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Pedagogies of leisure : considering community recreation centres as contexts for art education and art experience Lackey, Lara Marie


This dissertation examines visual art programming and art education practices within the contexts of two community recreation centres in an urban Canadian West Coast Parks and Recreation Department. Addressing the academic communities of both education and recreation/leisure studies, it questions the dichotomy of education and recreation and looks at leisure institutions as pedagogical environments. This research considers the question, "What is the context into which art programming in community recreation centres is expected to fit, and how does that context position and affect art teaching and art experience?" It uses interview transcripts, documents, visual data, and field notes to identify themes pertaining to the ideological and structural environments in which art programming practice occurs. The perspectives of staff7administrators are contrasted with those of art instructors, and elaborated by evidence related to participants' experiences and the physical/visual/symbolic environments of the settings. The study is positioned within sociological literatures of art, leisure, and education—including feminist analysis and critical theory—and draws particularly on the work of Pierre Bourdieu. Analysis suggests numerous contradictions to the construction of leisure as freedom, pleasure, and non-education, and draws attention to the particular ways that these recreation centre sites frame and influence art encounters. For example, although one description of art education practice in these settings is that it is "wrapped in fun", it can alternatively be understood as occurring within the frenzied and fragmented temporal patterns of contemporary North American life; commodified and negotiated in expectations of pleasure; imbued with a formal lack of authority; and positioned within an environment which tends to privilege physical and male-dominated forms of leisure. The study suggests that informal institutional practices and tacit messages act to contravene a formal arts policy intended to increase recreational arts programming, ultimately maintaining the status quo.

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