UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Visual culture jam : art, pedagogy and creative resistance Darts, David G.


I seek to understand the role that art education might play in the development of socially engaged students. Informed by theorists in critical, social reconstructive and visual culture art education, I explore how engagement with social issues through the examination and production of visual culture impacts students' understanding and awareness about these social issues. I also examine how this engagement influences students' understanding and awareness of the social roles and cultural functions of art/visual culture. Located within a Visual Arts 11/12 classroom in an inner city Canadian high school, this study addresses omissions in the educational literature; specifically the paucity of data supporting the conceptual connections being made among the art/visual culture, education, and social issues. While art and art education are regularly promoted by educational theorists as catalysts for social and individual change, few studies have concentrated on high school students working in classroom settings. Working as an artist/researcher/teacher over the course of three months, I adopt a relational approach to the study, which is informed by a/r/t/ography, hermeneutics, visual ethnography, and action research. This pluralistic methodology includes a rejection of hierarchical conceptualizations that portray research as something that is done to students, rather than with them. As such, the students are actively involved in the collection of visual data, including digital video and photographs. Data collection also includes ethnographic interviews, student written responses, field notes, and critical research reflections. Art making is used throughout as an important component of the meaning-making process. Conceptualized and created as an academic assemblage, this dissertation is a contiguous fusion of research images and texts. It conlcudes by outlining how engagement in social issues through art/visual culture can increase students' understanding and awareness of those issues. It also shows how this engagement can provide an increased comprehension of the connections between art/visual culture and the sociocultural sphere. The dissertation ends by illustrating how engagement through the production of art/visual culture can empower students with a sense of social agency, voice and hope.

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