UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Of stones and silences : storying the trace of the other in the autobiographical and textile text of art/teaching Kind, Sylvia Christina


This inquiry explores the play of the personal and the ongoing work of becoming a teacher as it opens up the artistic, autobiographic, and incomplete textile text of art/teaching. It examines what can be learned from the personal and the reciprocity between a teacher’s living and art/teaching. It seeks to make teaching and learning visible, open it to critical discussion, and to invite others to enter into complicated conversations concerning the particularities, intimacies, and undoings that shape the text of teaching and the becoming of teachers. Using Emmanuel Levinas’ ethics of relationality as the frame for this inquiry I explore how teaching can story the trace of the other. And in particular, how vulnerability, suffering, irreparable dependency, silence, absence and loss press in and obligate a response. In doing this my purpose is to move beyond a focus on agency, emancipation, and self-becoming and to consider those who cannot, and may not ever be able to, represent or speak for themselves. This means a move towards receptivity and susceptibility where the utterance and proximity of the other takes a more central role. It means listening and giving attention to difference and dependency and creating the conditions to learn from and be changed by the other. Through a/r/tography, autobiography, art making, and writing as research I construct parallel narratives in image and in text. I recount personal narratives of bereavement and disability, how these experiences shape, provoke, and open up my art/teaching, and the difference they can make in curriculum, pedagogy, and art/teacher education practices. This study situates autobiography as an inquiry that focuses not on my identity, or how I might become a better teacher or understand more fully my own life and art/teaching, rather how other’s stories can weave through my own and find their own presence--an irreducible presence that preserves their alterity. It challenges artist/researcher/teachers to consider meanings beyond self and beyond individuals as rational and autonomous beings. And it prompts teachers to consider more deeply the difficulties and intimacies of their own lives and to consider these as the very substance and structures of their art/teaching.

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