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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The artist and teacher-leader : the appearance of Hannah Arendt’s "In-between" Daniel, Mary Jane


Hannah Arendt's, The Human Condition, presents a foundation to examine the formation of identity within the context of her triumvirate, labour, work and action or the vita activa. I am most interested in her idea of an "in-between" space that captures the "reality [of] the webs of human relationships, indicating by the metaphor its somewhat intangible quality" (1958, p. 183). However intangible the "in-between" it is no less real and it is in the webs of relationships where we may develop a sense of safety, courage, and the willingness to do what is good, and act in our daily lives. In order to develop webs of relationships in my daily labour, work and action as both an artist and a teacher-leader, I explore the private and public spaces that are available for me to labour, work and act, the conditions that nurture or mitigate against action, and the opportunities for renewal, that is, rebirth or natality, within the plurality of others. In Chapter One: Opening, I explore the formation of my identity as both an artist and as a teacher-leader, the emerging "in-between" space between my practices and how each practice sheds light on the other. In Chapter Two: Labour, I discuss labour in relation to my practices. Labour is necessary and never ending, and has its own pleasures. However, in order to live a full life, it is not sufficient to labour alone. In Chapter Three: Work, Arendt's notion of work as it differs from labour is explained in the context of how work objects place us in the world and serve to remind us of our purposes and our identities. Work results in a product, but as in labour, work is not sufficient in realizing a full life. However, work may lead to action, considered the most important aspect in the vita activa. In Chapter Four: Action, I explain how Arendt contends that for us to be truly alive, we need to become engaged in action where people have an opportunity to re-create themselves or experience "natality" amongst a plurality, or previously existing, others. In order to foster such relationships, we require both public and private spaces in our practice worlds. In Chapter Five: The In-Between, I describe where the "in-between" began for me and how this space is so important in my efforts to live a better life and how it contributes to forming the various webs of relationships as I move from labour and work towards action.

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