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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Learning from and about artists : identity, place, practice Ghecevici, Alexandra Cristina


Learning From and About Artists: Identity, Place, Practice is an inter-personal exploration of thought-processes and activities involved in teaching and artistic practices. As an a/r/tographical living inquiry, the work investigates, disrupts, interprets, and re-creates understandings about how these practices relate to each other and how the three artists participating in the research negotiate their identities within/in-between teaching and making art. The general understanding of who artists are, how/why they produce art, and what/how/why they teach, is problematic if not vague. This investigation helps understand the relation among these questions and the conceptual connections brought forward by and manifested within theory as practice. Starting with the artistic process as shaped by the artists’ educational background, by the artist-teacher identity, and by the studio environment, the inciting question of the research is the following: how do artists understand their artistic practice in relation to their teaching practice? The participants in this study are three practicing artists who are or have been involved with teaching art. Conversations with artists Scott Plear and Thomas Anfield and visits to their studios offered the opportunity to interrogate and explore reflectively and reflexively through conversation, art making and writing. Thinking, values, and ideas transgress and transform with the visuals and texts and the dissolved researcher - researched binary opposition is carried through by a circulation in-between conventional positionings as well as by an autobiographical dimension of the research. This work is significant in its acquired understandings. Art and teaching practices are interconnected and informing each other. Identity, place, practice reflect a processual being-knowing-doing strongly related to a context of perpetual change. A cyclical re-affirmation, with the emphasis on the co-relational slash, draws on a multifaceted artist/teacher identity, thus meeting the conditions of a/r/tography. Vulnerability and Repetition emerge as active concepts and constitute a meaningful commitment to a learning-to-learn performance. The possibilities and experiences of this a/r/t inquiry should inspire teachers, regardless of their practice, to undertake such relational process.

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