—knowledge that we already hold that is often most in need of unsettling. Whereas traditional forms of teaching require the teacher to know a specific body of knowledge with specific answers to predetermined questions, curriculum theorists and many contemporary educationists imagine teaching and learning as something else. A/r/tographers envision teaching and learning as seeking possibilities and understandings, which may necessitate the unsettling of previously held knowledge. The art, research, and pedagogy of an a/r/tographer “move toward destabilizing concepts, objects, and identities” (Irwin et al., 2006a, p. 72). Learning is perceived of as a nonlinear journey. Hence, living a/r/tographically entails creating understandings of bodies of knowledge and relationships to a contextual and shifting knowledge rather than solely learning a fixed and prescribed body of knowledge. Knowledges are seen as relational;  90  they are the constraints through which improvisation occurs to form new understandings. Therefore, possibilities emerge in between, as knowledges interact. The a/r/tographic curriculum likewise celebrates the emergent, un-prescribed, and evolving curriculum as a living experience because of its living participants. Because “a/r/tographers recognize the need to pay attention to tangents, to interruptions, and to unsettling conversations,” (Irwin et al., 2006a, p. 75) students and teachers conceptualized as a/r/tographers investigate a more democratic notion of a classroom than is perhaps typically held for many classrooms. A/r/tographic teachers and students alike are encouraged to pursue their own artistic and pedagogical/educational inquiry and position within the collective classroom project (Irwin et al., 2006a). Again, there should be room for autonomy within the collective learning system that encourages the collective to self-correct, adapt, and learn (Davis & Sumara, 2006). These notions require participant negotiation and innovative understandings of collective learning in a classroom. These understandings emerge from a collective a/r/tographic inquiry (see Fig. 3.25).  91  Figure 3.25 Not all the feedback that was provided on this collectively constructed Tshirt was socially responsible or sensitive, but it provided an opportunity to voice and to respond to voices in unanticipated ways. Emerging Theory Amidst Inquiry Practices A/r/tography, as a learning strategy in the art class, can act as a way of knowing, being, and becoming. Students, as well as teachers, who engage in a/r/tography may investigate the possibilities of being and becoming artist, researcher, teacher, learner, explorer, activist and the like. That which an artist, inquirer, teacher, or student needs to know is questioned, investigated, and unsettled. The basics, therefore, are not avoided, but may be re-imagined, re-discovered, and/or recycled. They are scrutinized in a personal and collective manner. So, identities and knowledge are not fixed in such a classroom, but understandings are still performed and possibilities are imagined in unanticipated ways. Therefore, histories, techniques, processes, approaches, and styles are hopefully not shunned, but are newly explored with a critical eye. Once again, the nonlinearity of learning in the a/r/tographic is reiterated. Theory in such a classroom  92  emerges amidst inquiry, a process of dialogical questioning and responding. Irwin et al. (2006) describe an a/r/tographer’s process as an “active stance to knowledge creation” that makes “inquiry emergent, generative, reflexive and responsive” because the a/r/tographer theorizes through inquiry (p. 71). A Commitment to a Relational This and That A/r/tography as a teaching/learning strategy can be reflexive and relational. Because a/r/tographic inquiry emphasizes the process of inquiry, initial questions may evolve in relation to the lived experience of the participants. A/r/tography is not an elitist club for a select few artists, researchers, and teachers, but requires a commitment to the identities of artist, researcher, and teacher/learner. Irwin et al. (2006a) concur, stating, “[A]/r/tography encourages all those involved [in a project] to become a/r/tographers (the extent to which suits their practices) and begins with the intention to create art and write for dissemination” (p. 75). Art and writing may work in conjunction in a/r/tography to enhance one another and to open, rather than to close, understandings. Writing occurred in this study through journaling, enhanced artists’ statements, and other literary narratives that were presented alongside artworks that were displayed in an exhibition, in print, online and in other venues. Although an exhibition tends to privilege images and books and articles privilege text, I see these positions as relational potentials that shift in various contexts. A/r/tographers can attend to these power relationships. A/r/tographic collectives have sought to address equality in responses, discussions, and choices from participants (see Irwin et al., 2006a). Cole and Knowles (2000) describe teaching as “a relational activity” (page 152). Teaching and learning are interrelated. Can there be teaching without a learner and can there be learning without a  93  teacher? We have all heard someone profess to be self-taught. I agree that we may conceive of ourselves as our own teacher, but those understandings are made in relation to a lived experience. So, I suggest that all learning is self-taught in the sense that learning is relational to a living experience. Are we not all learners, even though we may not all call ourselves students?  Figure 3.26 Gee wears her painted vest outside of the school walls, where she asked me to document the artifact of her investigation. Gee, like several of the other participants, described the importance of nature in their lives. Out-of-doors takes on a special meaning for Gee as she wears a statement and souvenir of her observations and beliefs. Schooling and Schools The term student suggests a supposed learner within a formal setting. The school is the most likely place to find students, but learning takes place in all aspects of life. Clifford and Friesen (2003) confirm that children are learners without the school  94  structure, and they intimate the question: Is the primary purpose of school, then, to become a good student (p. 93)? Clifford and Friesen also explain how learning and living are often perceived as disconnected from each other in the following: Because so little of what they [students] learn outside the school has any place inside the classroom, many discount what they learn each day about how to function at work, in shops, and with each other. They can no longer remember a time when they learned things without textbooks, lectures, worksheets, and tests. When asked what they have learned this week, most students will search only their week at school for an answer. Predictably, many will respond, “Nothing.” Learning has been reduced to what they do in school. Living is what they do in the real world. (p. 93) A/r/tography does not profess to bring all aspects of one’s life together, but through a/r/tographic practice, relationships—both explicit and implicit—can be explored. A/r/tography has recently been used as an educational research methodology in the art classroom (e.g., Darts, 2004; Springgay, 2004). However, inviting students to participate as a/r/tographers who consciously create understandings through a living inquiry, and who construct concepts that involve artistic production and writing, needs further exploration. David Darts (2004) performed a research study situated in the art classroom using a/r/tography. In concluding the analysis of this study, he discusses some of the procedures he would do differently in a hypothetical subsequent study. He states: I feel I could have engaged the students more meaningfully in the a/r/tographical process (perhaps even becoming a/r/tographers themselves), though at the time, I found it difficult to interest them in this aspect of the inquiry process. I wonder how this may have changed if the students were more actively involved in developing the research questions? (p. 153) Stephanie Springgay’s (2004) study similarly invited students to participate in the process of living inquiry through artistic practices. Springgay’s research also took place in a secondary school art classroom where she acted as an artist-in-residence, researcher and  95  co-teacher. While students were not explicitly labeled a/r/tographers, Springgay “modeled the practice of a/r/tography enacting pedagogy and research as living inquiry and interrogation” (p. 53) to her student participants. Springgay (2004) states, As a new methodology a/r/tography has primarily been enacted and theorized from the perspective of self, analyzing the intersections between one’s own art, research, and teaching. In this research study I was interested in the intersections between self and other or between being(s)in-relation, thereby enabling an exploration of my own art, research, teaching, but also the ways in which student practices and understandings of a/r/tography folded together. (p. 54) Attending to Context Exploring a/r/tography as a teaching/learning strategy in the art classroom would not make much sense if one were looking for learning that is standardized, prescriptive, or scripted. Learning and teaching might be more metaphorically conceived of as a journey of exploration to a/r/tographers; however, constraints are considered within an a/r/tographic inquiry. A/r/tographic inquiry might begin with a concept or several concepts in which possibilities or unsettling questions emerge. Springgay et al. (2005) state, “Concepts are flexible, dynamic, intersubjective locations through which close analysis renders new understandings and meanings” (p. 898). A/r/tographers enter a journey that is already occurring; therefore, attention to situational context must be attended to within conceptual inquiry. Both teachers and students who practice a/r/tography may dance a different dance even if the music that is playing seems to be the same. In a classroom, as participants discuss concepts, constraints might also be collectively discussed and agreed upon to provide a sense of coherence to a particular project. However, within those constraints, participants are free to inquire in a manner that is not prescribed or predetermined.  96  Davis and Sumara (2006) describe the balancing of coherence with randomness as enabling constraints. They propose that within a classroom this balance is occasioned65 when everyone is invited to participate in a joint project, rather than a project in which “everyone does the same thing” or “everyone does their own thing” (pp. 148-149). The teacher works with the students, within the constraints of the school structure and other situational contexts, to pursue learning. Of course, as stated by Sullivan (2004), “making use of what is currently known about certain phenomena is a very useful starting point” (p. 797) but does not preclude the inquirer from pursuing alternative possibilities as learning (Eisner, 2004), which may unsettle and trouble such knowledge (Fig. 3.27).66  65  Teaching as occasioning is unique to complexity thinking. The teacher occasions learning and self-organizing behavior rather than mandates behavior. 66 As I invited potential student researchers to participate in this study, I shared hundreds of images of works by a broad definition of artists who were addressing concepts of dress in distinctive ways. Many of the works that were shown address social issues and imagined solutions to challenges that are not always discussed in art classrooms. Instead of appropriating one particular artist’s solution as a general assignment for the students, the student researchers were introduced to a broad discourse of dress in recent artistic inquiry and were invited to participate in that discourse through their own inquiry and presentation of understandings. 97  Figure 3.27 A work in progress by a student participant. He is using previously acquired skills and new imaginings in this self-directed study of form and meaning as he responds to the research collective’s feedback during informal conversations. Unlike the majority of his peers, this particular student asked for feedback from Skadi and other participants often, but his work was still uniquely his. Carl Leggo (2006) suggests the following about teachers, but substituting the word student where teacher is used creates new understandings: I now promote a conception of [students] as [student]-researchers. I invite [students] to engage with action research, [student] inquiry, narrative inquiry, arts-based inquiry. I want [students] to know themselves as poets [and as artists]. [Students] are not functionaries, and they are not puppets. [Students] are like poets or artists. They improvise, explore, experiment, practice. Above all, they live their vocation. (p. 2) The vocation of a child is to learn. We are all beings who learn.67 How we conceptualize learning, however, matters here. Defining child learners as students who, upon entering a school, should be inculcated to think in specific ways about specific things is only one  67  We are also beings who teach even though teacher may not be our vocational title. I imagine the researcher in a/r/tography as an inquirer and the teacher as a learner. The boundaries of these identities are, of course, not sharply delineated, but blur and reverberate against each other to generate new understandings. 98  way to envision learning (see Jardine et al., 2003). Learning in this sense becomes closed, fixed, and static. It is learning without dynamic potential. It is a learning about becoming a good student, not a critical inquirer or courageous citizen (Steinberg & Kincheloe, 1998, p. 3).  Figure 3.28 Bruce, a very introspective inquirer, created many of these sculptural figures from wire that he painted after forming. Bruce also created a large, rhizomatic, humanlike torso with roots that extended over a base on which he attached these smaller sculptural objects. These sculptural forms were started after Bruce began to draw up plans to create a living suit that would help the environment as it helps sustain life. Teaching and Learning as a Rhizomatic and Relational Activity A/r/tography is described by Irwin, Beer, Springgay, Grauer, Xiong, and Bickel (2006a) as “a methodology that inspires situational inquiry through rhizomatic relations” (p. 85). The rhizome is used as a metaphor to imagine a nonlinear type of learning in which unexpected learning can take place and “can grow from its extremities or limits” (Amorim & Ryan, 2005, p. 583). The unexpected learning that is traced by the metaphor of rhizomatic growth can be described as the understandings and possibilities that  99  a/r/tography encourages in relationship to a linear dialogue. A/r/tography does not necessarily seek to replace but to open. These openings are not isolated but may be scrutinized in relation, for to be open there must be something that is or was once closed. Irwin et al. (2006a) explain in the following: [A]/r/tography is one of many emerging forms of inquiry that refer to the arts as a way of re-searching the world to enhance understanding. Yet it goes even further by recognizing the educative potential of teaching and learning as acts of inquiry. (p. 70) Pedagogy is a relational act that has the potential to conceptualize teaching and learning as relational acts of inquiry. Like Paolo Freire’s (2006) definition of authentic education, pedagogy defined in these terms entails notions of teacher and learner working with each other, rather than working for or about one another. Here, they are not dichotomous notions but are relational—contiguous, reverberating and blurred—in that they necessitate dialogue. Hence, the educative potential of a/r/tographic inquiry relates to both teaching and learning. These theories provoke several questions: how can one be an adequate teacher without being an adequate learner? and, can one really learn without the reflexivity necessary to teach?  100  Figure 3.29 Sculptural forms that Bruce created in his search for a living shirt. Reflexivity, according to Cole and Knowles (2000), requires a contextual criticality of knowledge. A/r/tography respects this reflexivity, which does not seek a static knowing, but “intentionally unsettles perception and complicates understandings through its rhizomatic relationality” (Irwin et al., 2006a, p. 79). A/r/tography acknowledges the tension within relationships and views these tensions, disruptions, uncomfortable places, ruptures, or unsettling moments as spaces of potential rhizomatic growth. These moments are often where new connections, openings, understandings, and possibilities emerge in complex ways. Teaching and learning with an attitude that allows for and encourages new linear and nonlinear growth requires a relational dialogue “that questions assumptions and invites new understandings of collaboration” (Irwin et al., 2006a, p. 84). Clarifying how this collaboration of inquiry might develop, Irwin (cited in Sinner, 2002) states the following: A/r/tography is inherently about self as artist/researcher/teacher[/learner], yet it is also social when groups or communities of a/r/tographers come together to engage in shared inquiries, act as critical friends, articulate an  101  evolution of research questions, and present their collective evocative/provocative works to others. (p. E-1)  Figure 3.30 Bruce states, “My inspiration for this project came from the environmental issue concerning the world: global warming. To prevent this catastrophe from destroying our civilization, some solution must take place. My solution is to grow my own clothes. Since everybody wears clothes, why don’t we spread the environmental-friendly idea this way. By doing so, we can reduce energy that produces clothing and reduce carbon dioxide through the leaves that grow on us.” Through this study I presented and enacted a/r/tography with participants who committed to some degree an attention to an artistic inquiry of dress. A/r/tography became a pedagogical strategy in a classroom. We shared in our becoming a/r/tographers as artistic teachers and learners who engaged in collective inquiries—initiated through concepts of art and dress—and acted as critical friends in order to articulate an evolution of research that is presented together in 102  divergent ways. A/r/tography as a research methodology becomes a living inquiry that can be enacted and embodied though commitment. Subsequent chapters will address narratives of commitment as a constraint that provokes latent potentialities. Through this a/r/tographic text, the reader-participant is not anticipated to be solely a passive consumer, but to co-construct understandings as text and image reverberate to create new openings. Pedagogy is not simply methods or practices of teaching to an a/r/tographer but must be reinterpreted as a living inquiry between teaching and learning, engaging in inquiry and artistic practices. This study becomes a response to Aoki’s (2005d) plea to art educators “to offer inspiration and leadership in the promising work of creating a new landscape wherein ‘live(d) curricula’ can become a legitimate signifier” (p. 423).  103  SARTORIAL68 ARTISTIC INQUIRY  Figure 4.1 Alexander created this dress in relation to his inquiries into concepts of drag, street art, Christina Aguilera, and the fashion industry. The dress was constructed from recycled Tyvek, image transfers, and spray paint, using modified techniques from his secondary sewing class, trial and error, and feedback received from research participants. Elliot Eisner (2005) states the following: "The more we feel the pressure to standardize, the more we need to remind ourselves of what we should not try and 68  The word sartorial may conjure up words such as, male, elitism, snobbishness, and exclusivity, but I would like to reclaim the term by mashing it up with an artistic living inquiry. Fabric and textile in this definition becomes dimensional and organic, a living fabric connected and relational to living experiences. 104  standardize" (p. 211). Eisner speaks about the types of media and processes that we traditionally teach and how each of these create occasions for different kinds of understandings. He states, "New possibilities for matters of representation can stimulate our imaginative capacities and can generate forms of experience that would otherwise not exist" (p. 211). He continues by posing two questions: "Getting smart in any domain requires at the very least learning to think within a medium. What are the varieties of media we help children get smart about? What do we neglect?" (p. 211) Of course these questions emphasize the reified belief that art education is primarily about teaching standardized skills, media, processes, and techniques. These are important questions, but perhaps the media we help children get smart about does not need to be predetermined by curriculum developers. Asking students to respond artistically without providing specific media and processes to do so opens up possibilities of investigation and invites discussions that may question the students’ or teacher’s perceived artistic limits.  105  Figure 4.2 Skadi and I looked up from our work and saw Gabe constructing a system to print his T-shirts. This small act provoked me to ask, To what extent do I want my students to be capable, to take risks, and to think outside the box? Do I also think relationally inside the box as well? Gabe usually created several artifacts each class period while interacting with other participants. He was a thoughtful and prolific producer, but in this artist-as-producer identity I ask myself, How much critical reflection is needed or should be encouraged in inquiry? Gabe presented some tough questions throughout this study, many of these surfaced from his prolific playing with ideas, conversations, and materials. When my fellow studio artists and educators find out that I am interested in the intersections of art, pedagogy, and dress, they often assume that I primarily teach clothing construction. Art as a methodology for inquiry interests me far more than teaching specific technical skills for deterministic outcomes, like making a shirt, a skirt, or pants, for example. What then is the relevance of concepts of clothing in a contemporary art class if not to teach clothing construction techniques? In this chapter, I will provide a rationale for the investigation of concepts relating to clothing in the art curriculum, including provoking new processes and media to surface in relation to others, such as painting, drawing, and sculpture.  106  Art is most often understood as an object to be studied, interpreted, or created. In this study it is conceptualized as a process of knowing, understanding, and of possibility; it is a living inquiry. Therefore, it is a process through which one learns and understands. Or said another way, art is conceived of as a verb in relation to nouns, conjunctions, prepositions, and other verbs. It is a methodology of knowing, being, and becoming. What does this conceptualization do for pedagogy, specifically within art education? This chapter works through this question by presenting the possibility of working through concepts artistically—in this case, concepts of dress. Thinking artistically through dress is theorized in this chapter by juxtaposing examples from contemporary art and educational scholars. This chapter also highlights several histories that relate to and inform this study. What Is Fitting? What Is Suitable? In returning to my use of fit and fitting from the introductory chapter, I remind the reader of my imaginings of a tailor who is able to create a fitting product that remains open to a shifting and variable living form. Through gathering and un/folding, fabric is not cut and pieced, but remains intact and fluid in a living sartorial inquiry. This metaphor expands the concept of inquirer as bricoleur. In this sense, the tailor has the potential to utilize the whole cloth, woven from living experiences in a multidimensional space, rather than a linear strand or even a two-dimensional cloth. This cloth is folded and adjusted, let out and tucked in, as understandings shift and slide. The basics of the classic techniques69 of Western art education need not be discarded, only reinterpreted,  69  The use of the classic techniques here is in reference to the editors of Time-Life Books (1973), who published The Art of Sewing: The Classic Techniques. The editors claim that there is something known as a classic style in which certain principles never change. 107  contextualized as tools of possibility among many other tools that both limit and construct within this whole fabric. Richard Rorty (1989) states the following in a more radical way than that of my aforementioned proposition: This sort of philosophy does not work piece by piece, analysing concept after concept, or testing thesis after thesis. Rather, it works holistically and pragmatically. It says things like 'try thinking of it this way' - or more specifically, 'try to ignore the apparently futile traditional questions by substituting the following new and possibly interesting questions'. It does not pretend to have a better candidate for doing the same old things which we did when we spoke in the old way. Rather, it suggests that we might want to stop doing those things and do something else. (p. 9) Rorty (1989) calls for a metaphorical redescription that allows him to “use familiar words in unfamiliar ways” (p. 18). He explains that this is not done for novelty’s sake, but “to enable us to see something differently for the first time, to cast something familiar in a new light” (cited in Allen, 2003, p. 21). If art and dress are truly forms of communication or visual language, as described in the introduction and other chapters, then what can be seen differently for the first time by utilizing art and dress in unfamiliar ways?70 Creating metaphors through the use of new vocabulary or by using old vocabulary in new ways encourages us to think about things divergently, in order to  Formalists (Barrett, 2000) also adhere to this belief, which is described in the introductory chapter of this dissertation. 70 The artist Michael Swaine wheels his sewing machine around the Tenderloin district in San Francisco on the 15th of each month. He calls this his, Reap What You Sew Generosity Project (see http://www.sfgate.com/cgibin/object/article?f=/c/a/2005/12/02/WBGH1FU1IF1.DTL&type=travelbayarea). He offers to mend and construct clothing in exchange for discussions, stories, and conversation. To Swaine, art is created in relation, not by following a canonized system or by working alone in a studio sequestered from social interactions. Likewise, James Turrell has created work (see Heavy Water, 1991) in which the viewers must invest in his work by dressing in bathing suits at the museum, and swimming under a submerged cube before emerging into an enclosed space to observe a sky installation. 108  think, and act differently (Allen, 2003). It is important to note that Rorty (cited in Allen, 2003) is perhaps more interested in using metaphor to fold away the questions, answers and methods of the past rather than using metaphor to “lead to the production of new meaning” (p. 21), but his argument is relevant in reconsidering the foundations of art education. Rorty’s pragmatism simultaneously resonates and repulses my notions of artist/researcher/teacher identities to reverberate meaning. I feel dangerous tensions, as well as expansive liberations in arguing for usefulness. John Allen (2003) describes Rorty’s notion of fit as suit, which requires an investment in a given purpose. He clarifies: For Rorty, there is no in-built faculty that allows us to recognize the ‘truth’ in some description when we first stumble across it. Rather, all that is available to us is a sense of what best suits a given purpose. A description that ‘best suits’, not one that ‘best fits’, is probably the sum of it. (p. 20) A/r/tography has been discussed in this dissertation as a commitment or an investment71 made by attending to the identities of artist/researcher/teacher. In this particular study, the participating inquirers committed to a sartorial artistic inquiry.  71  I am using investment to mean to devote one’s efforts in a particular undertaking, but the word also has Latin origins from investire, meaning to clothe upon or into, which makes reference to endowing with power. 109  Figure 4.3 Gretchen Elsner in “Circle Flare Skirt.” (Used with permission from the artist). Investments When a teacher enters a classroom for the first time, it is not necessarily her or his ideas that first attract students’ attention. It is the body and how it is adorned and clothed—how it looks, sounds, moves and smells. Whether or not we realize it, the image we project precedes us, introduces us, and inserts us into the communication we have with students. This applies to most teaching situations, from kindergarten to university. (Mitchell & Weber, 1999, p. 124) When artist and community educator Gretchen Elsner enters a teaching space, whether that space be a gallery, a classroom, or an outdoor field, her presence is noted, as she is always adorned in handmade or altered clothing that frame the buoyancy of her personality. Originally from Athens, Georgia, but having traveled across North America 110  performing her work, she has most recently taken up residency in Vancouver, BC. I use the phrase performing her work but I could just as easily use the phrase living her work, because her work is a living practice. And by living practice I mean that her artmaking, teaching, learning and even her consumptions—that which she ingests or purchases— from what she eats and wears, to where she lays her head, what she sings and how and with whom she interacts are interrelated as she lives her life. These phenomena all interact to form her being. They create a living experience and a living being. On Living Artistically For those who recognize the visual as a language or as a way of knowing, and acknowledge the capacity of works of art to embody thought and thus to constitute theory, the expansion of the ways and means of generating knowledge to embrace the visual seems only reasonable. (Thompson, 2006, p. 1) At a recent interview for a teaching position, a member of the search committee asked me, “How are you able to find time to do your scholarly research, teach, and create art?” I responded, “I see all these identities as interrelated in my life, and therefore, when I do one, I am to some extent simultaneously doing the other two.” I have often thought that my life was art. I do not present this idea in an arrogant way, but more humbly, in the sense that I feel that to live an artistic life is to live it in new ways. This places a being in the state of constant learning and dis/placement. I perceive the world artistically, for better or worse. The things that I learn seem always to be related to my interests in art, regardless of the source of that knowledge. Art, broadly defined, has been a lens through which I interact with and interpret the world. Therefore, it is easy for me to create and recreate connections between art—and art education—and every other aspect of life, such as food, dress, and a myriad of social issues. I hope, as an art educator, my students are  111  able to critically construct their own engagement with the world, perhaps through artistic inquiry or artful living. Consequently, I envision “art as a way of knowing” somewhat differently than implied in Thompson’s statement above. Carl Leggo, a poet and educator, taught one of the most inspirational classes I have taken as a doctoral student. He is an engaging storyteller who shares his own narratives as part of a quest for living poetically. Directing his thoughts toward readers interested in teaching and in teacher education, Leggo (2005) conveys a view of living poetically in the following passage that helps me understand the possible implications of living artistically: I am not suggesting that poets live poetically with some kind of romanticized notion of the poet as an exemplar for living well in the world. As a part of my ongoing investigation of the experience of ‘living poetically’, I have recently been researching the biographies of poets like Dylan Thomas and Anne Sexton and asking the question, Why do poets not live more poetically? Many poets have been alcoholic, suicidal, insane and violent. I watched one friend, a well-loved Canadian poet, my mentor, one of the finest poets I have ever known, succumb to alcoholism in his early 60s. Nobody could rescue him, and he could not rescue himself. But what a poet! So, I am not proposing that poets are always paragons of healthy living. What I am proposing is something fairly modest, but I think still very important for consideration in the process of teaching and teacher education. (p. 441) We could easily substitute the word artists for the word poets in the statement above, finding examples of artists who were historically significant or exquisite craftspeople but who were not necessarily attentive to living artistically in a healthful or socially responsible way. Replacing the word poetry once again with the word art, “[Art] is a way of knowing and being and becoming,” offers Leggo (2005, p. 442). Subsequently, according to this consideration, art is an attitude expressed by the verbs to know, to be, and to become. I use the term artistic inquirer to describe someone who attends to these  112  notions. Art, then, becomes a way of interacting with the world. An art curriculum conceptualized as such opens possibilities for student engagement in diverse ways in order to construct and deconstruct meaning. The curriculum becomes an ongoing practice of making and unmaking understandings through artistic inquiry by making, questioning, discussing, investigating, reflecting, deconstructing, analyzing, connecting, and disconnecting and through Rorty’s (1989; cited in Allen, 2003) notion of metaphoric redescription, which provokes living in suitable ways. Much has been written in art education literature concerning what a contemporary art curriculum should include. Rather than what such a curriculum should include, exclude, and contain, I write about what a contemporary art curriculum might imagine. Whether those imaginings initiate from a dialogue about dress or clothing—as presented here—or from another cultural concept, they should not be thought of as limits, mandates, or containments that close, but as openings or possibilities that challenge and inspire new thinking and acting in teaching and learning. B. Stephen Carpenter, II (2006), editor of Art Education, asked readers, “Are your ideas about what is exemplary in our field fixed or are you open to other possible ways to question, identify, discuss, consider, measure, plan, revise, share, challenge and imagine what art education is and can be” (p. 5)? There are art educators who offer suggestions for the rethinking and reinterpretation of the field. Olivia Gude (2007), for example, presents her views for a contemporary art education curriculum in her article Principles of Possibility. Gude petitions art educators to imagine new curriculum visions that privilege “the diversity of creative thought and action possible in postmodern times” (p. 15). Pamela G. Taylor  113  (2004) encourages art educators to risk a gain and/or a loss while conversing through a process of hyperaesthetic linking (p. 341). Julia Marshall (2002) identifies three concepts—resonating with my redescriptions of process, medium and intent or investment—that are key in the planning of her lessons. These are, (1) process: artmaking is employed as a form of inquiry or research, (2) medium: common cultural artifacts are utilized as sources or mediums for critical inquiry and artmaking, and (3) intent: consciousness and understanding of critical issues such as identity and culture constitute the purpose of artmaking. (p. 280) I engage with these theories here, along with other understandings from educators, artists and theorists, presenting how one concept—clothing—might be explored in an art class using the conceptualization of art as a way of knowing as presented in this chapter’s opening paragraphs. Marshall’s three concepts have been discussed implicitly in those paragraphs, and I will further demonstrate how contemporary artists and this group of secondary student participants have researched dress, a common cultural phenomenon through artmaking with the intent of making meaning and provoking understandings. By presenting these examples, I am not suggesting that these responses or understandings should be recreated in the classroom. On the contrary, I am suggesting that these are all individual understandings of and responses to a shared cultural phenomenon. I am also suggesting that students might develop personally relevant and significant collective understandings that will benefit the entire classroom as a learning system if empowered to do so. Notice how the work of Alicia Framis, Wolfgang Stehle, and Lalla Essaydi is both highly personal and socially aware. Each one of these artists attempts to address cultural issues through social and artistic means.  114  Thinking Artistically Through Clothing Alicia Framis and Anti_Dog: Social Justice Through Redescription When Spanish artist Alicia Framis was living in Berlin, she was warned that as a woman with dark skin, she would be in danger of being attacked by gangs of racist skinheads if she were to enter a specific district of the city called Marzahn. These gangs were notorious for using vicious dogs to attack people (Szwajcer, n.d.; Smith, & Topham, 2005). Since 2000, Framis has used concepts of clothing to create an ongoing project called Anti_Dog in which she fabricates wearable outfits made from Twaron, a bulletproof synthetic fiber, that will hypothetically allow her to enter districts like Marzahn without fear. These wearable art pieces are styled through a dialogic collaboration with creations by well-known fashion designers. Framis’s art, like the work of many contemporary artists, acts as an investigation through living experience. Framis uses “fashion as a weapon” and as “a seductive and compelling way to address issues such as verbal and physical abuse, racism, and violence against women” (Smith & Topham, 2005, p. 105). Her artistic research exhibits a search for meaning regarding gender, race, economics, ethics, and identity. Additionally, it takes an artistic action by presenting an imagined possibility and demands attention using fashion, a socially acceptable form of expression (Barnard, 2002). Wolfgang Stehle and Social Prosthesis: Social Norms Redescribed Wolfgang Stehle created a wearable art piece as an inquiry into and critique of the cultural “norm” of social drinking. Stehle, a nondrinker, devised Social Prosthesis “to counteract feelings of inadequacy” (Smith & Topham, 2005, p. 78) from the time he was a teenager due to a perceived or real lack of social or bodily functions attributed to  115  drinking. Social Prosthesis is a device that may be worn over or under one’s clothing and allows the wearer to pour his or her alcoholic beverage into a surrogate esophagus. A valve at the lower end of the plastic container, which resembles a severely modified hotwater bottle, facilitates the disposal of its contents. This artistic creation enables Stehle to drink, as a cultural performance, in social settings and to even use the washroom facilities as frequently as other drinkers. Beyond addressing Stehle’s implied research question, How might an artist create a work that deals with his or her feelings of inadequacy stemming from being a nondrinker? this piece begs the question—of not only the artist, but also of viewers or potential wearers of Social Prosthesis—“To what lengths will one go to fit in?” Through the creation and subsequent performances of this piece—the wearing of this artifact in social situations further troubles norms of social drinking— Stehle questions cultural definitions of masculinities, camaraderie, generosity, allegiance, and trust (Smith & Topham, 2005). Lalla Essaydi and Converging Territories: Coming Together Through Transgression Converging Territories is a series of photographs that were taken in a Moroccan house where the artist, Lalla Essaydi, and other female family members were sent when “they transgressed acceptable rules of behavior” (Hemmings, Whitley, & Dambrot, 2006, p. 42). Essaydi transformed the ornate interior of the house by clothing or concealing the space with a white cloth, thereby turning it into a blank canvas. However, concealing reveals understandings. In this artistic investigation, Essaydi uses calligraphy, “traditionally an exclusively male art in the East” (p. 42), to transfer passages from her own diaries using henna, described by Essaydi as a traditionally female medium. The words cover not only the cloth-draped room of the house, but also the clothed friends and  116  family members, including their skin, who are depicted in the house. Essaydi’s work investigates and gives insights into notions of protection, gender identities and stereotypes, and traditions. Art in Everyday Living Gude (2007) reminds us that what are deemed the foundations of art and design— the oft-touted essentials in the arts—are actually contextual and reified. Even with titles such as elements and principles, these are not objective, “universal timeless truths” (p. 11-12) but can and should be placed within a history. The examples of contemporary art described above are typical only in that they demonstrate a range of possibilities when dealing with a seemingly trite cultural concept like dress. These artists revisit the takenfor-granted or the everyday—attending to the complexity of a cultural phenomenon—and inquire through an artistic practice that is informed by and constructed through memory, experience, relations, collaboration, and imaginings. These artists undoubtedly utilized skills, techniques, processes and compositions to create their works, but it is through a living experience that these works become significant. However, these artists represent just a few of the many artists whose work—both the product and process—was shared during this study’s participatory inquiry. The following sections within this chapter describe how I envision teaching and learning in the art classroom. Clothing in Art Education’s Past Educators and scholars have been keen to demonstrate the historical roots of certain contemporary art education trends, like visual culture (Stankiewicz, 2001; Chalmers, 2005; Tavin, 2005a, 2005b), that attend to everyday aesthetic sites (Duncum, 1999) like clothing and dress. For example, Mary Ann Stankiewicz (2001) claims that as  117  early as 1860, Massachusetts started teaching drawing in schools, partly as an attempt to increase international trade. This was accomplished in order to design more competitive goods, such as textiles and furniture, and “to make decorative objects more stylish, tasteful, and artful” (p. 8). The manual arts and manual training in the United States in the 1880s, consisted of industrial drawing, clay modeling and form study in the first two grades, with paper cutting taught through fifth grade (Stankiewicz, 2001, p. 45). Woodworking was taught to boys after grade five, while girls were taught sewing and cooking beginning in grade four (p. 45). Needlework was regarded as the most important skill a girl could learn, even above reading and writing, during the early developments of school (Cremin, 1980). In its beginnings, much of art education focused on a negotiation between “design as mastery of rules” or “design as intuitive creative power” (p. 87). However, John Cotton Dana (1856-1929) believed in an art that was not removed from life. Stankiewicz (2001) explains Dana’s stance as the following: Dana suggested that one way to encourage American art would be for people to study their teacups; in other words, to begin observing the sensory and formal qualities of everyday objects and thus build discrimination that could be applied to future consumer choices. (p. 120) Dana’s notions regarding the artistic study of everyday objects are perhaps closer to a current notion about art education than were the beliefs of his contemporaries. Although Dana did not advocate disregarding works of fine art, he viewed them as limited, in part, because art at that time was generally thought to be something apart from life (Stankiewicz, 2001). Dana’s early visions were joined by, and further developed by influential art education scholars of the last century, such as Edwin Ziegfeld (see Ziegfeld & Smith, 1944), June King McFee (see McFee & Degge, 1977), and Vincent Lanier (see  118  V. Lanier, 1964; and J. S. Lanier, 1998). Even so, within the history of art education, the notion of cultivating taste—rather than challenging the politics of aesthetic taste—and the production of adept workers, prevailed until more recent discourses. Elizabeth Garber (1990), for example, presented an approach to art education that challenged the status quo—including notions of universal formalism and expression— drawing from a critical feminist perspective. Similarly, Patricia L. Stuhr (1994) initiated a challenge to the dominant knowledge structure of art education in her conceptualization of a multicultural social reconstructionist approach to art education. Within this approach, she states that “[a]rt is taught as it is experienced in life, as part of a social and cultural context” (p. 176). Such a curriculum would be in a constant state of flux, being “dependent on social, political, and economic conditions of the community, state, and nation rather than based on a sequential, mandated, uniform, national, or state curriculum” (p. 177). Of course, my addition to these notions is a relational teaching/learning, rather than a sense of teaching-as-transference, even if that transference is imagined to be current, plural, socially responsible, or cutting edge. Is art still removed from the life of students? Is contemporary art removed from the life of many art educators? Wilson (2003) believes there is a gap between the discourse of school art and a discourse of contemporary art. Contemporary school art is of course part of the contemporary discourse of art, but art discourses may be disconnected, unlinked, and isolated. Like other art education scholars, I envision an art education that does not separate art from life and that does not believe that art is a fixed canon to be isolated, inculcated, and maintained.  119  Skills, Techniques, Processes, and Composition in the Classroom Rather than instructing students in perceived universal foundations or basics of art, what if artistic skills, techniques, processes, and compositional strategies were to emerge as individual students thought them necessary? As students research and investigate a concept, they will not only reflect on their beliefs, values and understandings regarding that concept but also on the skills, techniques, processes, and compositional strategies that they may already hold. And, perhaps more importantly, students might inquire as to what possible strategies they can imagine to further their investigations of said concept beyond canonized knowledge archives. The caveat to this, of course, is that students may have limited knowledge. The fact is, we all do. Understanding that all knowledge is partial can be vastly liberating for a learner and can provoke critical thinking. Even though an entire class might initially start out tackling the same concept—clothing in this case—it may not take long before each student shares individual discoveries with the collective learning group, including the classroom teacher.  120  Figure 4.4 This is a detail of Alexander’s “Christina Aguilera Dress.” Skadi demonstrated an image transfer technique using acrylic painting medium to her students prior to my arrival. Alexander used this technique in conjunction with other skills to create his dress. In contrast to fulfilling an assignment using specified techniques or processes, Alexander used previously acquired skills in relation to emerging understandings to create new possibilities. This notion of emergent curriculum contrasts with the curriculum with prescribed sequential objectives in which the concept, processes, medium and assessment are predetermined—are highly specific before a student even enters a classroom. Again, these ideas are not new, but are difficult to imagine within a school structure that values a different kind of learning—one of the transference of static knowledge—and deals in measurable fixed outcomes. In sharing the value of a student-driven art course, where the instructor does not “ladle out all the instruction,” Barbara Henriksen Andrews (2005, p. 39) notes that students can “become passionate art students” with a “desire to learn more, read more, and create more” (p. 38): who are “engaged in art making, art planning, and art reflection”; and “are the instigators of their art curriculum; not passive bodies waiting for  121  instruction” (p. 39). I can attest—with similar statements from my experience as a secondary classroom teacher and supported by this study’s data—that this is not an impossible or purely theoretical vision. Art as a Method Makes Meaning As I questioned the value of art in society, I began to question my instructional habits as an art educator. Art was significant in my life, not because I could paint a color wheel using the primary colors, or demonstrate the parts of light through the proper technique of stippling or crosshatching. Art can be defined more broadly than a set of acquired skills for producing a product, including art as a method for generating new understandings and making meaning in one’s life. Teaching art, with that consideration, opens my classroom to new possibilities of understanding the world, making authentic connections to the milieu of contemporary art and culture. Students have the potential to learn through art, rather than about a fixed notion of art. Framis used patternmaking and sewing skills to produce her Anti_Dog series. Stehle used industrial design processes to create Social Prosthesis. Essaydi used calligraphy and photography techniques to create her Converging Territories series. In the hundreds of examples we shared in this study, each participating artist employed hundreds of techniques and processes as individual as the work itself. Therefore, what are the basics that students should be taught? What if the answer is: All of them, and none of them? Is it possible to teach all possibilities by teaching none of them? Instead of teaching students a smattering of isolated basics, what if teachers were to give up some of their power as managers, knowledge holders, and curriculum planners in order to empower students by inviting them to participate in a collective learning system where knowledge is critically co-constructed?  122  Paolo Freire (2006) calls for teachers to also be learners and describes a dialogical kind of teacher-student. He admonishes a curriculum in which a teacher does not teach for or about another, but with another. This requires a teacher that simultaneously informs as she or he is informed by her or his students, as mediated by “a world which impresses and challenges both parties, giving rise to views or opinions about it” (p. 93). In 2000, when I was a high school art teacher, my students collectively chose to produce an exhibition about conceptual clothing.72 Including a time constraint, the guidelines of the project were these: each student was to (1) keep a record of his or her process of the investigation and create an artist statement that would be shared with the public, (2) construct a tangible artifact that dealt conceptually with the cultural phenomena of clothing, and (3) re-present the artifact or process of inquiry through the use of photography. Within these constraints, students not only chose their own lines of investigation regarding the broad theme of clothing, they also chose their own materials, techniques and processes. At that time, I did not have much experience sewing and could only offer encouragement to students, directing those who wanted to use sewing in their artifacts to books, how-to videos, and those with experience in specific techniques and processes. Even with additional instruction, outside my expertise, the nontraditional73 materials the students chose often required inventive solutions in assemblage that fell outside published bodies of knowledge (see Fig. 4.5). Students learned through experience, play and by relating or mashing up multiple insights from divergent sources. 72  I write about specific works and how my understandings of an emergent and living curriculum un/fold in Barney, D.T. (2007). 73 When I use the term nontraditional materials, I am referring to materials that fall outside my own education in drawing, painting, sculpture, and photography. 123  We discussed our inquiry together74 as the project unfolded, discussing our own relationships with and understandings of clothing in our lives and how we might work through issues artistically (Barney, 2007).  Figure 4.5 Laurie created “Liquids of My Life” as a secondary student in 2000. (Photograph used with permission from the artist). As the venture developed, I saw skills emerge that I did not know my students had. Unexpected materials such as synthetic grass, papier-mâché, a used car tire, snacksize chip bags, recycled credit cards, leftover food in plastic baggies,75 275 feet of rope (see Fig. 4.6) and toiletries (Fig. 4.5) were used to produce these artworks. Processes and techniques were equally diverse: using a car to create texture and marks, making a plaster  74  While I did not show my own work in this exhibit, I took part in my own artistic inquiry using clothing as a concept. 75 See the piece about leftovers in the introduction, Fig. 1.2. 124  cast of one student’s mother, transferring photocopies, making a collage, sewing, riveting, gluing, sculpting and so forth. Since each student investigated from a personal, interpersonal, and culturally relational perspective, the exhibition Conceptual Clothing expressed numerous concepts of clothing, rather than a particular concept of clothing as directed by the teacher. No single technique, process,76 or compositional element stood out in this assignment. Although my role as an art teacher was challenged in many ways through this project—what I was to present, instruct and assess—it was a significant experience for me to begin to envision a curriculum that emerges from living experiences. A Study of Dress Through Artistic Inquiry expands the ideas and engages with the questions encountered in my prior experiences as a classroom teacher. The sartorial artistic inquiry in which we participated includes thinking and acting inside and outside a metaphoric box of techniques, skills, concepts, and practices. The interactions were complex, organic, and relational, which are qualities of a redescribed sartorial inquiry.  76  Skadi stated that all of her assignments dealt not with a concept, but with the sequential instruction of a specific medium or technique. Inviting the students to participate in an initial theme, and teaching skills and processes as needs and desires emerge, was new to her. While Big Ideas—curriculum that is developed around themes—is new to current art curriculum teacher education programs (see Stewart & Walker, 2007) it was a notion that she wanted to explore and one that she recognized in her own artistic process. Our study, however, reiterated curriculum-as-lived in relation to curriculum-as-plan. 125  Figure 4.6 John, now an accountant and portrait photographer, created “The Tie Down” as a secondary student in 2000. (Photograph used with permission from the artist).  126  FRAMEWORKS WITHIN FRAMES OF DIVERGENCE: COMPLEXITY THINKING, A/R/TOGRAPHY, AND PEDAGOGY  Figure 5.1 A detail of a wearable artifact by artist Gretchen Elsner. (Photograph used with permission of the artist). The primary aim of this chapter is to articulate the theoretical frame, namely complexity and concepts of a/r/tography, by which this study was initiated. Although complexity theory is a relatively new area of discussion, it is being embraced by educational theorists (Davis & Sumara, 2006, p. 3). Likewise, a/r/tography, which evades fixed definitions and directives,77 is being conceptualized by more and more by scholars who are interested in the relationships between artist, researcher, and teacher identities. The chapter is organized by presenting (1) my reasoning as to why I was drawn to complexity thinking in relation to a/r/tography, (2) a discussion of the conditions that  77  I have provided my conceptualizations of a/r/tography in relation to its previous conceptions and its use in this particular study. The methods, renderings, definitions, directives and metaphors used by myself and other a/r/tographers are likely to shift in diverse contexts. 127  were addressed at the outset of and during the research study, (3) an introduction to the qualities of complexity that emerged in this study, and (4) remarks with direction to subsequent chapters. Why Complexity? Teaching has always been the attempt to pass on our best understanding of the present so that our students will make sense of the future. (Parsons & Blocker, 1993) The quote above from Parsons and Blocker (1993) expresses a notion of education that permeates the field of art education. That is, knowledge is often expressed as something that is a fixed thing, passed down from a teacher to students (Doll, 2005; Fleener, 2002). Students, educators, and parents are dominated by standards and tests (Doll, cited in Fleener, 2002, p. xi). When I was a high school student, I understood that I was supposed to memorize certain facts so that I could reproduce that information on standardized tests if I was to succeed as a student and as a future student at a reputable university. When I was learning how to be a teacher in my undergraduate program, I was instructed to write lesson plans with objectives that related to state and national standards, teach to those objectives, and then create assessment strategies that checked to see that those objectives had been met. When I became a secondary teacher, I was expected to cover specific content in my curriculum and then document that my students knew that content. Now, as an instructor in higher education, I continue to receive requirements from the universities where I teach to state my desired outcomes for my students before I have taught a course and to list how I am going to test and prove that the students have met those outcomes.  128  I have often wondered, if I, as an educator, value anti-oppressive education, critical thinking, creative responses, understandings and new possibilities, why would I continue, and reinforce the practice of fixing or stabilizing knowledge while ignoring the as-yet-unimagined? At what point in establishing a predetermined curriculum is there anticipation for emergent learning? There are educators, who study curriculum, that are shifting their focus from things—content—to relationships and interactions (Fleener, 2002). In shifting one’s curricular focus from things to complex interacting agents, new knowledge becomes possible and the unknown is expected because complex interacting agents create “unpredictable novelty, where the possible is richer than the real” (Prigogine, 1996, p. 72). This unpredictability can be viewed as undesirable in a classroom or as a place of exciting possibility. Therefore, returning to the question of why complexity, I was initially drawn to complexity thinking because it is an attitude that attends to emergent learning through a set of conditions that resonate with my interests in a/r/tography and social responsibility in pedagogy to create places of possibility. Content within a complex learning system is not avoided; it is simply approached differently. In my own experiences as a teacher and as an artist, I both celebrate and fear the unanticipated, the new, and the unknown. In the following chapters both the students and the participating teacher describe their experiences with these concepts. Learning can be uncomfortable and unsettling, especially nonlinear notions of learning; sensitivities to complexity thinking challenge linear notions of pedagogy. Nonlinear notions do not emphasize the reproduction of fixed knowledge, but celebrate diverse possibilities and unexpected understandings. Pedagogy to me, as it relates to complexity, deals with setting up conditions so that independent thinking and doing might be aggregated,  129  relational and shared, after which emergent knowledge—one that conceptualizes knowledge that is not fixed but in flux—is anticipated but not predetermined. A key assertion in this study is that complex systems are not deterministic (Stanley, 2005). Hence, knowledge in this sense is not an unchanging, predetermined thing, but rather a dynamic phenomenon (Davis, Sumara, & Luce-Kapler, 2008, p. 6). Undoubtedly to some, teaching may be conceived of as an attempt to pass on a predetermined something, but how that something is taken up by students is most certainly altered by each individual learner. Therefore, I wonder how a fixed notion of knowledge could ever transform or evolve in a system that continually transmits a current canonized knowledge. This type of knowledge could change only through an anomaly, a mistake in the form of an idea outside of the current knowledge base.78 This, of course, does happen. Unanticipated learning, whether stated as a learning outcome by the teacher or not, occurs in a curriculum (Jardine, Clifford, & Friesen, 2003). Classrooms are dynamic regardless of attempts to contain, structure, and limit. Students and teachers are complex agents (Mennin, 2007). Knowledge does transform, even in unlikely subjects like mathematics (Davis, 2005; Davis & Sumara, 2006). Knowledge is contextual; it changes, transforms, and shifts. Therefore, why would teachers attempt to pass on a fixed knowledge, ignoring the partiality—both the biases and incompleteness—of all human knowledge (Kumashiro, 2004; Perkinson, 1993)? Why do we as teachers and curriculum designers select knowledge to be taught, demand that students take it up unaltered, and then, through standardized testing, test student’s ability to correctly reproduce it? As an artist it is not difficult to imagine embracing the unexpected and celebrating the 78  This relates to my discussions around the a/r/tographic rendering excess and the complexity condition diversity. 130  unknown. However, what if I, as a teacher and researcher, were to embrace the mistakes, and the unexpected, uncertain, transformative, and nonlinear growth in a classroom and in my research like I do as an artist? This question leads me to explore arts-based educational research and possible arts-based methodologies.  Figure 5.2 Fashion designer and scholar Otto von Busch (2008) created a project called “Fashion-able” in which the roles of a fashion designer were explored and challenged. Von Busch describes his research endeavors in terms of “hacking” and “activism,” in a single word called “hacktivism.” His work relates to my work as an artist/researcher/teacher interested in a/r/tography, social justice issues, and complexity thinking. Hacktivism, he describes “is an engaged and collective process of enablement, creative resistance and DIY practice, where a community share methods and experiences on how to expand action spaces and develop new forms of craftsmanship. In this practice, the designer engages participants to reform fashion from a phenomenon of dictations and anxiety to a collective experience of empowerment, in other words, to make them become fashion-able” (downloaded on 30 November 2008 from http://www.konst.gu.se/english/Publications/ArtMonitor/). (Photograph used with the permission of the artist). Why A/r/tography? From the onset of this research study, I wanted to invite research participants— secondary students and their classroom art teacher—to respond artistically to a broadly defined cultural phenomenon. I chose dress as that cultural phenomenon because of my 131  own interests in dress as an artistic theme, a political and theoretical concept, and because of my past experiences with students and dress while I was a secondary art teacher. Students and teachers intentionally and inadvertently use dress to communicate status, power, wealth, affiliations, political views, religious views, moral views, and other messages (Barnard, 2002; Kaiser, 1997; Weber & Mitchell, 2004). Additionally, I was interested in observing acceptances and/or resistances to nonlinear curricula by all participants, including me. I anticipated that new understandings from this study would emerge without my knowing them ahead of time. Likewise, I anticipated the possibility that new knowledge would emerge, as created by the student participants and teacher participant. This would happen as we engaged in a study that altered the dynamics of the class with an a/r/tographic agenda that was sympathetic to complexity thinking, that is, conceptualizing the research participants—students, teacher and myself—as artistic inquirers, while simultaneously making an intentional effort to pay heed to certain qualities and conditions of emergence to provoke understandings of artist, researcher, and teacher/learner identities.  132  Figure 5.3 Student researchers worked independently and collectively, but in relation to previously held understandings, latent possibilities, and living inquiry. Koichi describes himself as a poet. He was hesitant to speak English and took some time alone before starting on his artifact. Emergence has been defined as self-organizing behavior. It is nonlinear learning, learning that is not directed through top-down hegemony. Davis and Sumara’s (2006) ideas resonate with Rorty’s (1989) pragmatic redescription,79 when they assert this type of learning as “capable of more flexible, more effective responses to previously unmet circumstances” (p. 74). Therefore, in constructing this study, as previously mentioned, I anticipated an emergence of the “unfolding of new possibilities for action and interpretation” (Davis & Sumara, 2006, p. 76). I could anticipate the emergence of new forms, but because of the nonlinearity of complexity, they could not be pre-planned or predicted. A/r/tography, which I relate to complexity thinking, is used as the arts-based research methodology in this study due to its simultaneous sensitivities to artistic  79  See Sartorial Artistic Inquiry for a further discussion on Rorty’s redescription.  133  practices, inquiry and pedagogy, as well as its commitment “to engage in practices that remove one from comfortable habits of knowing” (R. L. Irwin, graduate lecture, 13 September 2006). Relationality is a prime condition of a/r/tographic research, according to Irwin et al. (2006a) and consequently lends itself to investigating complex emergent phenomenon. Through a/r/tography, meanings and understandings are interrogated, ruptured and negotiated, not finished, completed, or fixed—either as mended or static. Through weaving artmaking and writing, meaning may be enhanced and challenged in a/r/tography (Irwin & de Cosson, 2004). Curiously, the metaphor of folding and weaving is frequent in a/r/tographic literature (e.g., Barney, 2007; Irwin & de Cosson, 2004; Springgay, 2003; Springgay, Irwin, & Kind, 2005; Springgay & Peterat, 2002/2003). The words “implication, complicity, and complexity are all derived from the Indo-European plek-, ‘to weave, plait, fold, entwine’” (Davis & Sumara, 2006, p. 16). It is a methodology that attends to the identities of artist, researcher, and teacher and the spaces in between these identities (Irwin et al., 2006a; Irwin & de Cosson, 2004; Springgay et al., 2005). However, as a lived practice informed by artistic practice and qualitative research methodologies, each a/r/tographer scrutinizes his or her emergent understandings uniquely (Dias, 2006). A/r/tography, therefore, is a dynamic methodology that is sensitive to complex behaviors and is adaptable according to lived practices (Gray & Malins, 2004). This study, which invited participants to respond artistically to dress, was not prescriptive in defining art or dress, nor was it prescriptive in determining participant collaboration.80 Participants were not directed to work as individuals or in groups, nor were participants 80  See Introduction and Outlining the Study for additional descriptions on how participants were invited into this study. 134  told which processes, techniques, or materials they could use. Hence, this project addresses artistic production, inquiry, and pedagogy as relational (Irwin et al., 2006), where agents collaborate through self-determined behavior, and prior skills and knowledges are valued. The juxtaposition, or mashup,81 of a/r/tography and complexity creates a doubling, or a feedback loop, that does not simply repeat, but expands possibility.  81  A mashup is created when two or more songs are synchronized to create a new song. Mashup is used here as a metaphor for creating new understandings and new possibilities through a relational negotiation—by juxtaposing concepts, processes, theories and the like. See Un/Doing Curriculum and the introductory chapter under Mashup Inquiry, p. 14. 135  Figure 5.4 Student researcher, Maya, created these shoes, which she calls “Hi-Runners.” She explains her process of creating them in the following: “As a woman, walking around with high heels has been an unpleasant experience, resulting in swelling of feet or blisters. I wondered if there were any high heels that were comfortable. If there weren’t any, I wanted to be the one who invented them. Then, an idea came to me. Why don’t I just combine runners and high heels together? I purchased a pair of high heels from a thrift store and I found an old pair of runners in the garage. I cut off the top part of the high heel so I could attach the runners on top. However, gluing the runners to the heel was not as easy as it sounded. Thus, I had to take off the sole of the shoe with a knife. After painstakingly removing the sole of the runners, I adhered the bottom to the heels with shoe glue. My creation looked horrible. I had to find another way to cover the joined part. I was looking for scissors in my sewing kit when I found a wide elastic band. It was perfect; it could cover the joint and give a nice finished look that matched the runners. A little bit of paint and my Hi-Runners were complete.” Setting up the Conditions of Complexity and A/r/tography Education—and, by implication, educational research—conceived in terms of expanding the space of the possible rather than perpetuating entrenched habits of interpretation, then, must be principally concerned with ensuring the conditions for the emergence of the as-yet-unimagined. (Davis & Sumara, 2006, p. 135) Complexity thinking is described by Davis and Sumara (2006) as an attitude toward studying complex phenomenon (pp. 4-5). I attended to certain conditions (see Davis & Sumara, 2006; Mennin, 2007) during this study through a complex learning system, a set of connected individuals whose parts—ideas, experiences, understandings, writings, art works, musings and ties—form a complex whole through which learning emerges. The  136  organizational structure of the participating school, my own beliefs and desires as an artist/researcher, the beliefs and desires of the participating teacher, and the beliefs and desires of the students formed a complex, context-specific and subjective learning system. A classroom, as a network of participating agents, exhibits complex behaviors (Davis & Sumara, 2006). These behaviors, qualities, or properties of complexity (Davis & Sumara, 2006; Holland, 1995; Mennin, 2007; Nicolis & Prigogine, 1989) will be elaborated upon as recurring themes in many chapters of this dissertation as they relate to artistic practice, inquiry, and pedagogy in this study. In the following paragraphs I will shift my discussion to setting up certain conditions for complexity—namely, diversity, redundancy, relationality, decentralized control, operating far-from-equilibrium and constraints that enable—as a theoretical framework for this research investigation.  Figure 5.5 Gretchen Elsner created “Soft-Wear” in conjunction with The Whispers Research Group, a research team in The School of Interactive Arts and Technology at Simon Fraser University. Along with this team of researchers, Gretchen creates emotive clothing that interacts among wearers. (Photograph used with permission of artist).  137  Setting up these conditions for complexity does not ensure that emergence will occur nor does it indicate that a particular or known outcome will occur. Additionally, these research participants were members of a classroom and a research study, but also belonged to other organizations and groups, some of which were undoubtedly selforganizing systems that operated far-from equilibrium (Stanley, 2005). It would be ironic to say that these social systems could be set up in some specific manner to construct themselves. Hence, complexity is not used here to ensure “the right conditions for a particular outcome to appear” (Stanley, 2005, p. 148). The conditions “are not a prescription for action, but a means for thinking about human interactions” (p. 148) and pedagogy. Therefore, the attention given to the conditions that are addressed here were set up as a relational and contextual heuristic. Some of the conditions, such as redundancy and diversity, could not be set up by myself as the researcher and were assumed to be present within the group of research participants. Each condition, however, acted as a reflexive tool to check or challenge our commonly held assumptions and beliefs as artists, researchers, and teachers/learners. Hence, the following conditions, although they overlap and interact in their definitions, are key to the understandings created in this study. Redundancy The term redundancy may be interpreted negatively, perhaps because it is affiliated with the unnecessary and superfluous and deals with excess and inefficiency (Davis et al., 2008). Complexivists argue, however, that redundancy allows for the observation of two important qualities. First, agents interact through redundancy; their likeness allows them to communicate. Second, through redundancy, the complex system  138  or interacting group of agents demonstrates robustness—if one agent fails another agent is able to step in to support the system. The knowledge and power of the system is distributed. Davis (2004) highlights the significance of redundancy in a system when he states, “[I]n most cases, they [agents] need to be much more the same than different because a system’s robustness is linked to its agents’ abilities to compensate for one another’s lapses” (p. 168). Each of the participants in this study were linked by the organizational structure of the public school classroom, and although not all students could speak English with the same proficiency, each was invested in investigating dress through an artistic inquiry and could communicate with other participants at the very least through translation and/or gestures.  Figure 5.6 Gretchen Elsner with one of her “Soft-Wear” pieces that explores non-verbal communication through clothing. (Photograph used with permission of artist). 139  Although Davis (2004) argues that human agents are more similar than dissimilar, he also suggests that “some work might be required to ensure adequate redundancy” (p. 168) in a classroom. Attention to common experiences, especially in dress and schooling, were frequent in informal and formal discussions during this study. The weaving of these redundant experiences, and the ideas and concepts that arose from these conversations created doubling when artworks were created as metaphors from experiences of and insights into dress and artistic inquiry. Reynolds (2005) explains, “Metaphor and redundancy provide what Bateson called ‘doubling description,’ where metaphor is meaning derived from the reordering of perspectives and redundancy is meaning derived from pattern” (p. 273). She adds, “Double (or multiple) descriptions make a space where something new can emerge” (p. 273). Curiously, while work might need to be done to ensure redundancy, Davis (2004) finds that “the teacher can usually assume that the condition of diversity will be met in the classroom” (p. 168). The next section suggests that diversity may be present in classrooms, but it may not be called for or attended to adequately.  140  Figure 5.7 Gabe tries on a pair of shoes and a different way to style. Diversity The space in which the agents appear not to be similar is called diversity. This space of diversity is how novel ideas are tried and tested within a system. While advocacy for attention to diversity permeates the field of education, scholars such as Hardy (2006), and Lynch and Lodge (2002), argue that although diversity is called for in theory and in policy, schools and curricula do not accommodate for “differences” (Lynch & Lodge, 2002, p. 131) or the “rhizomatic” (Hardy, 2006, p. 268). Diversity enables, “novel actions in response to shifts in the grander context” (Davis et al., 2008, p. 196) of a system. Stanley (2005) concurs that novelty “emerges in the nonlinear interactions between diverse entities” (p. 148). Therefore, the diversity of its agents is the source of a system’s intelligence according to Davis and Sumara (2006; see also Davis et al., 2008). Additionally, if “[d]iversity begets diversity, driving the growth of complexity” (1995, p.  141  296), as Kauffman suggests, diversity should not be hindered or stifled in a classroom, but celebrated. I will present how concepts of diversity were welcomed and resisted and the understandings from such an engagement throughout this dissertation. Setting up the condition of diversity, as Davis (2004) suggested above, was not really necessary because diversity can also be assumed within a classroom according to Davis (2004). However, accommodation of diversity must be attended to. This resonates with advocates of critical multiculturalism and pluralism. A key aspect of this study was to attend to the accommodation of diversity in the curriculum as it is enacted. To do this, issues of control had to be addressed within the research site. Decentralized Control Skadi and I discussed an emergent curriculum and the need to invite students “to find their own way” within this research study. However, I was looking at my own assertion of control as a guest artist/researcher/teacher as I observed Skadi’s resistances and acceptances to sharing control of the curriculum with her students and me. Control within our study was shared among its participants, but not in purely equal terms as is described in distributed systems below. Skadi gave up a certain degree of control of the curriculum by inviting her students to select themes, media, processes, concepts, and with whom they would work. She also invited me to be a co-teacher to a certain degree. Several student participants were also key in teaching, sharing with, and linking together participants. Therefore, knowledge was not handed down from top to bottom in a linear fashion, from Skadi to her students, but shared among the collective.  142  Davis and Sumara (2006) strongly assert that “the decentralized network is the architecture necessary for an intelligent system” (p. 89). A decentralized system, or “scale-free network” (p. 53), is an architectural structure in which complex systems reside. Ideas, concepts, and interests within a system—our research participants—link agents together in clusters. These clusters, or nodes, exchange information with agents working in various nodes. This architectural structure is contrasted with (1) a centralized or hierarchical system, which Davis and Sumara (2006) describe as typical in most educational systems and (2) a distributed system in which each agent is highly connected in a mesh-like structure. Davis and Sumara (2006) provide a thorough description of these architectural models in their book Complexity and Education but for this chapter it will suffice to say a centralized system is efficient but not very robust and a distributed system is robust but not very efficient. A decentralized system provides a certain latency or anticipation amongst agents, due to agent proximity, that connects them to each other through links of potential connection, or weak links. Key in our study was to disrupt the tendency for a teacher to become the center of knowing who imparts knowledge to each individual agent. Because diversity and redundancy were assumed to exist in this classroom, Skadi and I focused on what we could control, which was control itself. Accommodating diversity and attending to other conditions, such as occasioning a space where participants could exchange ideas through a certain closeness82 became issues of decentralization. In contrast to a distributed or centralized network, Davis and Sumara 82  This closeness is another condition of complex systems that will be discussed in the following section entitled Neighboring Interactions. It is a condition that requires the ability for agents—or research participants in this study—to be close enough for exchange, communication, and feedback. This can also be called proximity. 143  (2006) claim “in the decentralized network, agents have opportunities to specialize for mutual affect” (p. 89). Davis and Sumara, (2006) reiterate their conception of an intelligent system in the following: “[T]here is a need for a more flexibly adaptive—that is, a more intelligent—system” (p. 133). They explain, “[D]ecentralized structures are much better suited to such situations than centralized organizations” (Davis & Sumara, 2006 p. 133). When I approached Skadi with this research proposal, I suggested the idea of studying an emergent curriculum as informed by complexity thinking, as well as artistic inquiry and concepts of dress. We discussed the idea of letting things, interactions, and ideas emerge within a decentralized network. A decentralized network required a shift in perspective from her usual conceptualizations of teacher as I describe in the chapter A/r/tography as a Pedagogical Strategy. But she committed to the endeavor and expressed excitement to see what would emerge. This study was a moment for me to stand in a place of privilege within a classroom, not in terms of power but where my research identity allowed me a patience not always condoned in the teacher identity. Skadi’s commitment was not without reservation, especially in the initial phases of this study when students were working on different projects at different paces. However, Skadi supported the idea of bottom-up and shared control, while simultaneously expressing her concern with the process: “I am worried about what the students are going to do. What they are going to make. Do we have a plan?” Skadi, however, describes how even though giving up control meant a loss of being teacher, that loss of control empowered students as teachers and allowed Skadi to be learner. The teacher-to-student exchange was disrupted through a degree of  144  decentralization, but that also meant the students and teacher would be interacting differently (Fig. 5.8).  Figure 5.8 Skadi asked Alexander for sewing lessons after several weeks in the study. Skadi collaborated with a local artist who paints using thread and embroidery. They created this piece on a shirt for me as a going away gift. Neighbor Interactions Neighboring interactions is where agents are able to interact with some sense of proximity, which relates to my understanding of the a/r/tographic rendering contiguity.83 Contiguity is where neighboring agents—in this case students, teacher and researcher— and their ideas touch one another, which creates resistance, collaboration, or something new. Juxtaposing ideas or concepts can also create these places of possibility. In 83  See A/r/tography as a Pedagogical Strategy for a discussion on the rendering contiguity. 145  a/r/tography, for example, written text may be positioned in relation to, or juxtaposed with, image for new understandings. Earlier in this chapter I presented the concept of mashup, but instead of a mashup of songs, what if one were to mashup ideas, concepts, media, processes, technologies and techniques to create previously unthought thoughts?  Figure 5.9 Gretchen Elsner, detail of “Soft-Wear.” Davis and Sumara (2006) agree that juxtaposing phenomena in a relational study has rich potential for meaning. They state, “[T]he act of comparing diverse and seemingly unconnected phenomena is both profoundly human and, at times, tremendously fecund.” (Davis & Sumara, 2006, p. 8) However, this act of comparing from my a/r/tographic perspective joins them in their discussion of Edgar Morin (see 1999) in the following: Morin argues, an education for a complex world entails a certain transdisciplinarity that avoids trivialized distinctions between self and other, individual and collective, art and science, biological and cultural, human and natural, and so on. Humanity, that is must be radically contextualized (cited in Davis & Sumara, 2006, p. 134)  146  This radical contextualization crosses boundaries in a way that is reminiscent of my discussion in Outlining the Study, where I imagine a relational inquiry of “both this and that, and more” (Aoki, 2005a, p. 299). This relational inquiry requires a mashing up, or interaction between the proximity of ideas. The limits of knowledge—such as, what is considered art, craft, science, popular culture, foundational art education content and various cultural phenomena—create places of tension in their juxtaposition. Mennin (2007) suggests the following: [A]reas of uncertainty exist at the edge or frontier of their pre-existing knowledge (Abraham, 2003; Stacey, 1996; Vygotsky, 1978). It is at this edge/frontier that [inquirers] will formulate questions (learning issues) which, when pursued through self-directed independent study and subsequently shared and elaborated through discussion in the group, will lead to new understanding. (p. 305) Neighboring interactions, along with redundancy, diversity, and decentralized control were important conditions to lead this study to new understandings. However, complexity scholars name and categorize the conditions of complexity uniquely, and the conditions listed above are not provided as an exhaustive list. They are provided as having significantly informed this study conceptually. They are the conditions that were most useful in this particular analysis of our study. Like a/r/tographic renderings, these conditions have messy borders that create openings as they are in turn mashed-up and begin to reverberate meaning. However, a more comprehensive list of conditions—many of which are presented and represented in this dissertation—include feedback loops;84  84  Feedback loops, for example, are a system’s way of checking its viability in and on action, which Mennin (2007) states “is essential to continued learning and development” (p. 305). Positive feedback loops amplify and negative feedback loops keep the positive loops in check. Reflexivity—as discussed in Students as Arts-based Inquirers and A/r/tography as a Pedagogical Strategy—is related as a more organically metaphorical 147  emergence; constraints that enable;85 disequilibrated systems or systems working farfrom-equilibrium; nested and scale independent systems; recursively elaborative growth structure; and ambiguous boundaries. Forcing the Issue Studying the emergence of nonlinear systems requires a certain slowness, as discussed by complexivist Paul Cilliers (1998). This does no mean that it takes a long time for emergence to occur; it means simply that emergence cannot be forced. Selforganizing behavior occurs spontaneously. In my efforts to allow for non-hegemonic bottom-up emergence, I had to wait. I needed to be patient. Nonlinear emergence occurs in decentralized networks, as described previously, and therefore cannot be directed from the top down. Jenkins, Clinton, Purushotma, Robinson, and Weigel (2007) explain, “Not every member must contribute, but all must believe they are free to contribute when ready and that what they contribute will be appropriately valued” (p. 7). As a participant in this study, I continued to create my individual projects, working autonomously and then intermittently presenting my understandings publicly. After a time, participating members, including myself, started collaborating independently with each other. These collaborations became new networks where new possibilities and artistic understandings were formed (see Fig. 5.10).  description than the simple mechanical description of feedback provided above. Through the phenomena of feedback loops, however, systems grow and check their growth. 85 See Student as Arts-based Inquirers.  148  Figure 5.10 Sharing ideas, supplies, and products were common in “A Study of Dress.” I brought in a doll that I made out of scrap material and Skadi became emotional. Skadi shared that as a young girl her mother made her sister and her dresses out of similar fabrics. This is the doll that I created for Skadi in response to her story. Un/Bound While complex systems are contained in specified ways, they simultaneously have ambiguous boundaries that seep into each other. This dissertation is delimited by a number of factors too great to list here, but complexity related metaphors provoke me to perceive the messy boundaries of art, research, and teaching/learning in new ways. Davis and Sumara (2006) acknowledge the limits of certain structures of language, including academic structures and protocol. In a reflexive manner, they point out that even though they may cite references in their writing, the entire contextual histories and influences of their ideas cannot be contained. They state, “[W]e humans seem unable to cope with the grander web of associations and influence that underlie even the most mundane  149  accomplishments” (p. 95).86 However, complexity thinking juxtaposed with concepts of a/r/tography as a methodology provokes an imagination of a whole through connected systems of simultaneous similarity and difference. Complexity theory has transformed understandings in fields as diverse as mathematics, biology, cognitive science, military science, epidemiology, cybernetics, entomology, ecology, and urban design. Recently, education scholars have used complexity theory to question linear and hierarchical practices and attitudes in contemporary pedagogy. This chapter acknowledges the contributions of educational theorists working with complexity theory who continue to explore possibilities of pedagogy, whose contributions have inspired my thinking in my own research, teaching and artistic practices. My understandings of complexity theory were utilized as a method to address emergence within this study, and in doing so, I conceptualized this research participation group as a potential complex learning system. While the term complexity theory may sound cold, scientific, and regimented to some, it provides metaphors that are highly organic and through which I notice social interactions, exchanges, and growth in unique ways. In closing this chapter, I call the reader’s attention to the dancing stories juxtaposed within the chapters of this dissertation and I note Davis’s (2004) sentiments when he writes, “I am a part of their unfolding choreography and they are part of mine” (p. 147).87  86  In Butlerian and Merleau-Pontian fashion, Davis and Sumara (2006) question a categorizing of the levels within a system that is being studied in the following: “Where, for instance, does an agent stop and a collective begin?” (p. 96). 87 This statement describing interobjectivity blends Butler’s (see Salih & Butler, 2004) notion of performativity with Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s (see 1962) conception of the universe. It alludes to the description of a sartorial inquiry that I proposed in the introductory chapter and in Sartorial Artistic Inquiry. 150  STUDENTS AS ARTS-BASED INQUIRERS: PEDAGOGICAL SPACE FOR STUDENTS’ VOICES AND THE POSSIBILITY OF ACTION, OR, DIS/RUPTURING THE PEACE The Question of Student and Teacher Identities Within Inquiry: Whose Voice Counts? [I]t is through the mediation and action of teacher voice that the very nature of the schooling process is either sustained or challenged; that is, the power of teacher voice to shape schooling according to the logic of emancipatory interests is inextricably related to a high degree of selfunderstanding regarding values and interests. Teacher voice moves within a contradiction that points to its pedagogical significance for marginalization as well as empowering students. On one hand, teacher voice represents a basis in authority that can provide knowledge and forms of self-understanding allowing students to develop the power of critical consciousness. At the same time, regardless of how politically or ideologically correct a teacher may be, his or her “voice” can be destructive for students if it is imposed on them or if it is used to silence them. (Giroux, 1997, p. 142) Voice, Choice, and Criticality The education and complexity scholar, Brent Davis (2004), uses the metaphor of teaching as conversing. The word conversing is derived from the Latin conversari, to keep company with, and means to live among, or be familiar with. Teaching as conversation, in this sense, is a nonlinear way to envision teaching and learning. Davis (2004) explains that “[a] conversation is an emergent form, one whose outcome is never prespecified and is sensitive to contingencies” (p. 177). Hence, a curriculum of conversation values an active learning of possibilities, rather than a passive reproduction of fixed knowledge. Moreover, ethical action within this conversation attends to a contextual appropriateness through discourse and collaboration. Knowing oneself in relation to those with whom we keep company, live among, and with whom we become familiar, requires ethical engagement. Ethical action, rather than practical action,  151  according to Davis, “arises from a deep appreciation of the virtuality of one’s own identity,” which encourages a “responsiveness to what is appropriate here and now” (p. 176). Shirley R. Steinberg and Joe L. Kincheloe (1998) concur with the redescriptions of teacher and student identities presented in this dissertation. They conceive of education in a way that is not about teachers passing on knowledge to passive students, but is about students questioning various bodies of knowledge and becoming knowledge producers by imagining “alternative bodies of knowledge” (p. 4). Bill Atweh, Clare Christensen and Louise Dornan (1998) envision an approach that conceptualizes students as researchers that attempts to increase individual and relational knowledge, but that also hopes “to generate knowledge useful for action” (p. 116) as described in Sartorial Artistic Inquiry. Steve Collins (2004) states, “Any coming together of people involves politics” (p. 356). This statement necessitates the discussion of issues of power in a community of inquirers. The voices involved in a conversation and the choosing of what to say, what to hear and how to respond are all relevant in a critical pedagogy. Henry A. Giroux (1997) asserts, “In order to understand the multiple and varied meanings that constitute the discourses of student voice, radical educators need to affirm and critically engage the polyphonic languages their students bring to schools” (p. 141). This polyphony, or many voices, of students can be organized and structured through silencing, elaboration, or grouping. The teacher can mediate much of this structuring. Therefore, in this study I ask, How do we—as artist, researcher, teachers, and learners—affirm and critically engage these polyphonic languages? Can these issues be addressed by attending to concepts of democracy?  152  Figure 6.1 Yumi, “Armless, Helpless” (right), and “Little Purple Dress” (left, created in collaboration with Alexander). Yumi writes, “My art piece, ‘Armless, Helpless’ is a project I designed based on the problems we face in life. One of my good friends was stuck in a problem when we started this research project and he/she felt as though he/she was running in the same spot, unable to find solutions. He/she felt helpless. This art piece presents a man facing a problem without his arms. The arms represent the solutions he tries to gather and without them, he is unable to function. The front of his jacket is painted black because all he sees is the problem and the negative aspects of life. Life to this man is either black or white, with nothing in between. The only way for him to step out of the darkness is to find a way to pick up his arms.” Valuing Students, Equity, and Democracy A democracy is more than a form of government; it is primarily a mode of associated living, of conjoint communicated experience. (Dewey cited in Cremin, 1980, p. 122) Voices in Relational Context=Reflexive Discourse The above quote notes a special use of the word democracy in education. The primary aim of a democratic theory of education, according to Amy Gutmann (1999), “is not to offer solutions to all the problems plaguing our educational institutions, but to consider ways of resolving those problems that are compatible with a commitment to democratic values” (p. 11). Voice equals power in a democracy. However, Paula Saukko  153  (1998) suggests that both voice-oriented and discourse-oriented views of inquiry are significant. To Saukko, voice is characterized by individual experience, whereas discourse “is marked by a suspicion toward the categories that shape our experiences and identity” (p. 82). Discourse is therefore discernible by a measure of criticality. Ardra Cole and Gary Knowles (2000), however, include critical reflection in their understanding of narrative voice when they describe reflexivity. Reflexivity requires a contextual criticality of knowledge, according to Cole and Knowles. Knowledge is filtered through historical, cultural, and personal frames; reflexive inquiry acknowledges this. Knowledge, therefore, is not fixed but is in a constant state of becoming. Hence, the word understandings88 is often used by contemporary education theorists in lieu of the word knowledge to mark such conceptualizations of teaching and learning. Reflexive discourse offers a means for the learning community to self-adapt, or to self-organize its understandings, that is, to critically scrutinize its understandings.89 Voices are simply presented, but it is through reflexive discourse—which entails listening, reflecting and responding—that voices are checked, learning is unlearned through deconstruction, and new possibilities emerge and are explored.  88  As previously mentioned, understandings is also used in a/r/tography in lieu of the term findings. 89 See Frameworks Within Frames of Divergence for more on self-organization and emergence. 154  Figure 6.2 Skadi expressed her concern that “Mikal would not want to make a fancy prom dress like Alexander.” I wondered what gave Skadi the impression that student researchers were supposed to create “prom dresses.” Skadi told me that because Mikal was interested in more “masculine” experiences than Alexander we should help him feel more comfortable with this project. Skadi and I asked Mikal about his life and experiences. He stated that sports were his love and passion and that he really wanted to create his own soccer jersey but wasn’t sure he could do it. Skadi stands in the background in the photo above, providing encouragement as Mikal engages with this new technology. A Participatory Approach Although democracy entails a discourse of voices, not all voices necessarily share equal power. Gutmann (1999) believes that “[s]tudents lack the competence necessary to share equally in making many decisions” (p. 88). However, she does acknowledge that teachers who are “committed to a more participatory approach appear to be more successful both in getting their students to work and in increasing their commitment to learning than teachers who take a more disciplinary approach” (p. 89). If this is true, then why did Skadi express apprehension early in the study about her students not-knowing? Although she had committed to an emergent curriculum, explaining the search for the students’ own potential, Skadi still asked, “What will the students do?” just days into the study. Perhaps the conceptualizations of what doing, searching, and potential involve did not mean the same thing for Skadi as it meant for me. How, then, do I as a visiting  155  researcher not force my own agenda on this group either implicitly and explicitly? I had to remember that I wasn’t only a researcher, but a research participant.  Figure 6.3 Mikal models his “own creation” that was accomplished amidst a collective learning system in which many inquirers aggregated their knowledge to create shifting understandings. According to Skadi, Mikal thought he might be required to create a “prom dress” like Alexander. Mikal was cautious in his artistic production, but he was happy with his creation and his newly acquired skills. Forcing students “to work” may not be an ethical goal to a radical pedagogue, but a commitment to learning would be, if it were defined as a commitment to critical learning. I also imagine that since a disciplinary approach entails a teacher asserting his or her “authority, first to produce order, and then to funnel a body of knowledge into students” (Gutmann, 1999, p. 89), that a participatory approach also allows for unanticipated knowledge and understandings to be explored. A disciplinary approach then, suggests that student voices should be silenced when either (1) the teacher deems 156  that order must be preserved, or (2) a particular body of knowledge is not moving from teacher to student. Is it possible to imagine any other approach within a hierarchical school structure? While the sharing of power may be unequal in the structure of a school, a participatory approach still may be identified as more democratic than a disciplinary90 approach, according to Gutmann (1999, p. 89), because this approach to education values the voices within a learning community. In this chapter I imagine this community to involve a classroom of students and their teacher, who together create understandings and new possibilities as they scrutinize various bodies of knowledge and imagine new understandings through a discourse of living inquiry and experience. This would be accomplished through the narration of voices and the reflexive discourse surrounding that narration. A learning community or collective benefits from the voice and discourse of participants, who each feel the need or desire to be heard.  90  This use of disciplinary refers to enforcing discipline as learning, which comes from the Latin word discipulus. 157  Figure 6.4 Student researchers organize photographs to present to the public in an open house that is held during the final exhibition at Himation Secondary. Venues for Voicing From the outset of this study I was very aware of my desire to include unmodified voices, particularly student voices. I wanted each participant to speak/represent his or her own understandings unmediated by me. I realized by the end of the project that this would prove far more difficult than I once hoped. It wasn’t until I began an analysis of the data that themes emerged, though they emerged in non-chronological clusters. Additionally, each participant shared their inquiries in different ways; my representation of understandings was different from theirs and wouldn’t fit neatly or philosophically into this dissertation structure. These negative feedback loops did, however, provoke me to question my desires for unmediated representation in this dissertation as a venue for voice. While voices are often silenced through external management, these participants  158  voiced where they felt empowered to voice.91 Hence, a future inquiry that studies places of power may prove useful. This dissertation, however, contains my own movement through this collective learning system as artist, researcher, and teacher/learner. I would be held accountable for this study even though I state its participatory structures. My name was to appear on the cover of this dissertation. If successfully defended, I would receive the benefits of the conferment of a degree. What would the other participants gain from this dissertation? I began to ask if this dissertation was the form or venue for the presentation of all participants’ data, analysis, and understandings. I accumulated an enormous amount of data, hours of interviews, field notes, videos, images, and digital messages, some of which was gathered by numerous research participants; however, I did not find a justifiable method of relaying these voices without severe editing. I began to highlight recurring themes that emerged in the data that resonated with and reverberated my understandings of art, research, and education. Many of the student researchers and the teacher voiced their apprehension to writing their own stories in an academic format without my mediation. Several voiced that they wanted this project to be successful and would be happy to share their insights, but that they did not feel confident writing their own stories: they knew that a dissertation demands academic writing and they feared that their writing would not sound intelligent. Perhaps this apprehension to share their understandings in their own voice emphasizes the marginalization that occurs through academic literature. Even Skadi expressed that she wanted me to mediate her thoughts, "Make this sound good. Make me sound smart,”  91  The voicing occurred through their MySpace and Facebook pages, dance recitals, in the school halls, amongst friends, in portfolios for university entrance, for local contests and in exhibition spaces, and at the end of school exhibition. 159  she would say after handing me her reflections on the research project or about theories of art and teaching in general. Hence, I shifted from my own desire—that the participants share their understandings publicly in this academic dissertation—to “publishing” their understandings as they saw fit. For example, several participants posted their work and thoughts on their Facebook and MySpace sites and blogs, and some participants created performances that they shared at community centers. All of the participants showed their work, along with artist statements, in an exhibition performance at the end of the school year to which they invited friends, family, and the community. Skadi presented her ideas through workshops, through her artwork, through written material, and through the gifts that she would hand to me with quotes and passages. Fairly early on in the study, I questioned how I might include participants in a dissertation document. I didn’t understand how much data would be available for analysis. I knew that I wanted to show the student participants’ work and that perhaps an artist statement would be included. I also imagined participants sharing their research reflections, including an analysis of their inquiry with written understandings. Yet I was unprepared for the amount of data collected on my part and the various agendas of each participant. I began to ask participants how they wanted to be included in an attempt to hear and observe the most relevant understandings. It was an attempt to hear voices, to make voices count, to include, but also to make certain my descriptions and interpretations were balanced and diverse. I was to learn something about representation. Surprisingly, several participants expressed apathy, stating, “I don’t care” or “Whatever you need.” Others wanted me to make them, “sound smart,” echoing Skadi’s  160  remarks. Unlike other participants, Alexander wanted to his work to be known in a specific way, “make sure everyone knows who I am and what I do,” he told me several times. The multiple voices in this study are important. I still share the influences that these participants had on my understandings regarding artist, researcher, and teacher identities in this dissertation, but I have changed my desire to include unmediated representation of these participants. This is a co-constructed dissertation, but the voices of the participants cannot be presented equally. Representation is personal and contextual. This study emphasizes how these students collectively desired a successful project even though their names would not appear on the cover of the dissertation and I found it interesting that Skadi, although knowing that her identity would remain anonymous, wanted me to portray her in a positive light.  Figure 6.5 A collection of designs created by Alexander. Skadi helped with the make up and Juan Carlos Castro, who is introduced in Shopplacing, photographed these dresses.  161  Overall, this study is still highly participatory, and participants worked together with a common concept, but individuals, including me, presented our understandings in unique venues. I did not see this as a failure, but as an insight into pedagogy to encourage voices to be heard by the ears that the agents intend. Almost a year into the project I saw that the analysis was moving this project into a very personal place where I related almost every significant theme to personal experience.92 However, I am sure these themes resonated as relevant because they were so personal, even in difference. The stories I tell are the stories that relate to my own theories and musings, arising from patterns, themes, and my interpretation of the data. In compiling this dissertation, I attempt to be as ethical as I can be, including the stories that demand to be present. I have been self critical and reflective in my data collection and analysis to provoke new understandings in a collective research group. Students as Inquirers and the Action Research Classroom: A Potential Complex Learning System [T]he primary purpose of action research is not to produce academic theories based on action; nor is it to produce theories about action; nor is it to produce theoretical or empirical knowledge that can be applied in action; it is to liberate the human body, mind and spirit in the search for a better, freer world. (Reason & Bradbury, 2001b, p. 2) Action research, conceptualized in this way, is a means of creating new and liberating forms of understanding. If one believes that much of learning is relational— that it is constructed in relationship to contexts and systems, that is, experiences, discourses, reflections, interactions, exchanges and responses—then students within a classroom have the potential to participate as a learning community and as action 92  Finding myself situated in this study is an act of reflexivity. Being aware of my presence, even as themes arise that seem strange to me, helps me notice the polyvocal. 162  researchers. Certain forms of action research have been defined as a process of inquiry that is rooted in everyday experience—in what some have called living inquiry (see Carson & Sumara, 1997; Reason & Bradbury, 2001a).93 Students are learners as they live their lives, both within and outside the walls of a school (Jardine et al., 2003). If we are to conceive of the teacher(s) and students of a classroom as an action research community, the classroom becomes a place of inquiry in which individual experiences are voiced within a community of voices. These voices—both the students’ and teachers’—are invited to participate in the broadly defined research agenda of creating meaningful understandings, mutual sense making, and the possibility of moving toward collective actions.  Figure 6.6 Student researcher, Puck, constructs a tin man with moveable parts from recycled materials.  93  See the following chapters for more discussion on living inquiry: A/r/tography as a Pedagogical Strategy and Shopplacing. 163  According to Erickson and Shultz (1992), because learning takes place “at the edge of one’s capacity to perform adequately” (p. 470), the learner must exhibit continual trust as there is a constant “risk of embarrassment and loss of face” (p. 470). Therefore, if the learner does not have a trusting relationship with his or her peers and teacher, then learning is hindered. Redescribing the definitions of teacher and learner may be a means for placing oneself at risk while simultaneously exhibiting trust.  Figure 6.7 Puck’s mechanic tin man has a door that opens to “organs and systems.” Pedagogy must be a mutual endeavor, not occurring for the learner, but with the learner (Freire, 2006; Reason & Bradbury, 2001a). The action research process is grounded in the voiced perspectives and interests of the participants engaged in inquiry. The classroom of participants—or action research group, including the students and teacher(s) as participants—direct the line/s of inquiry together. However, the inquiry 164  must be defined with sufficient diversity for individual exploration. Therefore, learning is not predetermined, but anticipated through an exploration as the group decides together— through a discourse of voicing—what is relevant to the learning community as it emerges from the conversations and experiences of the invested individuals. Power in such a learning community must be shared, or decentralized, in order for liberated understandings to emerge or unfold (Davis & Sumara, 2006; Freire, 2006). This does not mean that each participant will be learning the same thing simultaneously (Figs. 6.7, 6.8, & 6.9). Curiously, Davis and Sumara (2006) explain that complex learning systems— learning communities that can be defined as collective that are more intelligent than the sum of the participants’ intelligences—emerge without group consensus and are more vibrant when participants act as autonomously as possible (pp. 84-85). They are also stronger when centralized leadership is absent (p. 85). Hence, “[a] key—and, a paradox— here is that intelligent group action is dependent on the independent actions of diverse individuals” (Davis & Sumara, 2006, p. 85).  Figure 6.8 A student researcher created an edible hat from a variety of candies. As a secondary art teacher, I would have been unimpressed with this student’s final product—perhaps even redirecting the inquiry to include observable deeper meaning and a stronger connection to artistic practices— but as a researcher my thoughts are more reflective of processes, patterns, and neighboring interactions. Merete was thrilled with her creation and other participants were inspired to test out food in their designs. As an exchange student, Merete, shared that her prior experiences in European schools privileged conceptual art over material and media manipulation.  165  Figure 6.9 Miranda wears her headband created from recycled Tyvek, ink, and paint. She continued to use processes that she had been using in her sketchbook prior to “A Study of Dress Through Artistic Inquiry,” but transfers these to new materials and processes as understandings emerge through reflection and interaction. Although decentralization is a key factor in complex learning systems, according to Davis and Sumara (2006), “complex systems are rule-bound” (p. 147). Using the term enabling constraints, Davis and Sumara, express how the “delicate balance between sufficient coherence to orient agents’ actions and sufficient randomness… allow[s] for flexible and varied response” (p. 148). Throughout this dissertation, I appropriate Judith Butler’s (1990) notion of gender as an “improvisation within a scene of constraint” (p. 1) and apply it as a folding or juxtaposition to complexity thinking within a curriculum as an improvisation within a scene of constraint. The constraints do not determine outcomes, but act as places of possibility: not a funneling down, but a divergent funneling out.  166  Is Teaching for Social Justice Undemocratic? Critical moments abound within this study. The question of whether teaching for social justice is democratic frequents my research reflections. As stated in other sections of this dissertation, I am informed by critical theory and pedagogy. During the recruitment phase of this study, I shared many works created by socially engaged artists with the potential participants. Some of our conversations—in groups and individually— returned to my beliefs and knowledge of the tyrannies of the fashion industry, the hegemony of aesthetics, and the production of knowledge. However, like Elizabeth Ellsworth (1989) and Eric B. Freeman (2007), I did not feel emancipation could come from the hegemony of social justice. The decentralized structure of this participatory study did allow for the unknown and unexpected that Skadi and I feared to surface. The diversity of voices expressed in this study—not just through the variety of artist statements, but stylistically, visually, and conceptually—attest to the need of criticality of all structures, including those with social justice agendas.94 I did not feel it ethically appropriate, in a complex, critical, and a/r/tographic frame, to create a traditional95  94  The processes and media used by the research participants were as diverse as their concepts derived from the overarching research topic of dress. The diversity of artistic voice is a key contribution made by this study. Skadi stated that her assignments prior to A Study of Dress Through Artistic Inquiry would begin with a technique, process, or media, which would then be reproduced by each student. While the students were expected to express themselves within this journey of representation, the final products were visually very similar. This occurs in the work of those who purport to privilege social justice agendas as well, as noted by the student work shown in the dissertation by David Darts (2004). While the participants in Visual Culture Jam: Art, Pedagogy and Creative Resistance noted that social justice issues became significant to them during the study, their work was stylistically similar to each other. 95 This refers to my assumption that traditional assignments are those that are created by the teacher that are set up so that the students might acquire specific skills, techniques and knowledge. In a traditional art assignment, students use similar materials, techniques, processes and a range of concepts to create a product within a specified time schedule. 167  assignment that dealt with a selection of social justice issues. My notion of polyvocality entails a conversation that includes criticality and feedback, but that is neither directed linearly nor outcome directed. This type of pedagogy shifts from learning through teacher-directed assignments to learning through participatory inquiry, including artmaking.  Figure 6.10 Alexander started creating this dress out of recycled materials (grocery bags, thread spools, file folder hangers, packing straps, and soft drink cans) prior to his participation in “A Study of Dress Through Artistic Inquiry.” Every participant in “A Study of Dress” helped him finish the recycled plastic “flowers” in time to enter this dress in a local exhibition about recycling, where he and this dress stole the show. This is the dress that Alexander was discouraged with before discovering that Tyvek would add support to the skirt and prevent the plastic bodice from splitting.  168  Students as Arts-based Inquirers All artmaking, according to Julia Marshall (2002), is a form of research and is a learning experience (p. 281). She explains that art as research “presents a method of inquiry that entails gathering information, the interpretation of findings, and the creation of a response or product” (p. 281). And artmaking as learning draws attention to the process of the artmaking experience, describes Marshall, rather than to the qualities of the end product. This art as research process leads to new questions and learning, which marks the ongoing nature of artmaking as a living inquiry. Thought of in this way, art neither begins nor ends with the product. Artmaking as learning “confirms the significance of subjective knowledge, knowledge that we create or discover personally through our senses, intellect, and experiences” (Marshall, 2002, p. 281). Arts-based inquiry has the potential for both students and teachers to think in exceptional ways (Fig. 6.10). Investigating Multiple Voices and the Imagined Voice How do the visual arts invite us to see multiple perspectives? Art offers us something seldom seen in other content areas of the curriculum: an immediate emotional and intellectual response to other perspectives. (Albers, 1999, p. 11) Peggy M. Albers (1999) argues that “regimes of truth” (p. 7) are constructed over time through the voices of curricula in the form of stories, music, literature, school texts, and popular culture. Because the pedagogy of art, as suggested by Albers, has been “far from democratic” (p. 7), more dialogic exchange may be necessary in which students are asked to challenge their constructed knowledge and reconstruct new understandings by investigating alternative voices. This interrogation and reconstruction of heard voices encourages voices of possibility, rather than a fixed voice that is reproduced repeatedly.  169  In her 2-year ethnographic study, Albers sought the transformation of students’ held beliefs. She states, “not all students transformed their beliefs, yet the experience of talking about issues of social location may have opened up and raised consciousness that was not there before” (p. 10). Albers suggests that art can make the unheard voices and beliefs apparent that often remain unheard or invisible in other content areas. According to Albers, when students begin to understand and question their role in society, acting as attentive participants , they “can become more critical discussants about pluralistic issues, which then [she] believe[s], can initiate social change” (p. 10). Therefore, engagement as an attentive listener of multiple voices seems key to participating in critical discourse of imagined voices and social action.  Figure 6.11 Sabrina showed up in this dress she made outside of scheduled class time to exhibit it in the final show. She worked quietly in class during the study, but did not bring in this piece. I wonder in what ways the research collective interacted with her understandings. I did not get a chance to interview Sabrina about her reasons for working exclusively outside the collective studio space on this artifact.  170  The work of many contemporary artists focuses on social relations, challenging a single canonical voice that represents a boundary of social identification (Atkinson, 2005; Bourriaud, 2002). Instead of an art teacher reinforcing a standard voice or practice in the classroom, multiple voices need to be explored, reinvented, and imagined by a classroom of learners. Explaining this relational, challenging, uncertain, and shifting notion of artistic practice, Dennis Atkinson (2005) states, “this type of art practice opens up new possibilities for understanding ourselves and others and this includes how we understand art practice” (p. 23).  Figure 6.12 Detail of Sabrina’s dress made from degradable packing material that the student participant recovered from the trash. Hearing Unheard Voices and Speaking with Voices of Possibility How youth find a voice in schools when schooling structures, policies and practices are so often crafted in such ways as to ensure that no voice is possible is a question worthy of examination. (Erickson & Schultz, cited in Rudduck & Flutter, 2004, p. 139)  171  Jean Rudduck and Julia Flutter (2004) find that students might be reluctant to critically question and then voice their educational experience with their teachers (Fig. 6.11), suggesting that it “takes time and patient commitment to build open and dependable structures within schools which will enable students and teachers, as partners… to talk” (pp. 104-105). This student/teacher conversation—talking as partners—suggests a relationship that acts as a dialogical educational partnership.96 Rudduck and Flutter (2004) define this partnership as a learning community, which they conceptualize as “a place of reflection, inquiry, discourse sharing, and risk-taking” (p. 141). To them, this is learning. What understandings might unfold through these conversations—as a dialogical educational partnership—within a learning community? The conversations or dialogues in which we take part are perhaps most telling of the power that we hold within relationships. Investigating our identities and voice in such conversation—or lack of conversation—may create openings in which to speak. In a structure that places the teacher in a position of power, how can a student voice his or her  96  Some research participants expressed confusion about my identity in the classroom: Skadi was designated as their teacher, but she introduced me as a co-teacher, researcher, and artist-in-residence. I also reflect on these identity boundaries throughout this dissertation. I have been taught in my teacher education preparation to present clearly articulated boundaries of what a teacher must be to students. If I did not delineate clearly defined boundaries and definitions, I was instructed, the students would cross those boundaries and risk confusion. However, while Skadi introduced me as these three identities, she also described me as a friend. Likewise, most of the student participants added me as their MySpace or Facebook friend. This was a surprise for me in the research, but calls to mind the notion of a critical friend from a research perspective. The confusion that students expressed was not troubling, but liberating in most cases. More than one student shared that they felt like my peer as an artist-researcher. However, there were times in which Skadi wanted to speed things up, or take a more directive role in a couple of the student projects, and she had a difficult time doing this without feeling like she was stepping on my toes. She expressed that she would have done things differently if I hadn’t been there. We were in this study together and we had committed to an emergent curriculum. 172  current understandings in an art class, let alone investigate new possibilities, unless the teacher provides a space to do so (Fig. 6.12)? Once again, we see that knowledge is controlled and voice is potentially silenced. To hear a voice, one must listen, and it is difficult to hear while simultaneously speaking. Erickson and Shultz (1992) argue that teachers are, and would continue to be, less than skilled in listening even if students were to develop their “capacities to speak” (p. 482). Erickson and Shultz suggest teachers “lack experience in noticing and making sense of what student voices might be saying” (p. 482). Therefore, it may be difficult for teachers to hear students who are already reticent about critically voicing their learning experience due to oppressive or silencing structures. How do we, as teachers, hear the silenced student’s voice? The kind of transformation necessary to bring about a dialogue of possibility is presented in the following explanation by Rudduck and Flutter (2004): [T]ransformation will be about re-casting teachers and pupils in a more participatory and collaborative relationship, reviewing perceptions of pupils’ capacities to contribute actively to a range of school activities, and allowing them to move outside their assigned cells as learners of the statutory curriculum into learnings associated with a wider range of roles and purposes. (pp. 139-140) Educators must be attentive in their invitations to their students to move toward the possibility of becoming a learning community through collaborative forms of inquiry. Saukko (1998) explains that participants involved in such research seek to “become more aware of or reflexive about” the historical, paradigmatic, and personal frames of one’s inquiry (p. 79). She continues by suggesting that inquirers envision a rhizomatic combination of approaches of inquiry. Approaches such as inquiry through student voice, through teacher voice, and the discourse between the two enrich each other and yet, are not always commensurable. She suggests that “we should strive for a more ‘nomadic’  173  methodology, which would not work to defend one position and to exclude others but would be capable of moving between them” (pp. 92-93). A/r/tography is one such research methodology, that “live[s] in the borderlands” (Irwin & de Cosson, 2004, p. 29) of roles, identities, and ways in order to make sense and meaning in the world. However, a/r/tography moves beyond an academic research methodology when it is conceptualized as a living inquiry (see Carson & Sumara, 1997; Irwin et al., 2006b; Springgay et al., 2005). As such, it becomes a way of living in the world by attending to the aesthetic (Irwin, 2003). It is a method of inquiry that seeks understandings and new possibilities through nonlinear, rhizomatic, and relational learning (Irwin et al., 2006a). Learners—students and teachers—are not barred from using methods of inquiry outside of academia, and yet, more work needs to be “done that places student experience at the center of attention” (Erickson & Shultz, 1992, p. 467). Is new knowledge reserved for the exploration of academics only? In 1992, Erickson and Shultz expressed a concern for the lack of both student and teacher voice in research, but also for the top-down perspectives of research in the following: We do not see the mutual influence of students and teachers or see what the student or the teacher thinks or cares about during the course of that mutual influence. If the student is visible at all in a research study he [or she] is usually viewed from the perspective of adult educators’ interests and ways of seeing. (p. 467) Erickson and Shultz’s assertions are still pertinent today. I conceptualize students as learners rather than as knowledge receptacles; they are individual and collective agents who make understandings. The understandings that these learners gain through this conceptualization may be most valuable in the potentiality for transformation. The  174  perspectives of students are rarely discussed in solving educational issues (Bland & Atweh, 2006; Cook-Sather, 2002; Erickson & Shultz, 1992; Feldman, 2002; Fielding, 2001). As stated by Alison Cook-Sather (2002), “students must be included among those with the authority to participate both in the critique and in the reform of education” (p. 3).  Figure 6.13 This student participant spent days learning how to patch her favorite jeans, “just so.” Several students abandoned more conceptual ideas for functional products when they began to gain sartorial skills. Accounting for a Relationship of Multiple Voices: An Invitation Toward Action by Responding to the Question, Who’s Voice Counts? We are all interrelated in our actions and in our non-actions regardless of whether we are conscious of the interrelationships or not. As Coretta Scott King (cited in Slattery, 2006) said: Problems that affect people in Beijing, China, also affect people in Harlem, U.S.A., and everywhere else in the world. We must be concerned about others as well as ourselves; we cannot just focus on our own problems. We must study the cultures and languages of the whole world. We need to study the history of people who are different from ourselves, those who are outside our borders as well as those who are inside. Martin [Luther King, Jr.] used to say that we are all tied together in an inescapable network of mutuality. What affects one directly affects all indirectly. (p. 171) 175  When we apply this concept of interrelatedness to education, we see that learning is relational and entails making meaning, understandings, and imaginings that move one toward transformative action.97 Teaching, learning, and social responsibility become a shared responsibility. Derek Bland and Bill Atweh (2006) argue that involving students in research is an invitation to participate in “meaningful and empowering communicative action where they work collaboratively with other students, teachers and academic researchers to posit their own questions and problems, and to find creative ways to deal with and improve aspects of their lives” (paragraph 12).  Figure 6.14 Skadi and the student researchers invited the community to the final art exhibition at the end of the school year. Family, friends, and community members participate in this public presentation to celebrate, ask questions, and provide feedback.  97  Transaction is further discussed in A/r/tography as a Pedagogical Strategy.  176  Similarly, Mitchell and Sackney (cited in Rudduck & Flutter, 2004) express the need to move from a linear model concerned with static outcomes and targets, a fixed-type of knowledge, to models that are characterized by “metaphors of wholeness and connections, diversity and complexity, relationships and meaning, reflection and enquiry, and collaboration and collegiality” (p. 139). An arts-informed curriculum presents the possibility of moving toward these characterizations. Furthermore, a classroom that is conceptualized as a participatory learning community where independent voices are encouraged and critical discourses abound, has the potential to move individuals and communities toward possibilities of action and transformation through an experienced awareness of participants’ interrelatedness.  177  UN/DOING CURRICULUM: IMPROVISATION WITHIN A SCENE OF CONSTRAINT Relationships of Curriculum and Drag: Re-Acting and Re-Thinking Artist/Researcher/Teacher Identities Ghosts and the Curriculum, written by William E. Doll, Jr. (2002), presents a history of curriculum and then goes on to explore what Doll calls “the five C’s” (p. 42) of curriculum, namely, currere, complexity, cosmology, conversation, and community. According to Doll, these concepts of curriculum “all accept relationships as the ultimate reality within which we work, live, and play” (p. 42). These are metaphors that have expanded my understandings of curriculum and have encouraged me to re-think and react as I become artist, researcher, and teacher. Relationality is also a key condition of a/r/tographic inquiry according to Irwin, Beer, Springgay, Grauer, Xiong, and Bickel (2006a), and is demonstrated in the chapters throughout this dissertation. I wonder how far Doll’s (2002) conceptualization of the cosmos, as inherently united to both change and stability rather than change or stability (p. 38), relates to curriculum and the five C’s. My attempt in this chapter is to juxtapose drag and curriculum as a mashup,98 or a metaphoric redescription (Allen, 2003) to provoke new understandings. It is a theme that I had not anticipated emerging in A Study of Dress Through Artistic Inquiry; in fact, it is a theme that I would usually tend to avoid. But several recurring events took place just prior to and during this research study that caused me to reflect further and notice differently.  98  Here mashup is conceptualized as the juxtaposition of two concepts to produce a completely new concept that is more than the sum of the two independent concepts. See Frameworks Within Frames of Divergence as well as the introductory chapter, p. 14. 178  Figure 7.1 Detail of “Un/Doing,” Daniel T. Barney, 2008. Concepts of Drag Emerge Amidst a Living Curriculum In February 2007, Professor Madeleine R. Grumet (2007) gave a lecture on presence at the University of British Columbia that sparked my interest in drag. While portions of her lecture, which she called a talk and a conversation, immediately resonated with me, I found that I was not prepared for the format of her emergent presentation. Afterward I wondered whether Professor Grumet was avoiding her responsibility to present a formal lecture through this informal presentation. Even though I believe myself to be an advocate of emergent curricula and nonlinear learning in education, I was unfamiliar with her dynamic and invitational style of lecturing. It has taken me some time to realize the impacts that Dr. Grumet’s discussion has had on my art, research, and teaching. Therefore, it should not have surprised me, for example, that some of the student participants initially resisted sewing on a machine and later embraced it. Likewise, Skadi wanted her students to be able to make their own choices about the concepts, processes, and media that they would be utilizing during this study, but still  179  expressed unease about her shifting role as teacher. Teaching and learning was present, just as understandings were formed in Grumet’s discussion, but they looked different. During her talk, Professor Grumet recounted a memory of visiting a drag show for the first time. She described the feeling that she had as horrific. Horrific is a strong word, but Professor Grumet explained the context for experiencing expressed emotion: the event happened long ago, and she was a different person in a different time. The discussion instigated by this recollection, however, developed into a conceptualization that “curriculum is the world in drag.” Grumet explained that “we are all in disguise” and like drag, which is an imitation of an imitation, it can be “quite horrifying.” I can easily formulate horror in perceiving curriculum-as-plan, where one’s learning is directed exclusively from the top down; however, Grumet’s notion suggests that curriculum-aslived can also be horrifying, albeit uniquely horrifying. I admit that I was a bit shocked by Grumet’s description of drag as horrific. Although at that time I may have avoided seeking out themes of drag, I still thought it an unusual description. For additional insight, I turned to Judith Butler. She describes a performance like girling (see Butler, 1993) as an action that makes the subject intelligible. She explains “that there need not be a ‘doer behind the deed,’ but that the ‘doer’ is variably constructed in and through the deed” (Butler, 1990, p. 142). The action, therefore, creates a subject. I ask then, does the act of researching make me a researcher, the act of teaching make me a teacher, and the act of artistic creation make me an artist? Butler (1990) provides an insight in the following: As much as drag creates a unified picture of ‘woman’ (what its critics often oppose), it also reveals the distinctness of those aspects of gendered experience which are falsely naturalized as a unity… (p. 137)  180  Therefore, applying Butler’s theories on gender, drag creates an opening as it represents a falsely naturalized concept. In its doing—being a woman99—it is simultaneously undone—the establishment of woman is deconstructed. This chapter negotiates the question; can concepts of gender and drag create openings as they are juxtaposed with curriculum in a living inquiry?  Figure 7.2 Detail of “Un/Doing” unzipped. Some think of all dress as drag, not limiting drag to a person of one gender wearing the dress associated with the other. The performer Ru Paul (cited in Arnold, 2001), for example, states, “Honey, you’re born naked, and the rest is drag,” (p. 106) and the singer, Patti Smith has been attributed with stating, “As far as I’m concerned, any  99  Butler’s statement is referencing the experience of a drag queen, but there are other ways of dragging, as with the experience of a drag king where a woman dresses as a man. 181  gender is a drag” (Smith, n.d.). I have been immersed in questions of dress for several years. It has been a key interest in my dissertation research, which includes my artistic practice. But it is also relevant to education and my teacher identity. Just as clothing and dress are highly gendered, so is curriculum. Dr. Grumet’s drag metaphor was thought provoking and it has encouraged new understandings in my art, research, and teaching practices.  Figure 7.3 Daniel T. Barney, “Un/Doing,” zipper, embroidery, and dyed canvas. Unlike my first experiences with school curriculum, my first direct experiences with drag were not horrific. I remember being curious as a youngster, wondering, why wouldn’t a man dress up as a woman? Women dress up as women.100 As a small child, I  100  The point here is not that I was attempting to change my sex, but gender to me as a child was unrelated to biology. 182  would get into my mother’s make up, but I was then told that boys do not do that, and so I did not. Later, I was too busy trying to correctly dress as a man to think of the possibility of female styling, and in many instances I have worried about the representation of my own masculinity. The following statement by Butler (2004b) resonates with my own experiences: The social constraints upon gender compliance and deviation are so great that most people feel deeply wounded if they are told that they exercise their manhood or womanhood improperly. In so far as social existence requires an unambiguous gender affinity, it is not possible to exist in a socially meaningful sense outside of established gender norms. The fall from established gender boundaries initiates a sense of radical dislocation which can assume a metaphysical significance. If human existence is always gendered existence, then to stray outside of established gender is in some sense to put one’s very existence into question. (p. 27) My own masculinity is a precarious (sub)conscious act. I do not consciously desire to be female, but I find that in some social circles I suppress notions of a perceived feminine. I wonder if I am afraid to appear female, or feminine, or am I afraid to appear not male or masculine enough. Or perhaps, as Butler suggests above, I am afraid to question my existence. Likewise, will straying outside of the established borders of artist, researcher, and/or teacher call into question their existences?101 When I was a student in secondary school, my best friend consistently dressed somewhere in between the (un)spoken borders of male/female. I spent a lot of time as a teen, sometimes three or four nights a week, at an LGBTQ-friendly nightclub in downtown Portland, Oregon and Wednesdays were often Drag Night. However, I must say that I do not consider myself an expert in drag. I have dressed in what many people would call drag very few times, unless, that is, all dress is a form of drag. 101  Not as essential truths, but perhaps as valid, legitimate, vibrant, significant, sufficient or useful. 183  Several years ago, I found myself searching to make meaning of my identities as artist and teacher, asking myself how these identities might play out in my move toward become a researcher. Did I have to give up my artistic practice to become an academic? Some colleagues have told me that I would: at most universities. I certainly would not be encouraged to pursue my creative work, especially if it was seen to be in competition with my perceived scholarly work. The borders between art and research seemed to be as clear to some as the borders between male and female, or femininity and masculinity. For me, arts-based research methodologies, specifically a/r/tography with its emphasis on border dwelling and boundary rupturing, presented a space of possibility. This was a hope that my identities as artist and teacher might not just be allowed to exist but, in a relational manner, be coterminous while simultaneously complementary. Art for me, is a method to living, it gives my life meaning. It is a way to make sense of my endless list of (ab)normalities, to value ambiguity and the in between spaces.102 Judith Butler’s writing has been criticized for its difficulty and its ambiguity of meaning. I am sympathetic to her response of these criticisms. Regarding her writing, Butler (cited in Salih & Butler, 2004) states in the following passage: There’s something in the life of the sentence that’s become new or odd or estranging in some fundamental way—and I went for that. I was very much seduced by what I think was a high modernist notion that some newness of the world was going to be opened up through messing with grammar as it has been received. What concerns me is that this impulse— which I consider to be important to critical thinking and to an openness to what is new—has been disparaged by those who believe that we have a certain responsibility to write not only in an accessible way, but within the terms of already accepted grammar. What concerns me is that the critical relation to ordinary grammar has been lost in this call for radical accessibility. It’s not that I’m in favor of difficulty for difficulty’s sake; 102  See A/r/tography as a Pedagogical Strategy and Frameworks Within Frames of Divergence. 184  it’s that I think there is a lot in ordinary language and in received grammar that constrains our thinking—indeed, about what a person is, what a subject is, what gender is, what sexuality is, what politics can be—and that I’m not sure we’re going to be able to struggle effectively against those constraints or work within them in a productive way unless we see the ways in which grammar is both producing and constraining our sense of what the world is. (pp. 327-328) As I attempt to interpret the data within A Study of Dress Through Artistic Inquiry, I ask myself, what is the grammar that is both producing and constraining my sense of the world? What is the constraining grammar of artist, researcher, and teacher; and, what is the constraining grammar of curriculum?  Figure 7.4 B. F. Larsen Gallery in the Harris Fine Arts Center displaying the binoculars as part of the installation “High Art.” Messing with Grammar as it Is Received In a current student-curated exhibition entitled High Art (Fig. 7.4), works of art were created and displayed high above a two-story gallery space. Upon entering the gallery space, viewers are first confronted by a sculptural display of mounted binoculars and a placard on a pedestal. The binoculars are fixed so that no vertical movement is possible, only horizontal. The viewer approaches the artifacts through binary vision. 185  Figure 7.5 Alternate view of “High Art.” I teach aesthetics, criticism, technology, and curriculum and instruction courses as an instructor at Brigham Young University, where this exhibition took place. I believe art can be conceptualized as a variable method of knowing that challenges fixed notions of knowledge.103 I seek the work of scholars who encourage artistic ways of knowing and who engage with art as an alternative to naturalized knowledge. However, art, like language and curriculum, is not immune to the commonsensical,104 to standardization, the linear, and the hierarchical (Fig. 7.6). I believe that art, broadly defined or relationally defined through redescription, can and should be a place of possibility, risk-taking and is able to encourage (re)imaginings. Artistic inquiry can suggest this place where there are no right or wrong answers, a place of potentiality, a place and moment that shakes and de/constructs. As discussed and demonstrated in this dissertation, art can invite 103  See Sartorial Artistic Inquiry. See A/r/tography as a Pedagogical Strategy for references to Kevin Kumashiro (2004) in my discussion on the a/r/tographic rendering openings. 104  186  imaginative moments through not knowing: ambiguity is not seen as failure but as generative, and where problem posing is as valued as problem solving. But this appreciative rhetoric can be dangerous in that art is also able to perpetuate stereotypes, setting limits as to who can and cannot create, who can and cannot view or participate, and what constitutes real art as opposed to the art(ificial). Notwithstanding the gap between school art and contemporary art (Wilson, 2003) in what is known by some as The Art World, art can be and is oppressive in many ways and contexts, just as curriculum can be oppressive.  Figure 7.6 Binocular view of “High Art.”  Dragging Myself Through the Mud As both an undergraduate and as a master’s student, I was taught Discipline-based Art Education (DBAE). I understand why it was introduced and I see the benefits of the approach, but several troubling spots are what concern me now as I am perpetually  187  un/doing my art education.105 Is it time for a metaphoric redescription of the grammar of art education as Rorty (cited in Allen, 2003) suggests, in order to move toward or perhaps even see another path? In DBAE curricular theory, the disciplines of Aesthetics, Art History, Art Criticism, and Studio Art become fixed—frozen in time and place. Teachers receive their degrees and certifications as a sign of completion, a vote of standardized acceptance. They are literally and metaphorically done; they are finished with their programs and often done with learning how to be(come) a teacher. The paradigm of DBAE, now hiding under the guise of Comprehensive Art Education (Hurwitz & Day, 2007), tacitly maintains that teachers are transmitters of the fixed—at the moment it is absorbed— knowledge created in these disciplines by an expert or group of Others. Curiously and ironically, an area of study called visual culture106 has recently been added to the accepted bodies of knowledge from which a teacher can plan a comprehensive art education curriculum (Hurwitz & Day, 2007). As I review curriculum documents and attend presentations that purport to address visual culture as a domain of inquiry, visual culture seems to be taken up as appreciative content rather than as a critical method for unsettling norms and standards. Perhaps the criticality of visual culture, as a discourse in 105  This attitude is one that requires a constant state of becoming. The notion of constantly becoming artist, researcher, and teacher/learner is a key understanding in this study. For example, students do not necessarily become artists once they take a class, master certain skills, graduate with a specific degree, or show in a particular venue, but the definition of artist shifts in various contexts and is sought in relation to many discourses. 106 The definition of visual culture in art education is quite varied. However, Paul Duncum (2001) and others (Anderson, 2003; Darts, 2004; Freedman, 2003; jagodzinski, 2001; Tavin, 2005b), acknowledge its genealogy from cultural studies, critical theory, and social theory. Others (Hurwitz & Day, 2007; Hurwitz, Madeja, & Katter, 2003) understand visual culture as content from popular culture to be appreciated like institutionalized art has been in art curricula plans. 188  art education but arising from cultural studies and critical theory, has been silenced through its mainstream acceptance and definition. Perhaps it is time for a metaphoric redescription of visual culture. Dragnet107 In March of 2007, just a few weeks after Dr. Grumet’s lecture, Alexander, a fifteen-year-old secondary student, heard that I would be coming to his school to invite the students to participate in a project merging art and clothing.108 Even though he was not enrolled in the class during the period in which I would be available, he asked if he could participate. Alexander made the necessary arrangements with his teachers and became a research participant in A Study of Dress. He said that sewing was his passion but he liked the art teacher better than his sewing teacher, because Skadi “allows me to be creative.” Alexander had a clear vision but was influenced by unexpected media, processes, and social interactions. And, as I would come to understand, that he was inspired by drag. In the following sections, I will disclose several drag metaphors that have surfaced in my inquiry into artist, researcher, and teacher identities in A Study of Dress (see Fig. 7.7).  107  Dragnet is used here to mean a search for someone or something. Please refer to the chapter entitled Outlining the Study where I discuss the processes involved in participating in this study. 108  189  Figure 7.7 Alexander preparing the models for his photo shoot. Drag Racing109 The type of research that I proposed was new to me. It was a meandering and a negotiation between the identities of artist, researcher, and teacher/learner; the primary identities that I was attempting to scrutinize. I anticipated working with about six student researchers, not expecting that the inquiry of dress within a general art class would interest so many students. Skadi was highly competent in general art content, having taught at both the elementary level and at a highly regarded art university. However, I was curious to note the moments of resistance as Skadi and I attempted to set up specific conditions of emergence and a/r/tographic inquiry. For instance, Skadi, while recognizing Alexander’s creativity, divulged not knowing what to do with him in an art class. She 109  A drag race is a short-distance race to test acceleration. 190  states that before participating in A Study of Dress, “I just let him do his own thing, while everyone else does the art assignment.” This study was a test for its participants, including me, to push boundaries and check limits. In this study as drag racing, we didn’t know what would fail, succeed, or divert us off course. Skadi’s resistances110 were familiar to me and similar to the resistances that I had experienced for eleven years as a classroom teacher. As a secondary teacher, moments of not knowing, or the as-yet-unknown, were moments of resistance that were to be filled with the known, patched with time-tested solutions, and mended with explanations. I am not exempt from these moments of not knowing today. Not knowing is troubling, albeit a place of generative possibility. Fortunately, the student participants showed trust in each other, they were enthusiastic, and Skadi, however great her dis/comfort in un/doing a planned curriculum, moved forward in her commitment to the study.  Figure 7.8 Koichi describes his influences as clothing, amoebas, biology, Picasso, poetry, and paint.  110  I do not mean that we argued in this resistance, nor do I envision resistance as something to be entirely avoided. Skadi resisted certain moments of not knowing, for example, when a student would express, “I don’t know what to do,” or when a student seemed to be disengaged. 191  As already explained, the student participants in A Study of Dress were invited to respond artistically to dress. They could use whatever skills, techniques, processes, and media they could imagine or access—including past skills, techniques, processes, and media that these participants had practiced in or outside of their formal art training (Fig. 7.8). I anticipated that the students might feel as though they were be able to draw only from what they were taught previously in their art classes. Because I did not want the participants to be limited in reproducing normalized school practices, I felt that some un/doing through reverberating concepts was necessary to create an opening in the curriculum. What did we already know but could not access and what could we imagine if our knowing was (un)done? We discussed our interests and what we thought were our skills; I shared hundreds of images of artists responding to concepts of dress in diverse styles and techniques during the recruitment phase of this study; and later, the student participants brought in and exchanged their own examples and experiences with each other. A Dragline111 I can’t imagine any teacher advocating for either an inflexibly rigid, step-by-step instruction or an unconcerned free-for-all. Skadi was no exception. In trying an approach in which she redescribed her notions of teacher—not primarily as a transmitter of knowledge—she took a risk of failing in her conception as a teacher. Nevertheless, in this failing, a new notion of teacher became a possibility. In an emotional statement, Skadi shared with her students, “I am learning as much from you as you learn from me, I am amazed.” This was a learning moment for me. Teaching was not a linear sharing or 111  A dragline is a rope that is used for hauling something, but it is also a spider’s safety line and a newly hatched spider’s parachute. 192  passing on, it was an exchange and a dialogue. Skadi’s insight resonated with my understandings of Paolo Freire (2006), Maxine Greene (1995), and Shirley Steinberg and Joe Kincheloe (1998). I was inspired, and I could imagine teaching in a new way. Each research participant responded to dress as he or she saw fit. Most students created many projects, but others created just one piece. One student started many different projects without completing them, but he felt successful in his failures. Some participants worked individually, and some worked in groups. As presented in Frameworks Within Frames of Divergence, one of the unanticipated occurrences in this study was the spontaneous collaborations or self-organizing systems that emerged. Students shared knowledge and created knowledge as they worked independently and collectively, exchanging ideas both tacitly and explicitly. These exchanges did not solely move from student to student or from teacher to student. The Dragonet112 Alexander created an entire collection of over ten pieces in one three-month term. During that time, he also shared his sewing knowledge with other participants who were interested in learning to sew and he collaborated on at least five other projects besides his own. Alexander was working on a dress that was made up entirely of recycled material— such as plastic shopping bags and file folders—but he was having a hard time using traditional sewing techniques with these materials. I was currently working on a piece in which I conceived of a wearable visual journal.113 I used scraps of Tyvek, a synthetic material that is used to wrap houses because of its waterproofing properties (see Fig. 7.9), 112  The male dragonet, a marine fish, is brightly colored but often lies partially hidden in the seabed. 113 The Tyvek wearable sketchbook is also discussed in the chapter entitled, A/r/tography as a Pedagogical Strategy. 193  to design a two-pieced dress for my partner. She drew on the dress as she would a sketchbook. Since Tyvek is paper-like but is difficult to tear, Alexander loved it. He altered his first dress with Tyvek and incorporated it into all of his subsequent work in the study. Unintentionally, my artistic practice informed Alexander’s practice, but I would soon learn that his inquiry would inform my own.  Figure 7.9 Tyvek is a common building material that acts as a breathable vapor barrier. It is made from 30% post-consumer material and can be recycled. Discarded sheets of Tyvek can often be found in construction dumpsters. Alexander designed all of his own dresses, creating all of the patterns by hand, but he asked another research participant, Puck, if he would decorate them with graffiti. I was curious as to how Alexander and Puck collaborated, so I asked Alexander if they were friends before the project. I had assumed they were, but Alexander relayed the following in an unstructured interview: [Puck] is okay. I never really actually talked to him before. It was really weird, because I never would have associated with him. He is like a druggy and I’m not. I’m totally a flaming queen and he’s a shy person. He came to me while I was waiting for a bus at a bus stop.  194  Alexander goes on to share how Puck stands up to a bully and then asks for Alexander’s help in making a jacket. Earlier Alexander expressed interest in Puck’s tags (see Fig. 7.10) during art class. Alexander explains: Puck started [tagging some paper] and I was like, if you are spending so much time writing on people’s paper that you are going to throw away anyway, why don’t you just write on my dresses? And he’s like, ‘yeah.’ And then he did one and then I shoved two [more] dresses [at him] and then [five more]. I asked if Puck was okay with that. Alexander said: Yeah, because I bought all of the spray paint and he loves to spray paint. He enjoyed it and everything. But it was surprising because he told me that he actually never worked as hard on anything as he did on this job with these dresses. I asked Alexander what inspired his project and he said, “Drag.” Alexander’s inspiration and personal inquiry of dress through drag created an opening that I was unprepared for at the time. I didn’t seem to understand his concepts of drag, but I was soon to be guided.  Figure 7.10 Puck’s designs on one of Alexander’s Tyvek dresses.  195  Dragoman114 Alexander describes himself as a “flaming queen” but I wouldn’t consider him a drag queen. Alexander, however, exhibited his dresses on models using the costume makeup typically used by drag queens. For example, he used wax to cover eyebrows; intense colors on the eyelids, cheeks, and lips; thick eyeliner and mascara; and even a pale foundational base in the styling of his models. However, I was surprised that Christina Aguilera was also named as one of his primary muses, and he selected only female models for his creations. For clarification, I presented the following prompts: (1) Alexander, you say that you have never been to a live drag show and yet you are inspired by drag? (2) Another inspiration is Christina Aguilera? (My thoughts were that she is not typically considered a drag queen.) (3) Your models are all female? Alexander replied: (1) The Internet is my live drag show. Pictures are gold. (2) I just love Christina ‘cause she is so, “I do what I want and wear what I want.” (3) In my mind my ideal women are drag queens. I mean drag queens are better at being women than women themselves. Alexander’s statements are both insightful and, as Grumet described her first encounters with drag, horrifying. Is the school curriculum better than my perception of life itself or are they equally horrifying? I believe these conceptual horrors must be the reverberations discussed by Springgay, Irwin, and Kind (2005).115 Alexander’s interpretations of drag provoked me to think in new ways, but he was not the only one, or way, to unsettle my notions of received language, grammar, curriculum, and identities.  114  A dragoman is an interpreter or guide. Please see A/r/tography as a Pedagogical Strategy for discussion on the a/r/tographic rendering reverberations. 115  196  Figure 7.11 A view from the “Alphabet Show.” The Alphabet Recently, I was invited to be one of twenty-six artists participating in an exhibition entitled The Alphabet Show (see Fig. 7.11). Each artist was given a letter to respond to artistically. I was given the letter zed. I immediately knew I wanted to incorporate a zipper into the piece and I was wondering if I could insert a zipper into double welts. The piece ended up helping me work through concepts of drag. At the photocopy machine at my university, I explained the concept of my zed piece to one of my faculty colleagues and one of my former art history teachers. He reminded me of Barnett Newman’s Zips, a series of color-field paintings with a single vertical line separating two colors on either side, that we had studied when he was my instructor in my master’s program. I remembered Barnett Newman’s work as a precursor to the art movement Minimalism. But I was surprised as I revisited his artwork and his writing while working 197  on my zed piece. His Zips are curiously related to my understanding of a/r/tographic border dwelling. Shiff, Mancusi-Ungaro, and Colsman-Freyberger (2004) relate the following regarding Newman’s Zips: Critics, including Clement Greenberg, often called such a band a line, but Newman preferred not to; rather, it was “a field that brings life to the other fields, just as the other fields bring life to this so-called line.” (p. 45) To Newman, the line or the border, acts to join as much as it separates. His Zips note the “this and that, and more” (Aoki, 2005a, p. 299) as discussed in other chapters of this dissertation.116 Newman describes his work as making itself. He makes a work from which he cannot remove himself, but which makes itself, causing him to see what he is doing (Shiff et al., 2004, p. 44). This is a statement that is perfectly clear to me at certain moments, but at other times its meaning eludes me, like the silhouette of a spinning dancer: is he or she spinning clockwise or counter clockwise, or perhaps it is both and/or neither? However, I believe Newman’s statement is related to Butler’s notion of gender as an improvisation within a scene of constraint and her description of drag. I entitled my zed piece Un/Doing. In its performing, this piece attempts to challenge the binary of doing and undoing. It calls to be simultaneously done and undone. There is something to be un/done; in (un)doing, something is done. There is partiality involved with both the doing and the undoing. And yet, meaning and understandings can be created within that partiality and space of the un/known. The quote by Judith Butler (1990) is partially visible as the zipper is opened (see Fig. 7.2). It reads, “improvisation within a scene of constraint” (p. 1). As discussed throughout this dissertation, but more 116  See Outlining the Study and Frameworks Within Frames of Divergence for further discussion on Aoki’s notion of this and that, and more. 198  intently in Frameworks Within Frames of Divergence, I am drawn to117 the educational theories of Brent Davis and Dennis Sumara (2006). They discuss the concept of constraints that enable. In setting up conditions for possibility and new understandings in a curriculum, do I attend to the constraints that might enable this to occur?  Figure 7.12 One of the many dresses that Alexander created during “A Study of Dress Through Artistic Inquiry.” Alexander asked me to help him prepare a portfolio for college entrance. I recruited Juan Carlos Castro to shoot Alexander’s portfolio pieces.  117  The verb drag comes from Old Norse draga, meaning ‘to draw.’ 199  Artistic inquiry provides insights into curriculum as a simultaneous coming and going, doing and undoing, folding and unfolding. Consider the following passage by art historian Mary Ann Caws (2003) regarding the body of work known as Opens by Robert Motherwell: Motherwell liked to recount how his Opens were initially created by his finding a canvas leaning upon another, and against the wall. How that shape resting on the ground, like a door, was then uplifted to make a window. How that window was, like the French windows of Motherwell’s California home, the passage between home and street, between the private everyday ordinary and the public monumental statement. It is this coming and going that provides the energy for all his work. (p. 161)118 The Drag of/on/in/amidst/through/with Curriculum My assumption is that Doll and Gough (2002) use the curriculum C’s as metaphors that I should perhaps move toward, not just to learn from. In the case of curriculum as drag, I do not think curriculum should necessarily be more like drag. It is a place of possibility, a constraint that enables improvisation, a dance, a new response, and perhaps new visions. In concluding these thoughts, I leave you with this question: Do we think that clothes mask who we truly are? Some would say the opposite, that through dress we make ourselves who we truly are. It is not my intention give the impression that I seek a true and essential self; I present these questions in relation to another possibility. Is it possible that through curriculum we are actualized?119 In an interview, Butler (cited in Salih & Butler, 2004) shared her notions about naturalized truth claims:  118  Motherwell’s recollections, memories and metaphors were missing in the history that I received as an art history student. This new account moves beyond Formalism and connects art with living experiences and deeper meaning. 119 This question relates to understandings of artist, researcher, and teacher/learner identities as interacting inversions. Neither is more or less “true” than the other, but in 200  In Mother Camp: Female Impersonators in America, anthropologist Esther Newton suggests that the structure of impersonation reveals one of the key fabricating mechanisms through which the social construction of gender takes place. I would suggest as well that drag fully subverts the distinction between inner and outer psychic space and effectively mocks both the expressive model of gender and the notion of a true gender identity. Newton writes: At its most complex, [drag] is a double inversion that says, “appearance is an illusion.” Drag says ‘Newton’s curious personification] “my ‘outside’ appearance is feminine, but my essence ‘inside’ [the body] is masculine.” At the same time it symbolizes the opposite inversion; “my appearance ‘outside’ [my body, my gender] is masculine but my essence ‘inside’ [myself] is feminine.” Both claims to truth contradict one another and so displace the entire enactment of gender significations from the discourse of truth and falsity. (p. 111) Some say that life occurs outside of school and that the school curriculum is a preparation for real life. However, what occurs inside of school is both life and constructs beliefs that create the perception of life. The concepts addressed in this chapter open understandings of living, representation, and un/covering, but continue to provoke the following questions: What understandings and possibilities arise from such mashups? What openings are re-created? And, I am curious, what are the closures that appear in such an un/doing?  their performativity they shift and subvert. Therefore, artist, researcher, teacher, and/or learner identities cannot be enacted in terms of truth or falsity. 201  SHOPPLACING: OCCASIONING A PEDAGOGY OF THE POSSIBLE THROUGH ARTISTIC AND SOCIAL NETWORKING PRACTICES How Does My Artistic Practice Relate to My Practices of Teaching, Learning, and A Study of Dress Through Artistic Inquiry? This chapter addresses one of my artistic endeavors, Shopplacing, which began prior to this study and will continue upon its completion. However, understandings intertwine between A Study of Dress Through Artistic Inquiry and Shopplacing that could not have been predicted. Several understandings surface from placing this particular artistic practice contiguous, or adjacent, to this research study. The following sections reaffirm the shifting of teacher identity from one who contains and transmits to one who works in relation with and occasions. Furthermore, I report complex learning systems occur in collectives, whether in online spaces, public spaces, or in the classroom. Potential participants were invited to join a collective in both A Study of Dress and Shopplacing to not to do the same thing or even their own thing, but to work in relation to a concept. Moving beyond the classroom, Shopplacing mirrors key conditions and understandings of this classroom study. Specific collaborative Shopplacing efforts will be highlighted as well as their failings and the reader is asked to relate the understandings surfacing in this chapter to the complex relationships and identities presented in additional chapters in this dissertation. Learner as Capable Art educator Melanie Buffington (2008) identifies the social networking service MySpace as one of several Web 2.0 applications with potential for art education (p. 36). She describes MySpace as an online application that allows users to create a personal  202  website, called a profile, which connects to other profiles. These linked profiles are known as a user’s friends. Buffington, who teaches in a teacher education program, suggests that a student might pose as a historical artist and create a profile as a pedagogical strategy to “consider how an artist would want to represent her/himself online” (p. 39). She states, “creating a MySpace page could become a way to document learning about an artist and her/his ideas” (p. 39). Certainly, Buffington’s strategy is different from the more traditional approach to art history that I am familiar with, that of memorizing reproductions of artistic works along with historical and biographical information. Buffington asks her students to empathetically represent a historical artist by choosing hypothetical MySpace friends, as well as the artist’s supposed favorite music and books. While I applaud the novelty and self-reflection that Buffington’s suggestion invites, I am drawn to the impression that art students and art teachers—as inquirers or learners—should engage in their own artmaking. The bias that I hold toward engaging in art in this way privileges the concept of being and thinking as an artist rather than posing as an artist. It is a subtle but poignant difference in my mind that shifts the long-held notion of learner as apprentice 120 to learner as capable. 121 Shopplacing on MySpace as an A/r/tographic and Complex Learning System I created a MySpace profile called Shopplacing that invited people to participate in an artistic project that allowed them to share and build on one another’s imaginings of 120  From Old French aprentis (from apprendre, “to learn,” from Latin apprehendere, “to apprehend”), with synonyms such as, trainee, beginner, pupil, and student. 121 From the Latin capere, “to take or hold,” with synonyms such as, skilled, adept, talented, able, experienced, and knowledgeable. Or perhaps form able, (from Latin habilis, “handy,” from habere, “to hold”), with synonyms such as, equal to, fit to, qualified to, allowed to, and free to. 203  public art production. Several years ago, I imagined a site where artists who were working with similar interests could share their musings, where they could post comments, responses, understandings, questions, images, and videos. I was also concerned that this space be one in which the public could contribute in a significant way. Shopplacing proved to be a space that allowed for independent work while simultaneously fostering collaboration through unanticipated associations—two ideas that I celebrate in my current notions of good pedagogy. Shopplacing was simultaneously my space (or MySpace) and an occasion for participants to create emergent understandings. Artist and educator Graeme Sullivan (2005) shares his thoughts about arts-based research in a scholarly book entitled Art Practice as Research. Sullivan, a professor at Teacher’s College of Columbia University, presented his newly published work at the National Art Education Association in 2005. He briefly described his own artistic practices, including work he titles, Street Works. The inter/action and inter/play between his scholarly work and his artwork had an impact on the direction of my future research. I was searching for meaning regarding my identities as artist, researcher, and teacher/learner. Although downplaying his own artistic practice, Sullivan intimated that these identities might relate in productive ways. For example, one particular artwork was described as an altered book that was placed in a New York library. Sullivan altered a found book through artistic processes, such as carving, painting, and collage. This transgressive artistic practice, leaving an artifact in the public without monetary compensation, reminded me of the work by the  204  contemporary artist Banksy.122 As I recall the story, Sullivan returned to the library shelf at a later time and found a note that thanked him for leaving the artifact. The person who discovered the work also relayed how he/she would display it in his/her home. I was transfixed by the notion of direct audience feedback. I wondered, how an artist, or more specifically, a street artist, might facilitate the potential for audience feedback. Sullivan’s work created an opening for me. This story reminded me of an earlier idea that I had about creating public works in which viewers could respond and actively participate in a collaborative conversation about art. I imagined a dialogue that could take place outside a museum, gallery, school, or scholarly journal, where the general public could participate. I wondered how an artist could not only receive feedback from the public, but create a space where artists who were working with similar issues could exchange ideas. What I stumbled upon in Shopplacing was a generative prospect for my personal artmaking as well an opening for unexpected collaborative opportunities and pedagogical imaginings. Teaching as Occasioning: Teacher as Someone Who Occasions Learning Possibilities Complexity thinking, as described by educationists/complexivists Brent Davis and Dennis Sumara (2006), has inspired me to ask how this particular endeavor of 122  Several of the student participants were interested in street art and public art. When I brought in a book about Banksy’s work, three of the student inquirers asked if they could borrow it. As a visiting artist and guest researcher, I wondered how Banksy’s work would influence these young participants. These three expressed excitement while viewing the photographs of his work, both while looking in groups and individually. Skadi and I talked later about these usually subdued boys, who were so enthusiastic about this work. We both felt joy when they found an artist who moved them, but we were also worried about how Bansky’s reinterpretations of graffiti, public art, street art, vandalism, marking, and artist would be enacted by these students. This drew our attention toward unsettling our notions of identity definitions as political. For example, the identity terms terrorist, enemy of the state, and friend (as in friendly fire) were brought up in discussions amongst participants during our time in class. 205  Shopplacing relates to pedagogy as occasioning (Davis, 2004, p. 170), a time, and place of possibility. Davis clarifies this notion of teaching as occasioning in the following: In its original sense, occasioning referred to the way that surprising possibilities can arise when things are allowed to fall together. The word is thus useful for foregrounding the participatory and emergent natures of learning engagements as it points to both the deliberate and accidental qualities of teaching. (p. 170) Hence, this chapter presents understandings from a group of participants engaged in what became an informal pedagogical and collaborative arts-based research project called Shopplacing. The social networking service MySpace was used as a space to support the conditions of complexity, a theoretical framework in this study, in order to investigate emergences that might occur in such a space. Emergence has been defined as nonlinear learning—learning that is not directed through top-down hegemony, but is “capable of more flexible, more effective responses to previously unmet circumstances” (Davis & Sumara, 2006, p. 74), as thoroughly discussed in the chapters throughout this dissertation. In constructing this study, therefore, I anticipated the “unfolding of new possibilities for action and interpretation” (Davis & Sumara, 2006, p. 76) to emerge which, in turn, informed and related to the A Study of Dress. Because of the nonlinearity of complexity, I could not predict, only anticipate, in what form these new possibilities would emerge. A/r/tography—sympathetic to complexity thinking as noted in the chapter on complexity, a/r/tography, and pedagogy (see page 127)—is used as the arts-based research methodology in this study due to its simultaneous sensitivities to artistic practices, inquiry, and pedagogy. A/r/tography has been presented as a process of living inquiry by way of weaving artmaking with writing to enhance and challenge meaning (Irwin & de Cosson, 2004). It  206  is a methodology that attends to the identities of artist, researcher, and teacher and the spaces in between these identities (Irwin et al., 2006b; Irwin & de Cosson, 2004; Springgay et al., 2005). However, as a lived practice informed by artistic practice and qualitative research methodologies, each a/r/tographer scrutinizes his or her emergent understandings uniquely (Dias, 2006). A/r/tography is therefore a dynamic methodology that is sensitive to complex behavior and adapts according to lived practices (Gray & Malins, 2004). The purpose of this chapter is to a/r/tographically investigate my artistic practice of Shopplacing, a series of performances where I surreptitiously insert artifacts into places of commerce and document the process photographically, as it relates to pedagogy and complexity thinking (Davis & Sumara, 2006; Davis et al., 2008) and A Study of Dress. Shopplacing also became an invitation for others to participate in similar—yet not prescriptive—investigations. Hence, this project addresses artistic production, inquiry, and pedagogy as relational (Irwin et al., 2006a), where agents collaborate through selfdetermined behavior. The spontaneous collaborations are highlighted in the narratives of Xu, Kayvin, Gu, and Gabe in the chapter entitled A/r/tography as a Pedagogical Strategy, as well as in the collaborations between Alexander and several colleagues in the chapter Un/Doing Curriculum. The Complex Phenomenon of Shopplacing: A Method of Collective Inquiry Davis and Sumara (2006) describe complexity thinking as an attitude toward studying complex phenomenon (pp. 4-5). This is an ongoing arts-based research study involving the construction of a MySpace profile that publicly presents evolving understandings of Shopplacing (see http://www.myspace.com/shopplacing). It  207  concurrently invites individuals and groups of individuals to add their own understandings in response to Shopplacing at this public site for knowledge aggregation and emergent learning to occur. The MySpace profile was designed by attending to certain conditions (Davis & Sumara, 2006; Mennin, 2007) through which a complex learning system—a set of connected individuals whose parts, ideas, experiences, understandings, writings, art works, musings and ties, form a complex whole through which learning occurs—might emerge. MySpace is one of the world’s most frequently used online social networking services (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MySpace) and, as a network of participating agents, exhibits behaviors that are complex. These behaviors, qualities, or properties of complexity (Davis & Sumara, 2006; Holland, 1995; Mennin, 2007; Nicolis & Prigogine, 1989) will be presented as they relate to artistic practice and pedagogy within the project of Shopplacing. At the writing of this chapter, the Shopplacing MySpace profile has over 240 friends—as MySpace designates the nodes, or participating members of the Shopplacing network—engaging in this collaborative project. I have included this chapter within this dissertation for several reasons. In discussing the un/folding of A Study of Dress I found that I would constantly refer to my artistic practices and especially my collaborative activities with Shopplacing. My identities as artist, researcher, and teacher, which of course inform my roles as such in this study, are also challenged and transformed through my engagement with Shopplacing, Finally, my practices and theories have become intertwined to where it is difficult to separate my activities from my beliefs, my research from my art, my teaching from my research, and my art from my teaching.  208  The “Slowness” of Studying Nonlinear Systems Studying the emergence of nonlinear systems requires a certain kind of slowness (Cilliers, 1989), as discussed in Frameworks Within Frames of Divergence: Complexity Thinking, A/r/tography, and Pedagogy (see Forcing the Issue).123 I needed to wait patiently for emergence if I truly desired to study non-hegemonic bottom-up selforganizing behavior. Forcing emergence to occur is not the same as anticipating emergence through attending to conditions of complexity. Skadi and I were committed to a decentralized network and struggled with our habits of top-down directives. Shopplacing acted as a parallel study where my artistic practices informed my teaching and research efforts. Shopplacing reaffirmed the Jenkins et al. (2007) insight that, “Not every member must contribute, but all must believe they are free to contribute when ready and that what they contribute will be appropriately valued” (p. 7). As a participant in Shopplacing, I continued to create my individual projects, working autonomously and then publicly posting my understandings intermittently. This also occurred in Skadi’s classroom where student participants were free to join other collaborators, or to work individually as they felt the need or desire. Skadi asked the students intermittently, as well, to share their work as they desired to receive feedback from the whole group.124  123  This will be reiterated later, but the reader should not take Cillier’s (1998) notion of certain slowness to mean that studying emergence requires a great deal of time. It means emergence cannot be forced or predicted, therefore, requiring patience in its un/folding. A portion of this study took place in a classroom for three months, but it could have gone on longer or it could have been even shorter. The emergent phenomena presented themselves throughout this study and were nested within groups and even in individual participants. This idea of nested phenomena is demonstrated in the practice of Shopplacing where specific individual Shopplacers contain some knowledge of the whole. 124 Many art classes have a formal critique where students are asked to defend their work. These critiques can be structured, as I was trained to do, as a linear process from 209  New Networks are Formed Recursively After a time, participating members of Shopplacing, including myself, started collaborating spontaneously with each other, in similar ways to our study at Himation Secondary. These collaborations became new networks where new possibilities and artistic understandings were formed. Later in this chapter, I will demonstrate a few of these new networks. This study did not track the connections outside of the classroom of Himation Secondary; however, discussion in class, on MySpace, and on Facebook— another popular social networking website—point to continuing practices taken up during A Study of Dress, especially regarding the collaborations of Alexander. Art Education Beyond the Classroom As stated in other chapters, art education scholar Brent Wilson (2003) draws attention to the need for a conceptualization of the art education field that recognizes contemporary art practices. He suggests that what happens most often in the art classroom has little to do with contemporary art theories and practices. Likewise, O Donoghue (2007) calls for research methodologies that are informed by contemporary art practices. An analysis from this a/r/tographic study, informed by complexity theory, offers unique pedagogical and research implications that relate to these conceptualizations. The artistic practice of Shopplacing informed this study in significant ways, analogous to complexity thinking and a/r/tography. This exchange of contemporary art practices, namely art as social engagement, and art classroom pedagogy is key description, analysis, interpretation, and finally judgment. I was worried about how these critiques would play out. Would Skadi assert step-by-step directives during this critique? Skadi and I did not discuss this, but I was impressed that her critiques were more of an invitation to share a student participant’s ideas, understandings, and insights. These were moments of valuing rather than closing evaluation. Peers could ask questions, but the critiques were more celebratory than negative. 210  understanding of this study and is presented in the closing reflections presented in Facing Potentialities. Social Technologies: Weaving Connections I am often blown away by the way life weaves seemingly unrelated strands together into amazing tapestries. I am aware of these connections at some times more than others. One particular connection that further inspired my Shopplacing endeavor was a serendipitous encounter with a video-zine125 in an art bookstore on the campus of a Vancouver art school. The video-zine was on VHS and had a price tag of five dollars. It was entitled, A Bad Hair Day, which I later discovered was created by the artist Meesoo Lee. I was thrilled to find a non-traditional art form having a title relating to styling and dress. I was equally excited to find a video version of a zine since I was discussing the possibility of using zines as a form of artistic production and inquiry in the K-12 classroom with my teacher education students. In my attempt to pay for the zine, the cashier informed me that there was no record of this item in the computer. The price tag was as homemade as the hand-decorated, cheap paper cover encasing the video. I gave the cashier five dollars anyway and walked out with the zine, more inspired than ever to create a space where further interaction between audience and artist could be imagined. Up to this point, much of my previous professional artistic undertakings were created through a commercial lens. In other words, my notion of a professional artist related to the artist’s gallery representation or ability to sell work in a reputable way. My conceptualization of Shopplacing would not include financial dealings; however, it did  125  A video-zine is a video version of a zine, a self-published street magazine made popular by punk rockers in the late 70s and early 80s. Zines are usually thematic and include both literary and illustrative forms of presentation. 211  surface to become a form of self-promotion when I decided to share Shopplacing as one of my art works. Focusing on the interpretative power of the arts, Maxine Greene (1995) argues that creating art helps to construct possible worlds, both individual and shared, which are realized through dialogues and conversations. I began to realize that I was already creating artworks outside of my commercial art practice; sketches, objects, assemblages, crafts and projects. These were activities that I enjoyed, through which I questioned, explored, and/or documented my understandings. I found them valuable exercises. However, even though these artifacts may have had little commercial value, I desired to share my musings, to make them public, and to open them up for conversation. Ruth Oldenziel (1996) reminds us that technologies are not technical, but social, as they are “constituted through their use” (p. 62). She emphasizes that “[u]sers are neither obedient actors nor passive victims, but active participants in the shaping of technologies” (p. 61). She purports this due to the belief that consumers create frames of meaning that are key to a particular technology’s ultimate application (p. 61). I have provided a background as to how I see Shopplacing being initiated; however, Oldenziel suggests that if we truly want to understand a process then it is key to examine inventions at the “trading zone” between the point of production and the point of consumption (p. 62). Therefore, I will now emphasize how I conceive the trading zone between production and consumption of Shopplacing.  212  Collaboration: A Trading Zone Between Production and Consumption Almost immediately after constructing the Shopplacing MySpace profile, I received dozens of friend requests from other MySpace users,126 many of whom consider themselves artists. The Shopplacing profile contains information about my own endeavors as a street artist, along with an invitation for participation in constructing understandings through artistic processes that deal with non-commercial public interchanges and that might relate to pedagogy and research. I posted links to online sources about artistic activities that have influenced my work. Surprisingly, I found that there were many other MySpace profiles that were constructed as artworks. There were also several profiles that attempted to aggregate the knowledge of artists who used MySpace as a form of art. I received comments from musicians who were inspired to Shopplace their music on CDs as a form of generosity—but also as a form of guerilla marketing. Others shared how their work related to my own. However, a significant aspect—that of collaboration and clusters—emerged in this a/r/tographic conceptualization, which corresponds to A Study of Dress as previously stated. However, the following paragraphs draw attention to some of the collaborations that emerged through the artistic practice of Shopplacing. Juan Carlos Castro Due to the format of MySpace, I wanted to be able to upload images of not only my artifacts and the location of their placement, but I also wanted to show the process of their making. I felt that I needed to collaborate with someone who could document the 126  To my surprise, many of the student participants in A Study of Dress requested friendship on MySpace and Facebook. This was an unanticipated insight in the appropriateness of sharing stories, interviewing, and voicing within a research context that I was originally unprepared to investigate. 213  making and placement of each artifact. I invited a fellow PhD student, Juan Carlos Castro, to participate in this artistic problem. Through collaborating with Juan, my understandings of Shopplacing began to swiftly connect with my notions of complexity thinking, and later, these understandings of artistic practice informed A Study of Dress. I was aware that Shopplacing on MySpace was an a/r/tographic inquiry that was highly relational, that was related to educational complexity in demonstrations of redundancy and diversity. But, in an unanticipated insight, it also became a crucial example in self-organization of nested or clustered nodes, where strong and weak links are created (see Barabási, 2003; Davis & Sumara, 2006; Streatfield, 2001; Strogatz, 2003). This insight has helped greatly in the analysis in A Study of Dress. Juan was to do more than simply point the camera at me as I created artifacts and placed them in public and commercial locales. During this period, he learned how to use a newly acquired professional-quality video camera and video editing software. He shared his discoveries with me as we began working together on a variety of artistic, research and teaching/learning projects. One of my newly acquired MySpace friends was an alternative gallery space originating in London called The Wait Gallery. The Wait Gallery, as the title suggests, concentrates his or her artistic inquiry on the concept of waiting. Participants are invited to send in artistic stories, photographs, and videos related to concepts of waiting. The Wait Gallery contacted me, as Shopplacing, and suggested that I participate in an art show that was curated by The Wait Gallery. I asked Juan if he would like to collaborate with me, and Waiting for the Tide became our first Shopplacing collaboration. The Wait  214  Gallery has posted Waiting for the Tide for over a year on its MySpace page (see Fig. 8.1).  Figure 8.1 This is a screen shot of The Wait Gallery’s MySpace page that links to a Shopplacing video create by Juan Carlos Castro, Aileen Pugliese Castro, and me called, “Waiting for the Tide.” At the time of this publication, Juan and I continue to collaborate on art projects as well as scholarly collaborations. We have created four collaborative videos for Shopplacing to date, one other video, and presented several papers at various conferences. While Juan and I did not meet originally through Shopplacing, the engagement and interaction with this artistic project has encouraged me in my individual work as artist, researcher, and teacher. This also highlights the assertion I present in the introduction of this dissertation that research is always entered into somewhere in the middle. I suspect Juan would express similar sentiments about our collaborations. 215  Additionally, Alexander petitioned me to find a photographer who would create a professional portfolio of his work. I recruited Juan to photograph Alexander’s work for college admission as an act of reciprocity. Alexander received a scholarship to the college where he now attends. The collaborations in which Juan and I engaged increased both of our knowledge and understandings, although neither of us can say that we would be able to separate these complex understandings out, disentangling them as independent contributions. Neither of us has a specified role and explicit agenda when we work together—except for working relationally to a theme, such as Shopplacing. I imagine that our diverse and individual understandings are transformed/transforming as we work together much as was done in the collaborative structures in A Study of Dress.  Figure 8.2 This is a screen shot from Shopplacing’s MySpace page showing The Hair PUddle’s notification that his CD was in the mail.  216  Hair PUddle Hair PUddle, another Shopplacing friend, selects MySpace friends and offers them a CD of his music.127 Hair PUddle’s profile states, “The Hair PUddle is a project dedicated to making FREE art and music.” Above his artist’s statement, which describes his intentions for this project, appears an image of the CD Hair PUddle created for Shopplacing (see Fig. 8.2). In one of our conversions via MySpace mail, Shopplacing tells Hair PUddle about his hesitancy to trust something that is offered as free. The myth that is often heard is, “nothing is truly free, there is always a price.” Whether that price is adware that might be downloaded to one’s computer, or the price of a mailing list reference, one might never know. Hair PUddle published his intentions, as well as his thrill that he has encouraged someone to reflect and question certain notions of trust. He states the following: The Hair PUddle is a project based on questioning the culture industry’s domination over how we experience art and music. Through the dedication of creatorless, free art it is the hope of its overseer that one or two people may question the process by which cultural experiences are funneled into his or her psyche. The Hair PUddle is also intended to be fun—if this project’s only achievement is to place some smiles on some faces, it will not be considered a failure, but a vast success. A[n] unintended byproduct of Hair PUddle is that it has pushed some CD recipients into questioning their level of trust regarding other humans; the project’s overseer is thrilled at this accidental occurrence, but will not take credit as its originator. (downloaded from http://www.myspace.com/thehairpuddle on 24 November 2008) Hair PUddle’s main purposes were to focus his efforts on giving away his art and music for free as an act of generosity and “place some smiles on some faces.” However, he is also reflectively aware of certain cultural politics that he is attempting to challenge in this  127  I use the masculine pronoun because Hair PUddle signs his messages to Shopplacing as Mr. Hair PUddle. 217  project—even though he does not exactly know how this will take place. This Instrumentalist128 and emergent approach to art resonates with Shopplacing’s intentions of artistic inquiry and pedagogy.  Figure 8.3 These images were posted on Glasshopper’s MySpace page and represent two drawings done in dry erase markers on glass in public places. (Images used with permission of artist). Jess Smiley a.k.a. Glasshopper Jess Smiley, or Glasshopper, as Shopplacing knew him since 2005, has recently changed his profile name and asked that his past and current work be attributed to Jess Smiley, not Glasshopper. Jess Smiley’s playful and unique work caught my attention because of its public, interdisciplinary, and non-commercial nature. I later discovered through our MySpace conversations that Jess Smiley was an illustration and art education 128  Terry Barrett (2000) states, “For instrumentalists, art serves values larger than the aesthetic and issues bigger than art” (p. 148). Art as a social tool can be described through Instrumentalism. 218  undergraduate in the town in Utah to which I would be moving. We discovered that besides sharing similar interests in art as a way to engage with the world, we also shared mutual friends and stomping grounds.  Figure 8.4 Glasshopper drawing in chalk on what he describes as “fresh pavement.” (Image used with permission of artist). Jess Smiley, like Hair PUddle, is a musician as well as a visual artist. However, the contexts in which he shared his visual art were what connected me with him. One of his earlier art endeavors, and I assume this is why he went by the pseudonym Glasshopper, entailed drawing simple cartoons on mirrors and windows in public places (see Fig. 8.3). Unlike much of street graffiti that is created with permanent spray paint, Jess Smiley used dry erase marker to emphasize temporary and playful attributes of his creations. The images were drawn on the surface of the glass, but interacted with the  219  surrounding contexts depending on how the viewer perceived the works. Beyond our Shopplacing link, Jess Smiley has participated in local art exhibitions and rallies that I have helped direct through a community gallery, called Gallery 110.129 Jess Smiley continues to investigate art that explores public contexts (see Fig. 8.4) and requires social interaction for meaning making. His personal exhibitions have invited viewers to draw, through a game of visual telephone; explore take-home souvenir sample drawings; and to sing along during his music performances. His physical exhibitions substantiate his work on the MySpace profile. There, he has games in which his MySpace friends can win one of his drawings. One such game encourages his friends to get to know other Jess Smiley friends. In a recent contest, Jess Smiley selected some of his friends and posted them as his Top Friends.130 He posted a MySpace blog about the contest asking friends to guess what these Top Friends had in common and the winner would receive one of his drawings. I did not win the competition; however, I thought it was an interesting exercise in meeting profiles. Ashley Christensen and Gallery 110 Another connection from Gallery 110 entails one of my former high school students. Ashley entered my Advanced Placement Studio Art course while in high school without any previous art training. The following year she received a very competitive painting scholarship to the University where I now teach. Besides painting, Ashley has 129  Gallery 110 is located in Provo, Utah, and is seeking non-profit status. It was set up as a community gallery to provide artistic opportunities for under-served populations. I currently serve on the board as a creative and educational consultant. While we have some curious similarities and connections, we work independently. Although, we have both discussed how our conversational interactions—as feedback—have transformed our work and understandings as artists. 130 MySpace allows users to create a list of favorite friends. These are displayed, along with the profile avatars of each friend, on the user’s home profile page. 220  been an advocate of social justice issues in this community, currently acting as CoDirector of Gallery 110. She has relayed to me that Shopplacing has encouraged her to think about the educational and social aspects in her work. Her most recent artistic project, Grow, combines her connections to Gallery 110, with her community-based interests.  Figure 8.5 Ashley is shown above putting up her project “Grow.” (Images used with permission of artist). 221  Ashley, sensitive to community issues, describes how she felt disconnected to the people in her neighborhood. She imagined art as a way to investigate this disconnect, and as a possible method through which understandings might be made to mediate this issue. After some discussion with her friends and colleagues, Ashley decided to combine several interests and activities, such as guerrilla gardening, public artmaking, and social interaction, in one piece (Fig. 8.5). Grow took root in her neighborhood, where she installed a broadside with an artist’s statement that described the project and invited the community to participate and to interact. The work consisted of dozens of small packages of wildflower seeds created by sewing discarded card catalog files into envelopes. These seed packs were taped to a brick wall in her neighborhood that was adjacent to a small park. The envelopes spelled out the letters G-R-O-W five feet wide. Community passersby were invited to take a seed pack. Under each pack was placed a blank piece of card where participants could respond to Grow, describing what they were planning on doing with the seeds. An unanticipated occurrence happened while Ashley installed Grow for the first time. She met her neighbors and they met each other. Relationships grew. While installing the piece, a few neighbors came out of their houses to see what was happening in their backyards. She explained the project and more and more people from the area started helping her put up her seed packages. Many people offered to help plant the seeds as well. Ashley relayed that many of the area residents had not formally met the people in their neighborhood. This was an occasioning of community. Curiously, a police officer stopped by and interrogated Ashley and her neighborhood assistants while they were working and getting to know each other. The neighborhood residents rallied around her  222  and described the endeavor to the police officer. Ashley’s Facebook page shows photos of the event with a caption that reads, “Yes… as it turns out, they’re just taping seeds to the wall. Yes, wildflower seeds.” Art and Research as Activism An important aspect to both art and research is to present the product to the public for scrutiny, feedback, and meaning making. Institutionalists define art as those works that have been selected to be presented in certain galleries and museums throughout the world. To some, this select group of connoisseurs who determine this Art, the prestigious venues, and the artists who create the works, make up the entire art world. Of course, there are multiple art worlds, which include multicultural works of art, popular arts, and the unrecognized and marginalized (Chalmers, 2001). Likewise, I wonder, as an artistresearcher, if there are those that believe only a select group should be allowed to choose certain research and knowledge. Is there an institutionalization of research and knowledge? Most certainly there is. There are also those who acknowledge multiple research worlds and alternative forms of knowing. These alternative ways of knowing include artistic, poetic, and complex ways, but others, including the somatic and indigenous ways of knowing, are also possible. This dissertation acts to reverberate between the spaces of these ways of knowing. It is a form of activism, its form provoking possibilities of change. Collaboration and Complexity The collaborative engagements have also occurred in A Study of Dress Through Artistic Inquiry. I have noticed that each collaboration is unique, although the various collaborations could be grouped into types. Some collaborative efforts in both projects,  223  Shopplacing and A Study of Dress, had agents who were more active in their participation than others; some collaborations exhibited more of a distributed power relationship; and other exchanges acted as catalysts or springboards that created a place for generative ideas through feedback. I wonder if any of these collaborations were really more onesided than I might have the ability to perceive. I have questioned the collaborations discussed by some artists in the past. Some artists will use the skills or political sentimentalities of a specific group of people for their own ends. Collaborations where each participant is not recognized have always bothered me. Therefore, the classroom teacher also made sure that Alexander, as described in Un/Doing, did not take credit for all of his work without recognizing the input and assistance from his collaborators. He would have not recognized these collaborations publicly without her insistence. But it was a learning moment that disrupted the myth that artists work in their studios without outside interference corrupting their personal, non-collectively-created creativity. Complexity theory has me reasoning that these collaborations are self-organizing systems that emerged because they were allowed to emerge. In each study, individuals worked independently, without a determined outcome, on a common interest. The common interests within a setting, school classroom or MySpace, allowed for additional redundancy to create a robust system. There seemed to be, however, some key agents in each system. Alexander and Skadi were key in the classroom, just as I was key, along with Juan Carlos Castro, in Shopplacing. Each agent also had a way to communicate and interact with others in the system. Furthermore, as Jenkins et al. (2007) have stated, all participants need to feel that they can interact when they need or desire to and not that they must or are forced to interact. Curiously, this is what occurred in both A Study of  224  Dress and Shopplacing, participants shared their diverse and individual understandings when and where they saw fit. The external motivations for Shopplacing were to create understandings, to scrutinize my work and ideas further, and to expand the exposure of my concepts. Shopplacing has done this, but has also created opportunities for unanticipated connections, collaborations, and feedback. As a teacher, I remember that I wanted each student to participate on a somewhat equal level. Although she expressed concern that some students were slow in getting started with production, Skadi did not seem bothered that some students were more visibly active within the classroom than others. Each student was allowed to participate as he or she desired. Grades were never mentioned as an external motivation. The only external motivations that were used by the teacher were (1) the mention of the end of the year art exhibit and (2) helping me with my academic research because I was helping them with their artistic research. The latter was expressed to the class more than once, which made me somewhat embarrassed each time, but was done, according to the classroom teacher, to thank me for sharing my time, resources, and expertise. Students and their teacher did not need to do this; I was benefiting from their participation in the study. Of course, I felt lucky to be able to participate in a study that interested me on various levels in art, research, and teaching/learning. Her decision to support her students in whatever responsibility or interest they exhibited in this project was a key insight into complex interactions, one that I have trouble occasioning in my own classrooms. Shopplacing has received equally surprising praises for sharing something through which I benefit. While Shopplacing started as an experiment investigating art and  225  education as a generous act, it has become a rich process through which conversation, collaboration, and understandings have emerged. It is an artwork that has given back to me as an artist in ways beyond financial rewards. I imagine research and teaching working similarly. When asked if I am an artist, I can justify my affirmative answer by listing the galleries that show my work and through the sales of my work. Shopplacing does not provide either of these standard affirmations. Unpredictably, however, certain artists and scholars have celebrated it as I began to present it at various universities and art schools. The work of a researcher, I am finding, can be financially driven in the case of grants and endowments, but is also celebrated on its ability to be published in wellrespected journals. People ask me frequently if I am an artist. They want to know about my work and my description of it. If asked if I am a researcher—curiously nobody has ever asked this—I imagine myself thinking about where my research is exhibited, but also what understandings and connections are opened because of my work. Collaborative Failings One of my prior high school students, who is now a professional photographer, joined Shopplacing. He asked if I was aware of another artist, Ryan Watkins-Hughes, who worked on a project entitled, Shopdropping. Shopdropping is explained by WatkinHughs (as cited in C100, 2006) in the following: Shopdropping is an ongoing project in which I change the packaging of canned goods and then “shopdrop” the items back onto grocery store shelves. I replace the packaging with labels created using my photographs. The “shopdropped” works act as a series of art objects that people can purchase from the grocery store. Because the barcodes and price tags are left intact purchasing the cans before they are discovered and removed is possible. In one instance a store employee even restocked the cans to a new aisle based on the barcode information. Shopdropping strives to take back a share of the visual space we encounter on a daily basis. Similar to the way “street art” takes a claim to public space for self expression,  226  Shopdropping subverts commercial space for artistic use. The photographs act as a visual journal of my travels over the past few years. Displayed in nonlinear combinations the images remix the traditional narrative of the passing of time. The vibrant individuality of each image is a stark contrast to the repetitive, functional, package design that is replaced. (p. 39) I was astonished that an artist was not only working in a similar genre, with similar concepts and processes, but that the names of our projects were also related. I contacted Ryan, describing my Shopplacing project, and expressed my interest in a possible collaboration. I have not heard back from him, but what I construe as a lack of interest in collaborating, might be something entirely different. I am curious to make meaning from the collaborations that took place in A Study of Dress, as well as from those that did not. However, the failures are more difficult to un/fold because of lack of accessibility to data (see Fig. 8.6).  Figure 8.6 One of the research participants created a hidden place in a shoe to stash things he did not want others to find. This student did not want to be identified as we discussed his drug use, but he allowed me to document this alteration he made to his clothing.  227  Dialogic Collaboration As noted, Alexander, a grade-11 student, seemed to make the most collaborative connections in A Study of Dress.131 He also presented the most work at the end of the project and demanded the most time and resources from the classroom teacher and myself. However, the connections that were made involving Alexander tended to be efforts that mutually benefited the collaborators. For example, while he demanded much time from his classroom teacher, she benefited from the showing of his work at the end of the year. They had lengthy conversations about what the show could look like, how much time Alexander could take, what he could wear (a corset, for example was not acceptable to Skadi), and who he had to publicly recognize as instrumental to his body of work.132 I helped Alexander find materials for his creations, helped cut out his patterns, and provided him with a photographer. Alexander provided me with hours of interviews and sewing tips. Alexander’s peers proffered from his math and sewing expertise, while he gained their networked associations, drawing and painting abilities, and help in assembling hundreds of flowers made from recycled grocery bags. Finally, through this informal study I am coming to know more about how social networking might relate to secondary education. The network models that I have seen presented emphasize distributed attributes of complex systems and the links with both weak and strong bonds.  131  A later study would benefit from a more in depth analysis of complex structures, including the connectors, nodes, and hubs where significant exchanges were made in the collective. 132 The reader is reminded that Skadi insisted that Alexander acknowledge his collaborators publicly at the end of the year exhibition show. 228  Figure 8.7 One of Alexander’s dresses that was decorated with Puck’s graffiti painting. The collaborative work that seems to have emerged in Shopplacing and also in A Study of Dress is not only planar but also contextual in time and space. Agents are simultaneously actively present and latently waiting in multiple clusters or nodes. For example, in my role as an artist-in-residence in A Study of Dress, I formed collaborations with certain groups of students who were interested in learning specific artistic processes and techniques. In my researcher role, however, I am aware that I formed collaborations with particular individuals and groups. I am simultaneously part of several nested systems within the whole learning system that I frame as my research site. Of course, the whole in this case, is only a portion of a greater whole. Each system was similar, but distinct; and, participants who worked in several different groups seemed to perform differently within each of the interacting groups. Shopplacing has emphasized that  229  particular understanding, where participants overlap in context and are sometimes even unaware of their larger links and influence. Finally, the latent possibilities of connection, collaboration, and understanding surface, in part, because of the ways of knowing that have been accessed, which include artistic, qualitative, co-constructed, and complexity thinking as described here. However, I am aware that publicly sharing one’s thinking reverberates openings to additional ways of knowing that un/fold the partialities of one’s engagements.  230  ADDRESSING MYSELF ELSEWHERE: THE IMPACT OF BECOMING UN/DONE The Anguish of Becoming Un/Done Perhaps most importantly, we must recognize that ethics requires us to risk ourselves precisely at moments of unknowingness, when what forms us diverges from what lies before us, when our willingness to become undone in relation to others constitutes our chance of becoming human. To be undone by another is a primary necessity, an anguish, to be sure, but also a chance—to be addressed, claimed, bound to what is not me, but also be moved, to be prompted to act, to address myself elsewhere, and so to vacate the self-sufficient “I” as a kind of possession. If we speak and try to give an account from this place, we will not be irresponsible, or, if we are, we will surely be forgiven. (Butler, 2005, p. 136) Although I consider myself somewhat of a critical pedagogue with a tendency toward interrupting, deconstructing, and interrogating, I cannot escape my pragmatist tendencies for improvement along with my complexivist attitude toward vibrant sufficiency133 (Davis, Sumara, & Luce-Kapler, 2008). Even while I am wary of canonized best practices based on specific quantitative and qualitative research studies, I seek improvement in my practices as artist, researcher, and teacher. Perhaps it is due to my upbringing that haunts my conscience, especially in my role as teacher, that I find it difficult not to seek practices or philosophies that enhance, as Rorty (1999) argues, “our ability to trust and to cooperate with other people, and in particular to work together so as to improve the future” (p. xiii). This chapter is an attempt at opening the “I” by addressing myself elsewhere. It is a performance of un/doing (see Fig. 9.1). This of course, as Butler has pointed out in the paragraph above, is a place of anguish and a place of chance. It is risky, or, as I have stated in other chapters, it is a space134 of possibility.  133  Davis, Sumara, and Luce-Kapler (2008) juxtapose vibrancy, a shaking to and fro of energy and enthusiasm, and sufficiency, the condition or quality that works in a context, in contrast to goal-oriented efficiency and optimization. 134 Space can be defined as an expanse that is free, available, and unoccupied. 231  Figure 9.1 I am shown interacting with “Un/Doing”(right) and reading the embroidered quote (the detail is shown at left). This chapter will respond to Butler’s (2005) notions of a relational “I” and giving an account for oneself. To become un/done is an opening and a space of possibility, but the Butlerian anguish must also lie in the paradox that criticality is a constant unsettling through which possibilities flow. Davis (2004) explains in the following: There is an irony with critical education discourses. For the same reason that postructuralist discourses can never be the dominant voices in academia, critical education attitudes can never prevail in schools. They are concerned with interrupting the status quo, [with a danger of becoming the status quo if they are not constantly on the move] with deconstructing the structures of dominance—always interrogating how we might limit or be limited, disenfranchise or be disenfranchised by habits of action and interpretation. Such habits are moving targets, and pedagogy that is critical must move with them. It can never fall into a naive belief that it has succeeded in its goals. (p. 144) The anguish here is that I will never be complete or finished, but in that anguish, there is simultaneous hope in vibrant sufficiency.  232  A Chance To Become Un/Done—To Be Addressed, Claimed, Bound to What Is Not Me Butler (2005) claims that giving an account of oneself is not the same as telling a story about oneself (p. 12). Although giving an account takes on a narrative form, it also “depends upon the ability to relay a set of sequential events with plausible transitions but also draws upon narrative voice and authority, being directed toward an audience with the aim of persuasion” (p. 12). This, of course, is the norm that academics look for in an account; however, is “the aim of persuasion” a necessary aspect of giving an account of oneself? Butler herself agrees that even “the ‘I’ has no story of its own that is not also the story of a relation—or set of relations—to a set of norms” (p. 8). To be addressed by, claimed, and bound to what is not me, if indeed the “I” is always already relational, would entail a dispossessing of the “I” in some manner.  Figure 9.2 This is an embellishment that Skadi created and added to a shirt that she and another artist created for me when I completed “A Study of Dress.”  233  Butler (2005) claims, “[t]he ‘I’ is always to some extent dispossessed by the social conditions [or the scene of constraint] of its emergence” (p. 8). If this is so, then the chance to be addressed by, claimed, and bound to what is not me, requires a narration of the social conditions complicit in the possession of the “I.” This is a conundrum, for it is an impossibility to know all of these conditions (Butler, 2005; Davis, 2004). Regardless of the impossibility of not knowing the whole, it has indeed been an aim throughout this dissertation to relay a set of events that “draws upon narrative voice and authority, being directed toward an audience with the aim of persuasion” (Butler, 2005, p. 12) and to acknowledge the partiality of my account. However, through reflexivity I ask, what is the aim of persuasion toward which I am directing the reader in my giving an account? This study unsettles notions of clarity, linearity, and unwavering and essential identities. I am pointing toward a past, present and future of possibilities, of plural histories, and of representations. I call for a dispossessing of the “I” of the reader, to allow one to be claimed by a relational and contextual not me, a possible “I.” This is indeed a chance of vibrantly sufficient transformation through dis/possession where the not me simultaneously dispossesses and possesses. To Be Moved, Prompted to Act, To Address Myself Elsewhere This dissertation is a re-presentation and a re-description of artist, researcher, and teacher through a relational narrative. Deborah E. Reed-Danahay (1997) suggests that the self and the social are rewritten through autoethnography (p. 4). If this is so, then the potential for transformation and adaptive behavior from this re-presentation and redescription move beyond myself. Certainly, I have been and continue to be a learner and  234  a teacher, as well as an artist. This insider perspective places me in a position of special subjectivity, where I relate to my previous scenes of constraint, or culture, with an assumed authentic voice. Of course, the dichotomy of insider and outsider is a place of contention; however, regardless of the academic culture to which I belong, I am also an artist, teacher, and student with unique perspectives, much like the other participants in this study. I do not think of myself as studying them, since we are all invested—albeit in a variety of ways—in a Study of Dress. This entails a studying with and amidst as discussed in other chapters.  Figure 9.3 Gunnar wears a shirt, collar, and jacket that he and another participant created together during this study. Butler (2005) describes how her colleagues and students influenced her theories in the “Acknowledgements” section of her book, Giving an Account of Oneself. She  235  recognizes the socially constructed knowledge that emerges in relation to her own improvisations, choices, and understandings. Like Butler, my theories have been challenged and debated through my understandings of multiple texts, including the narratives of the research participants in this study, which have been analyzed as texts in relation to my shifting understandings. As a researcher, I am studying the improvisational phenomena within a specific context in relation to plural frameworks of my understanding. I am cautious about speaking for or on behalf of other participating artists, researchers and teacher/learners in this dissertation. Giving an account of myself, however, requires me to situate myself amidst this participatory inquiry. As described in other chapters,135 participants have presented their understandings in divergent ways (Fig. 9.3). This dissertation, which functions in relation to a scene of constraint, has become a venue to share my improvisational, yet relational understandings. Notwithstanding, I am mindful of respecting voice, and I, like Butler, acknowledge that understandings are co-constructed, hence, my frequent use of the word relational. This chapter was to emphasize the dialogues between Skadi and me as we worked, discussed, and shared our transformations and moments of resistances with each other. In this chapter, I would risk speaking my thoughts out loud and share the dangerous spaces of ambiguity, simultaneity, contradiction, and not knowing. However, while these have already been discussed in other chapters; I have recursively risked throughout this re/presentation by writing on the edge of re/cognition.  135  See Student as Arts-based Inquirers. 236  As Butler (2005) suggests, the self is transformed through the social interaction of recognition (p. 28).136 Therefore, could it be that what goes unrecognized provokes no transformation or change in the self? If so, openings137 create places of potential recognition. I am changed through my social interactions, and I assume that social changes are simultaneously evoked through that transformation. It can also be argued through a conversation in interobjectivity (see Davis & Sumara, 2006) that since I am a part of the social and I have transformed, social change has occurred. Pedagogically, Skadi and her students transformed my thinking, my artwork, and the direction of this study as much as I transformed their thinking and actions. However, I am assuming the extent of such only as much as the process of recognition where I “cease to be able to return to what I was” (Butler, 2005, p. 27). I would be remiss if I did not also address the concept of interobjectivity as presented by Davis and Sumara (2006) because of their particular understanding of transformation as provoked through naturalized practices of “observation, interpretation, and action” (p. 71). This correlates with my juxtaposition of Butler’s improvisation within a scene of constraint and performativity, and Rorty’s call for redescription. Davis and Sumara explain in the following: [I]nterobjectivity does not assert a direct causal connection of descriptions and the things described. The point is not that things change because they are noticed and described, but that knowers’ actions are altered by virtue [the scene of constraint] of their descriptions. As actions shift, the physical texture of the world is affected. (p. 71)  136  Recognition is an important concept to Butler, as it means the action or process of recognizing or being recognized—especially regarding one’s validity or existence, or even an appreciation or acclaim for an achievement, service, or ability. 137 Please refer to the discussion on the a/r/tographic rendering, openings, in A/r/tography as a Pedagogical Strategy. 237  Interactions become highly significant using this framework. Truth is neither in nor out, “[r]ather, what is known is acted out in what is done, and what is done contributes to the unfolding of the cosmos” (p. 70). Vacating the Self-sufficient “I” as a Kind of Possession I often hear variations on stories of self-sufficiency, sustainability, and independence.138 Within a frame of complexity, learning is inextricable from social interactions. Learning occurs amidst these interactions of doing and knowing. Butler (2005) anticipates possibility in “vacating the self-sufficient ‘I’ as a kind of possession” (p. 137). She understands that the “I” is dis/possessed by and through understandings and interactions. Vacating the “I” to the spaces of understandings and interactions, opens chances for redescription, transformation, learning, and possibility, to make their presence known. Forgiving Me as I Address Myself Elsewhere The form of this dissertation has shifted in its making. Throughout the study, I was committed to my inquiry, chosen methodology, art education, artistic production, complexity thinking, social justice issues, and responsible and ethical researching. Themes worked their way to the surface as I began to analyze and interpret interactions in relation to my understandings and the understandings presented by fellow participants. In the early phases of this study I was interested in documenting the resistances and moments of tension for Skadi, as teacher, to the concepts I presented in her class. Upon reflection, I realize that through reflexive interpretation I am coming to know myself through Skadi. We became friends, as well as critical friends in a research sense, who  138  I discuss the notion of being self-taught in A/r/tography as a Pedagogical Strategy. 238  appreciate each other for how we interact in the world. As I vacated the self-sufficient “I” of researcher by acknowledging my becoming amidst this research collective, I was moved. Aoki (2005b) explains that neither biography nor autobiography is the narration of any life; it “is living itself” (p. 447).  Figure 9.4 Inspired by the story that Skadi shared regarding her mother sewing dresses with metaphoric and symbolic connections, I created matching skirts for Skadi and her daughter to wear. I embroidered their initials on the skirts with strands of their hair in a gesture of connection and relationality. Recognizing: Recursively Knowing Again by Allowing One to Be Written Upon Skadi recounted a story about her mother being able to sew her any dress she could describe. Her mother sewed most of her and her sister’s clothing. In making dresses for each daughter, Skadi’s mother extracted a small square from each finished dress and attached it to the other. This was a symbolic gesture that metaphorically connected them to each other wherever they went (see Fig. 9.4). I feel a similar intimacy with the research participants in this study. My understandings include a portion of metaphoric fabric that these students and this teacher have woven through our interactions. This dissertation  239  calls back to our interactions in a recursive139 recognition that re/produces understandings and transaction. The study has transformed my artistic production and inquiry and has changed my teaching theories and practices through the embodiment of A Study of Dress.  139  Recursive comes from the Latin recurrere, meaning ‘to run back.’ 240  FACING POTENTIALITIES140 The writing of this dissertation and the enactment of the study were created sideby-side and in relation, even though the chronologies and sequences can be imagined as distinct. However, both writing the dissertation and enacting the study were accomplished through understandings and interactions that transcend a date of conception. As noted in the introductory chapter of this dissertation, a portion of this dissertation was already “written” in each of its participants before A Study of Dress Through Artistic Inquiry officially began. Each of us had prior experiences and understandings of art, inquiry, and dress. As a result, the un/folding of this dissertation occurred much like the un/folding that took place in the study itself. Each of the participants worked independently and collaboratively amidst A Study of Dress Through Artistic Inquiry. This dissertation is my re/presentation and re/description, but I recognize its co-construction as brought forth in Addressing Myself Elsewhere as well as its ability for moving interpretations as presented in the introductory chapter. At times I share Kayvin’s, Xu’s and Gu’s sentiments, as presented in A/r/tography as a Pedagogical Strategy, of desiring the faculty to represent the unfolding of this study in its entirety, but it is not possible or perhaps even expedient to do so. While complexity 140  Potentialities, possibilities, and capabilities all relate to being able to. These terms are utilized and privileged throughout this dissertation. As a teacher, I want my students to hold the ability to scrutinize and seek the powers, skills, means and opportunities to become vibrantly sufficient. This requires a commitment to inquiry that shakes to and fro (the origins of vibrant), through critical unsettling. Facing, as presented in the introduction is a term used in garment construction, but it also means pointing in a specified direction and to confront, to deal with, or to accept. Facing Potentialities is used here to point toward specific possibilities that I have formulated through this study. It also suggests that these understandings may confront, or face, each other and subsequent understandings. However, imagining capabilities also requires an aspect of trust; as Rorty (1999) claims, “trust, social cooperation and social hope are where our humanity begins and ends” (p. xv) 241  thinking has explicitly walked alongside and passed through this study from its perceived conception, I was not aware of certain possibilities until they presented themselves in their emergence. This is the necessary patience I describe in Shopplacing. In an effort to interrupt linearity, Davis, Sumara, and Luce-Kapler (2008) attempted to structure their book Engaging Minds in relation to their theories, including “nested discussions that loop back onto themselves at various levels” (p. 16). Similarly, the nested discussions in each chapter of this dissertation recall, or echo, the whole. This document performs as a metaphor alongside the study it describes and interprets. It is partial, but vibrantly sufficient, offering understandings that open possibility. It does not pretend to replace, fix, or complete, but to open and reverberate as described in A/r/tography as a Pedagogical Strategy. Davis et al. (2008) describe their intentions, which resonate with my own, in the following: [W]e wanted the text to embody a principle of knowing that is at the heart of the writing. A knower’s knowing is subject to constant modification; yet at the same time, one’s sense of the world is curiously adequate. In spite of the partiality of knowing, one is typically unaware of gaps in understanding and perception. That is, knowing has a certain sort of vibrant sufficiency. (p. 16) Vibrant sufficiency is not static, not fixed; it is in flux, it is dynamic. In desiring a dynamic representation of the relational interactions of A Study of Dress, I have written a document that recursively elaborates—or calls back iteratively— on interactions and associations. This recursive elaboration highlights the un/folding and nonlinearity involved in learning, as well as the writing of a dissertation that embodies complexity thinking and arts-based inquiry. Additionally, as a qualitative researcher, I acknowledge the assertions of Norman Denzin and Yvonna Lincoln (2003) as they reveal: “The qualitative researcher is not an  242  objective, authoritative, politically neutral observer standing outside and above the text” (p. 615). They continue by saying, “Qualitative inquiry is properly conceptualized as a civic, participatory, collaborative project” (p. 615). However, throughout this dissertation I have elaborated on the hypothesis that “knowing is a dynamic, evolving and relational phenomenon” (Davis et al., 2008, p. 166). Synonyms for teaching within a participatoryoriented conception of this hypothesis include—throughout this dissertation—the words improvisation,141 occasioning,142 and caring143 (p. 171). The impact and consequences of art, research, and teaching can never be fully known according to Davis et al. (2008, p. 224), including those in A Study of Dress Through Artistic Inquiry. Art and research, as in teaching, transgress their explicit intentions, outcomes, and goals. I recognize this not knowing, but offer the following implications, derived from their corresponding understandings, as constraints that enable possibilities.144 Therefore, I will now describe the understandings that were gained from the study and with each understanding I will suggest implications for theory, research, and/or practice.  141  Virtually every chapter addresses concepts of improvisation; however, Un/Doing Curriculum: Improvisation within a Scene of Constraint emphasizes Butler’s (2005) theory of performativity in relation to improvisation. 142 See Introduction and Shopplacing: Occasioning a Pedagogy of the Possible through Artistic and Social Networking Practices. 143 See A/r/tography as a Pedagogical Strategy. 144 Rorty (1999) recognizes John Dewey’s notions of democracy and growth as simultaneously fruitful and fuzzy. Although troubling, it may be the fuzziness of the understandings here that enable possibility. Rorty suggests that nonlinear directives and unfixed boundaries will annoy conservatives. Likewise, fuzziness might be viewed by radicals as lacking sufficient “fuel for resentment [or] hope for sudden, revolutionary change” (p. 126). To Rorty, this disruption between conservative and radical annoyance highlights this type of fuzziness as a notion of the sublime that “lifts the hearts of some fraction of each generation” (p 126). 243  Implication 1 An Understanding Through a Redescription of Teacher and Learner The notion of a caring teacher who occasions learning within the constraints of a collective and relational system anticipates learning as simultaneously vibrant and sufficient. This conception of teaching and learning unsettles models of art education that attempt to fill, fix, repair, or complete students and adds to the body of literature that disturbs the metaphor of a “good” teacher as a transmitter of “good” knowledge. Students are deemed capable within a critically complex collective where knowledge is transformed through interactions and relationships.145 Rorty (1989, 1999) believes that empathy should be taught to understand a degree of each other’s suffering, and Butler (2004b, 2005) believes we should recognize our partiality of knowing and respect such not knowing. I concur with these ideas, but add that we are in a state of constant becoming, which involves multiple relations and interactions as simultaneous teacher and learner. This study acts as an example of possibility through the embodiment of these theories, which reaffirms Patrick Slattery’s (2006) statement that, “[s]ocial change becomes possible because individual transformation is a process that can be experienced in the community of artists and aesthetic educators” (p. 256). With these perspectives, teacher education programs would need to shift from a focus on the art of transmission to the art of transformation, adaptation, and connective relationships.  145  My call for a redescription presents a conundrum. It suggests that an established way is redescribed and re-imagined and therefore, perhaps must be broken or is in need of repair. However, what I mean is that we are all in a state of becoming, regardless of our in/capabilities as teachers/learners, and are not finished. We are always in/complete, and our attention to our simultaneous incompleteness and completeness places us in a critical relationship between teaching and learning. 244  The participants involved in this study experienced teaching and learning as a community endeavor. However, the individual inquiries were diverse, from the audiences chosen by participants to whom they declared their work, to the processes, techniques, compositions, and concepts shown in their products. While Skadi sought a pedagogy that provoked a student’s individual potential in Outlining the Study: Accounting for Oneself, her previous assignments were those in which everyone was to learn the same skill, media, process, or technique. This study, while troubling notions of “good” art and “good” pedagogy, encouraged divergent investigations. Although there are similarities in concepts and processes in the products created by the participants in A Study of Dress, the range in media, processes, styles, and concepts was greater than that of the traditional art assignment at Himation Secondary.146 Additionally, the diversity of media, processes, style and concept in student work in this a/r/tographic study is further noted in comparing the artifacts created in a previous a/r/tographic study in a secondary classroom (see Darts, 2004). The conditions attended to in this study—namely a decentralized structure with neighboring interactions—allowed a broad range of independent and collective visual representations. Teaching and learning were shared amongst participants. Implication 2 Understanding the Arts-based Research Methodology, A/r/tography, as a Pedagogical Strategy A/r/tography as a pedagogical strategy offers a nonsequential and relationally open choice of methods within a methodology of pedagogical artistic inquiry that redescribes teachers and students. This also interrelates with the above redescription—in 146  This was ascertained from observing the student artifacts from past assignments hanging in the art room and also through Skadi herself. 245  implication 1—of teacher and learner. Although a/r/tography was first conceived as an arts-based research methodology, it has significant potential as a pedagogical strategy in the art class. Recalling William F. Pinar’s (cited in Irwin & de Cosson, 2004) statement describing a/r/tography as a space where “knowing, doing, and making merge” (p. 9), Pinar highlights the practical application of such an approach in the classroom, where students and teacher interact through critical inquiry. The knowing, doing, and making involved in a group of a/r/tographers provokes stronger feedback loops as a/r/tographers reverberate the spaces between knowledge(s) and paradigms to create openings of possibility. Classroom a/r/tographers as students and teachers become critical knowledge consumers as well as producers. They do so, “not [necessarily] building on what has been learned, but transforming prior learnings to include new experiences” (Rorty, 1989, p. 168), to become un/done in a recursive process that re/shapes, moves on, and returns, and imagines consequences that accompany choices (see Whatmore, 2003, p. 68). Implication 3 An Understanding that the Form of this Dissertation Adds to the Rupture of Textual Authorities and Provokes New Re/presentations of Knowledge(s) Neil K. Duke and Sarah W. Beck (1999) assert “that doctoral candidates and departments of education that serve them, should consider other alternative formats for the dissertation” (p. 33). An odd147 format, to Rorty (1989), performs like a metaphor, which “represents a voice from the outside” (Allen, 2003, p. 21). This dissertation  147  Odd is from third, as in a third space, and angle, as in coming from a different perspective. 246  format148 acts as a Rortian “tool for jolting our imaginations” (p. 21) and, as enacted, will “produce new descriptions, new vocabularies, that enable us to go about things differently” (p. 21). Since all knowledge is partial—as asserted in A/r/tography as a Pedagogical Strategy and in Sartorial Artistic Inquiry—new methodologies, ways of understandings, languages, and representations un/fold and open partialities through a reverberation between limits and biases.149 I recognize additional representations of inquiry that have come before this one in A/r/tography as a Pedagogical Strategy. I also acknowledge that I cannot know the entire genealogy of interactions that has allowed me to access the understandings represented here. This dissertation is an unsettling gesture that points toward alternative constructions of knowledge(s) as well as an invitation for subsequent studies regarding a/r/tography in the classroom. Implication 4 An Understanding that Calls forth Divergent Interactions of Students and Research The phenomenon of shared research and joint authorship is perhaps best understood in terms of a shift in the culture of scientific research—in effect, a collective realization that sudden insights are rarely, if ever, matters of solitary genius. (Davis & Sumara, 2006, p. 55) More needs to be done regarding discussions of interconnectedness—not a mandated “connectedness curriculum,” but a dialogue of critical connections in learning systems. Knowledge is created within a variety of social interactions. An acknowledgement that insight, creativity, and imagination are shared can have a significant impact on the field of art education in particular. This dissertation opens the 148  This specifically refers to the graphic version of this dissertation found on http://m1.cust.educ.ubc.ca/Artography/phd.php. 149 See my discussion of my own journey of understanding through ruptures in Un/Doing Curriculum: Improvisation within a Scene of Constraint. 247  invitation for new ways that students and researchers can share in knowledge creation. This study establishes that social interactions matter. Additionally, it contends that ambiguous boundaries can be fruitful. As Stanley (2005) asserts, “Human actions have no inside nor outside: there are no boundaries. And in this way, the human mind gives form to and is formed by social interactions” (p. 147). Students as relationally bounded artsbased inquirers—searching independently within a collective—are capable (see Shopplacing) of dealing with a variety of significantly personal and social issues (see Students as Arts-based Inquirers: Pedagogical Space for Students’ Voices and the Possibility of Action, or, Dis/Rupturing the Peace). Implication 5 Understanding How Best Practices Are Transformed into Vibrantly Sufficient Practices [S]chooling and education are not so much about shaping perception to existing frames as opening perception to new possibilities. (Davis, Sumara, & Luce-Kapler, 2008, p. 21) Davis, Sumara, and Luce-Kapler’s (2008) framing of education “not in terms of compelling others to see the world in the ways we see it, but in terms of expanding the space of the possible” (p. 20), resonates with my own understandings provoked by A Study of Dress Through Artistic Inquiry. I have had many dealings with deficiency models of education throughout my career in education: Students are lacking, teachers are lacking, schools are lacking, so let us fill them up and then check to see that they retain what was given to them. Education that is conceptualized as dynamic participation shifts the view of education from shaping perception to opening perception (p. 21). This is a position that would greatly impact the field of art education, and this study contributes to this perspective. 248  Best practices are illusions, simply because they are only “best” for the largest percentage of generalized populations. Working within this frame is linear and might do one thing well, albeit, at the expense of diversity, flexibility, and adaptation. However, a noticing of vibrantly sufficient practices enables educational stakeholders to shift from fixing—repairing as well as solidifying—to a concept of transformation through adequately dynamic interactions. Multiple identities—artist, researcher, and teacher/learner—work in relation in this study to demonstrate the transgression of these boundaries to produce individual and collective understandings.  Implication 6 An Understanding That Classroom Artistic Practices Are Capable of Entering into a Discourse with Broader Contemporary Artistic Practices In Shopplacing: Occasioning a Pedagogy of the Possible Through Artistic and Social Networking Practices, I present a notion of students as capable. This provokes thinking as an artist, not in terms of following prescribed sequential methods or processes. It does not conceive of artist solely as one who acquires specific techniques or skills. It does, however, offer a theory that students are capable of knowing and engaging in the world artistically as they interact critically with historical and contemporary practices and discourses. This conception is key for teacher education programs as well as for classroom curricula. This notion of artistic education highlights capability not as a progressive having or not having—as in abilities, talents, skills, knowledge and the like— but more as transacting in conversations and engagements with dis/abilities, aptitudes, skills, knowledge(s) and the like.  249  Furthermore, this study responds to O Donoghue’s (2007) petition for methodologies that are informed by contemporary artistic practices and Wilson’s (2003) urgings that K-12 art education recognize contemporary art practices. This is accomplished, however, not in a prescribed or linear manner, but as many contemporary artistic practices have been shown to envision, an interrelated and socially sensitive, emergent forthcoming of practices. In summary, I call back Rorty’s (cited in Allen, 2003) assertion, “that there is no 'method' to any of this, all that anyone can really do is 'redescribe lots and lots of things in new ways', to develop new vocabularies that tempt others to adopt descriptions that make previous ones appear limited" (p. 20). This a/r/tographic research offers an opportunity to challenge solidified definitions of artist/researcher/teacher identities, to look in the spaces between boundaries, to create new understandings through an interaction of redescribing. This dissertation research has taken me to the edge of not knowing, to a space of generative possibilities, where openings that were not previously available allowed me to think and do what I could not think and do before. This complex transformation has not simply been a rearranging of preexisting ideas and actions,150 but a mashup and a redescription that have created multiple named and unnamed understandings within, as well as transgressing, multiple scenes of constraints.  150  Eduardo Mendieta (cited in Rorty, 2006) says Rorty “is not trying to rearrange the furniture within the edifice of philosophy. He wants the whole edifice to be opened up [and] aired out” (p. xvii). The improvisations that have occurred within this scene of constraint, therefore, have ruptured previous notions of artist, researcher, and teacher as new understandings of each are provoked. Perhaps more significant, however, is the understanding that improvisational acts also disrupt scenes in which these identities perform. 250  Criticisms As I review other a/r/tographic dissertations, I see recurring and overlapping concerns and representations. Admittedly, I was surprised to find so many a/r/tographers using similar metaphors in the various studies I reviewed. This alerts me to the possibility that these metaphors are already in the process of dying, in that their meanings are becoming fixed and static. While this similarity makes me feel a part of a group, I still desire a unique voice.151 What gives me hope among these voices are the diverse foci in which these a/r/tographers are engaged, and the breadth in which many of these metaphors are related. For example, recent a/r/tographic dissertation foci include the pedagogy of touch (Springgay, 2004), queer film studies (Dias, 2006), culture jamming (Darts, 2004), teachers’ perceptions of drawing (Kalin, 2007), teacher engagement (Kind, 2006), teacher education (Sinner, 2008), landscape, identity, and pedagogy (Pente, 2008), and spirituality (Bickel, 2008). Exclusionary The focus of this particular study includes complexity and dress metaphors in relation to artist, researcher, and teacher identities. While other dissertations utilize textile metaphors in relation to their studies, dress as a recurring concept is unique. This study also adds to this body of literature by examining the conditions of complexity: for example, decentralized control as a condition for not only complex learning systems but as a condition for democracy and anti-oppressive education. Informally, I have heard concerns about a/r/tography being exclusionary because one must be a practicing artist to engage in such inquiry. This is a concern for me, and I have asked myself, do I consider 151  This echoes the paradox of the desire of fitting in as well as standing out in fashion (Kaiser, 1997). 251  the students with whom I work as artists? I believe one of the reasons why the participants in this study created such individual work within a focus of a single concept—dress—had much to do with the empowerment of becoming an artist by choosing one’s own way. I assume that those who engage in a/r/tographic inquiry, regardless of their age or experience, are relationally becoming artists/researchers/teachers to some degree. This recalls the statement made by several student participants that for the first time, they felt they were artists. For me, this does not mean their work has reached a specified professional level. However, this view does include a requirement that one engages in a relational discourse of artist, researcher, and teacher/learner. The investment in these identities, however, remains personal. The discourse of a/r/tography includes questions addressing artist, researcher, and teacher identities, which point inquirers toward art, inquiry, and teaching/learning. However, is a/r/tography exclusionary? It is a methodology that considers a specific discipline and that could be exclusionary to those who are marginalized by a concept of art and artistic ways of knowing. For example, I feel marginalized by certain sports and mathematics. This feeling of being excluded is probably largely due to my own feelings of incapability, but does not preclude my participation in sports or math to a specific degree. However, while identities are socially constructed, they are also improvised and transgressed through various transactions. While I have addressed the learner as capable in this dissertation, questions of the in/capable artist, researcher, and teacher/learner would be promising for subsequent studies. Jane Piirto (2002), for instance, presents serious doubts about who should be able to claim a voice within a field or domain.  252  Should non-experts be able to use metaphors outside of their domain, especially if those metaphors are “inaccurate?” (p. 433).152 Neither Research nor Art Recently, David Pariser (2008) presented an argument against arts-based research methodologies. He asserts arts-based research “fails to deliver either art” or “research” (p. 13). Pariser’s argument assumes that we can agree on a definition of “art” and/or “research.” The questions, is it art? and is it research? are questions that I do not find very helpful in contemporary discourse.153 For example, each of the aesthetic theories listed on page 256 are very limited in their view of what can and cannot be art. Postmodern discourses voice multiple art worlds (Chalmers, 2001; McFee, 1991) that serve a plurality of tastes, institutions, powers, agendas, and beliefs. A person who discounts all qualitative research, for example, even though that research may have proven useful to many, will undoubtedly not find value in arts-based research methodologies informed by phenomenology, hermeneutics, narrative inquiry, and artistic practice, like a/r/tography.  152  Piirto (2002) agrees that new forms, expressions, and ways of thinking will be created through the synthesis of the domains of art and education (see p. 444). However, she puts forward a criterion that one must have at least an undergraduate degree or a professional record in the arts to be able to explore art as qualitative research (see p. 443). Using this criterion, I would be permitted, as would Skadi, to perform as an arts-based researcher. The question of collective knowledge is not addressed in Piirto’s essay, but it is pertinent to A Study of Dress Through Artistic Inquiry. According to Piirto, arts-based inquirers should “take at least 20 semester hours in the discipline in which they want to do the artsbased research, or demonstrate peer-review… exhibits of their art” (p. 444). In a PAR endeavor, or co-constructed research study, how many of the participants must adhere to this criterion? Certainly, to Piirto, the principal investigator must have a strong knowledge of methodology in both domains. This question of quality and qualification in collective studies is one that requires further articulation. 153 I am, however, interested in questions of the research’s, and/or art’s, significance or usefulness. 253  Phillips (1995), for example, argues against certain points made in a keynote address given by Elliott Eisner on arts-based educational research. After providing historical examples of fasting, scourging, chemical use, deep meditation, and yoga to provoke new understandings, Phillips discounts these as legitimate paths to understanding. To him they are not “disciplined inquiry” (p. 74). To those who have closed the possibility for multiple ways of knowing—including the undisciplined—I can only offer the advice to keep tasting from the banquet of life, through which an appreciation for other ways of knowing, sensing, experiencing, and understanding may be gained.154 Responding to Phillips’s request for “a criterion that would enable us to distinguish those works of art that are research from those that are not” (p. 74) I submit the following sections. While I do not assert this dissertation as a work of art by every definition of the term, I do believe art as a form of research is represented within these pages.155 These final paragraphs of this chapter, while suggesting how a reader might evaluate the quality of this dissertation, are not provided as definitive proofs of quality; they are provided to keep open the conversations of arts-based educational research. The criteria that I provide here are based on my criteria for evaluating art as a socially constructed phenomenon, the a/r/tographic renderings presented in this document, and the conditions of complexity thinking. 154  I will elaborate further upon the metaphor of eating shortly. This may seem counter to my argument presenting art as a way of knowing. The graphic version of this dissertation described in the introductory chapter is artistic but I do not intend to share it as a finished work of art. For me, it acts as an artistic representation of the study and includes many images, narratives, contextualizations, and theories. The independence of an artwork from its maker(s) is debatable, but one’s intentions surely are useful in evaluation. I intended this dissertation to be based in artistic ways of knowing and it is presented as a qualitative research study. 155  254  Judging this Work It can be difficult to evaluate something familiar, but something unfamiliar can be even more challenging. It is difficult to categorize, describe, analyze, and interpret156 something that has traits that are reminiscent of one thing but transgress boundaries of the customary. Surely categorizing, describing, analyzing, and interpreting are criteria through which one can be led to judgment, but I wonder what this procedure excludes. Encountering a new format or idea can be like trying an unusual food for the first time, which can incite danger, fear, and discomfort. Having tried new foodstuffs, I recall the questions, Is this good? Should I spit this out or swallow it? How is this like or dislike other things I have tried? and Do I want more? Something judged as good, tasty or useful to one may not be so for another. If the food one eats sustains life, is it not then viable? However, all things eaten are not solely created or utilized as sustenance. For example, some items are used to induce dreams, hallucinations, or vomiting, or to produce joy, euphoria, or added strength and endurance.157 It can be helpful in cases of the un/familiar to solicit the intentions and articulated criteria of its producer. I see this dissertation, while echoing the work of other qualitative researchers and a/r/tographers, as a new voice in a relatively new conversation, an edible that has an ever-changing recipe searching for new tastes, sustaining powers, and  156  These criteria are common in art criticism discourses, but philosophy professor and aesthetician Noël Carroll (2009) calls them the most significant in reaching criticism’s main objective, evaluation. 157 Ken Tupper (2003), for example, researches ayahuasca and other drugs for their educational properties and uses. Additionally, Shusterman (2000) argues for somaesthetics, which he defines as “the critical, meliorative study of the experience and use of ones’ body as a locus of sensory-aesthetic appreciation (aisthesis) and creative self-fashioning. It is therefore also devoted to the knowledge, discourses, practices, and bodily disciplines that structure such somatic care or can improve it” (p. 302). 255  insights. I provide this section to articulate my considerations for evaluating A Study of Dress Through Artistic Inquiry. Criticism, according to Terry Barrett (2000), is not to provoke antagonism but is meant to “further rather than to end discourse” (p. 160). While Barrett’s statement was written in reference to art criticism, I believe his interpretation of the purposes of criticism applies to this research as well. The following section addresses several criteria that express how this research furthers discourses of art, research, and pedagogy. Good Art Sinner et al. (2006) find many common threads among a/r/tographic theses; however, one in particular is the query, What entails good art and good research? As an art educator I am constantly questioning how I evaluate a student’s artwork. Part of my teacher identity includes asking the students to suggest possible ways in which they would like their work to be evaluated. Providing criteria for one’s own work often points to inconsistencies between concepts and products. Ideologies sometimes do not match actions or their representations. This can create spaces for challenging structures and beliefs as well as questioning the value of one’s work. Said another way, scrutinizing one’s own work is a way to create understandings through questioning practices and beliefs. In my current art criticism and aesthetics courses, I present multiple aesthetic philosophies that have shaped what the definition of good art has been in various schools of thought. Each has its limits and biases, but I imagine these philosophies might be helpful in judging the quality of this arts-based dissertation: Expressivist Theory, Formalist Theory, Instrumentalist Theory, Neo-Rationalist Theory, Multicultural  256  Theories, Feminist Theories, Mimetic Theory, Marxist Theory, Queer Theory, Institutional Theory, and Hedonist Theory of Art.158 While there are those, namely, aestheticians, who study each of these philosophical standpoints in great depth, I believe placing multiple frames together creates understandings that may not be noticed otherwise. Individually, these theoretical frames can be argued from a specific standpoint, appearing hermetically sealed; the juxtaposition of theoretical frames highlights the boundaries of their limits. Placing them side by side in a relational dialogue opens a discourse to the multiple possibilities of art.159 These diverse arguments have proven useful in my own work as an artist, not in reaching a specific goal, but as a tool for reflecting on multiple perspectives about purpose and quality. For the sake of space, I will reduce the previously noted aesthetic theories into single criterion for evaluating art. While this is a great reduction, I present  158  This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of aesthetic possibilities. These are all strong arguments that have rich histories—albeit some rather newly surfaced—in the philosophical inquiry of art. Some of the more modernistic aesthetic notions can be found in Dabney Townsend’s (1997) An Introduction to Aesthetics, published in Malden, MA by Blackwell Publishers. 159 I see myself as a researcher-as-bricoleur-theorist as described by Denzin and Lincoln (2003), who “works between and within competing and overlapping perspectives and paradigms” (p. 9), but also like the interpretive bricoleur who creates a complex metaphoric quilt of fluid, interconnected images and representations that acts as a “performance text, a [improvisational dancing] sequence of representations connecting the parts to the whole” (p. 9). The bricoleur, as a handyman, sets up a metaphor that suggests one who sets out to fix something and anticipates a solution from the outset. I recall my own use of mashup inquiry here, which relates to the French meanings of bricoleur as tinkerer, or one who “makes creative and resourceful use of whatever materials are [at] hand (regardless of their original purpose)” (downloaded from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bricolage on 30 December 2008). This conceptualization of qualitative bricoleur resonates with Denzin and Lincoln’s (2003) description. They state, “If new tools or techniques have to be invented, or pieced together, then the researcher will do this. The choices as to which interpretive practices to employ are not necessarily set in advance” (p. 6). 257  these reductions as possible criteria through which this arts-based research study might be evaluated and elaborated. These philosophical stances, presented in the same order as above, focus on the following questions to evaluate the quality of art: Is the work expressive of the author’s emotions or does it evoke strong emotion? Is the work well designed in terms of visual structures? Is the work educative and does it serve a purpose? Does it relate to past work stylistically, technically, conceptually, or formally? Does it present multiple ways of knowing? Does it displace the center, recognizing the polyvocal? Does it represent an aspect of reality? Does it move one toward emancipation? Does the work challenge normativity and make things queer or strange? Is this work acceptable to a reputable institution; and finally? Does this work satisfy the desires of the author(s) and/or the reader(s)? While all of these criteria for analyzing the quality of art can be applied to this research, some are more significant to me as an artist, researcher, and teacher/learner. I privilege the postmodern theories of Multiculturalism, Feminism, and Queer Theories, but I recognize additional lenses that have constructed the beliefs and values through which I work and work against. The artwork produced by the participants in this study is diverse and can be appreciated within multiple aesthetic theories, although not every artifact would be valued using every theory. For example, some artistic endeavors might not be deemed formally or technically sophisticated, while other work does not look like historical school art.160 Work that is not fitting to one theory—work that does not fit, that  160  Hence Skadi’s confusion at how to reconcile Kayvin, Gu, and Xu’s artwork, which took a great deal of collaborative effort and study, but perhaps looked more like a costume than an artwork. 258  exceeds or transgresses previous theories—provokes the opening of new theories. Likewise, the more recent theories used within this dissertation—including curriculum theory, complexity theory, critical theory, and queer theory—may give little heed to criteria that were once reasoned to be key in judgment. Therefore, looking within this dissertation, I search for its intentions as an a/r/tographic study informed by complexity thinking. My overarching question asks, What understandings are provoked by concepts of dress when related to artist, researcher, and teacher identities? Each chapter has presented multiple understandings that have been teased out through situating myself amidst the research, current literature, and my own practices as artist/researcher/teacher. Below, I continue my presentation of evaluation criteria for this study. Good Research I liken the multiple perspectives in this study to Richardson’s (cited in Denzin & Lincoln, 2003) crystal metaphor161 of qualitative inquiry that uses mixed-genre texts to “grow, change, alter” and “reflect externalities and refract within themselves” to create “different colors, patterns, and arrays, casting off in different directions” (p. 8). The overarching question in A Study of Dress Through Artistic Inquiry is refracted in multiple questions represented in various chapters, presenting a similar story from different perspectives (Denzin & Lincoln, 2003). While the crystal is a metaphor that attends to  161  Richardson (cited in Denzin & Lincoln, 2003) challenges triangulation as qualitative research’s alternative to validation. Denzin and Lincoln (2003) argue that the crystalline metaphor extends triangulation to “the display of multiple, refracted realities simultaneously” (p. 8). While this breaking up of a sequential or linear argument occurs, readers “are then invited to explore competing visions of the context, to become immersed in and merge with new realities to comprehend” (p. 8). 259  growth, and is more dimensional than triangulation,162 the structures in crystallization appear to be immovable. This may be an inadequate metaphor for my notions of dynamic stability where systems are simultaneously sufficient and vibrant. However, the crystal, while structurally rigid, does allow for light to play, bounce, bend, divide, concentrate, amplify, and focus as it reflects and passes through the structure.163 Balance, as a formal principle in visual art, is usually divided into discussions about asymmetry or symmetry (Goodman, 2001; Lauer & Pentak, 2008; Stewart, 2002). Lauer and Pentak (2008), however, present crystallographic balance as an overall balance, where concrete hierarchies shift. Crystallographically balanced representations can appear simultaneously chaotic and organized and express the whole as nested within multiple parts. This dissertation as a research presentation parallels this metaphor. Therefore, since this dissertation mashes up a wide range of recurrent issues and occurrences, concerns of symmetrical or asymmetrical balance in this research study may not be as pertinent as they might be to dissertations that are divided into distinct or linear arguments.  162  Triangulation is a research strategy that is used to approach validation in qualitative studies. 163 In some cases (see www.physics.purdue.edu/people/faculty/nolte/Bending.html downloaded on 30 December 2008) a light beam will donate its photons to another beam as laser beams cross inside a certain nonlinear crystal. Sight is a privileged means for data gathering and as a metaphor for interpretation (Springgay, 2008). However, observation is only one method of gathering data and is biased and limited. For example, metamaterials are being developed (see http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/08/080812-invisibility-cloak.html; and www.nytimes.com/2008/08/12/science/12ligh.html?ref=science) that refract light backward, known as negative refraction. Metamaterials bend light in directions that are radically unexpected. The fish in a pond, for example, would appear above the surface of the water in negative refraction and clothing made of metamaterials could appear to make its wearer invisible. 260  Penultimately, I refract the reader toward the a/r/tographic renderings—that are presented throughout this document but which are concentrated in A/r/tography as a Pedagogical Strategy—as criteria to aid in the appreciation and value of this work. Again, this is a reduction of these concepts, but they are offered to call forth understandings and possibility. This dissertation serves as a metonym for the research study. Through a living inquiry, research participants created many newly described metaphors. In particular, through a mashup inquiry, I mash contiguous concepts, images, and narratives to create openings to understandings and possibilities presented in this Facing Potentialities chapter. The idea of facing potentiality is an additional metaphor that imagines facing concepts that converse, argue, echo, and call back through reverberations. That which is redundant, left over, unused, or marginalized is known as the rendering excess. It is not attempted to be filled or fixed but is noticed, addressed, and attended to in facing potentialities164 and a/r/tographic inquiry. Good Pedagogy Finally, on the question of whether this dissertation provides understandings for good teaching and quality learning, I direct the reader to my discussions addressing complexity thinking, as well as to the implications presented in this chapter. The conditions of complex learning systems that have been established crystallographically within this document include redundancy, diversity, decentralization in structure and opportunities for neighboring exchanges.  164  This also calls back my discussion of relationality as a condition of a/r/tography. Excess is not always addressed because it cannot be contained, but as an a/r/tographer I attempt to recognize, acknowledge, and listen for excess. For example, excess often provokes me the question in my research, What do I do with this or that? 261  Redundancy is not always valued in education, since it is viewed as excess that distracts from efficiency metaphors. However, this study understands redundancy as significant in the robustness of a system. For example, one teacher may be efficient, but if the teacher identity is shared amongst agents in a learning collective, then those agents are not dependent on, but empowered through relationships. The diversity of each agent will then be seen as beneficial to the whole group as new understandings and ways of knowing emerge. Like redundancy, diversity receives a mixed review. It is often given lip service in educational policy but is feared by students, teachers, administrators, and other educational stakeholders (see Bhattacharyya, 2007; Chun & Evans, 2008). In complexity thinking, however, diversity is the ability to adapt, evolve, and transform; diversity is a system’s source of intelligence and vibrancy. The work expressed in this three-month study by student participants—enrolled in a general art course—is incredibly diverse. Even though the research focused on concepts of dress, the ideas, metaphors, and inquiry topics of the participants are as varied as are the media, processes, and techniques used in their creations. I urge readers to reflect upon the mashup—a form of neighboring interactions—of theories, images, texts, and narratives presented in this study to generate new understandings but also to evaluate this work according to its vibrant sufficiency. The study is presented in a format or structure that attempts to highlight its nonlinearity and attends to hierarchies through a crystallographic balance as a metaphor for the decentralization that was attempted in this participatory research endeavor. It is more than a collection of images and stories though. It is a relational, co-constructed form of  262  inquiry that points toward possibilities and potentialities for the artist, researcher, and teacher/learner. Through this study, I am moving toward emancipation by unsettling certain165 notions of artist, researcher, and teacher/learner, to face new potentialities.  165  The word certain comes from the Latin certus, meaning settled or sure.  263  REFERENCES Albers, P. M. (1999). 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Journal of Consciousness Studies, 13(5), 17-42.  273  APPENDICES Appendix A Certificate of Approval  274  Appendix B A/r/tographic Data Considerations  This appendix presents my personal engagements with an excerpt from this dissertation study demonstrating how I inquire as an a/r/tographer. It is offered to the reader as a window, albeit a narrow one, into my process of organizing, evaluating, and interpreting data. As stated in my dissertation document, inquiry is an ongoing process of relationships between actions, interactions, thoughts, reflections, and concepts. Therefore, this exercise is not meant to be a standard to follow but might serve as a glimpse into the a/r/tographic process in a very specific situation. In producing (or inquiring through or in relation to) art, I attempt to come to some coherent meaning, but I am also creating openings for other possibilities. I intentionally leave those openings available to others, and myself, through deliberate ambiguity to enlarge a space of the possible. My a/r/tographic inquiry follows a similar vein; I don’t use all that I consciously see, hear, and think from the past, present, and anticipated future, rather I consider them in relation to each other, exploring their coherency among their apparent randomness. The following vignette regarding my inclusion of the a/r/tographic rendering excess (see page 88) atte