Hoekstra, Marike (University of Chester, 2018-09-28)
Combining artistic practice with teaching is not unusual for teachers in the visual arts. A dual professional practice, which can be found throughout the field of art education with art teachers in all levels of education, requires a negotiation of roles and positions on a personal level and has impact on pedagogy. However, the binary opposition of artist versus teacher fails to comprise the diversity of practices where art making and teaching are combined. Not only does identification with artist or teacher vary, so does the extent to which the two disciplines are fused, to the point where it can be called a hybrid practice when the distinction between art and teaching is no longer relevant. The democratic nature of contemporary visual art making further problematises a singular model of artist teacher practice. In order to do justice to the personal strategies artist teachers employ in balancing their dual professional roles, this thesis proposes a multifaceted concept of artist teacher practice. In this thesis, the notion of hybridity and diversity in artist teacher practice and the implications for democratic models of teaching and learning is subject to both theoretical, empirical, and artistic inquiry. The employment of different lenses enables a multi-layered approach to a complex practice. By focusing on the knowledge incorporated in the practice of two Dutch artist teachers this thesis informs how artist teacher practice relates to models of democratic teaching and learning. The miniature dioramas visually explore my own perception of democratic learning spaces and add an extra auto-ethnographic layer of understanding to artist teacher pedagogy. Central in this thesis is the notion of a pedagogical thirdspace. A spatial representation of social realities helps to create a critical understanding of human life. A thirdspace is a place in the margins between reality and ideals (Soja, 1999). When binary models of understanding are exchanged for real-life knowledge of the pedagogical practice of artist teachers an ambiguous open space emerges, where there is room for experiential learning, uncertainty, risk-taking, care, equality, inclusion, tacit experience, sensitivity, play, flexibility, and conflict. The engaged pedagogy (hooks, 1994) of artist teachers emancipates learners because of the fact that the duality of the artist teacher invites learners to join in a democratic, living model of artistic practice.
This autoethnographic study investigates my self-perception of my artistic abilities which I posit as my Creative Self Efficacy (CSE). This is a part-practice thesis which uses arts-based research methods to investigate shifting self-perceptions and understandings of creativity and how these may have influenced my visual arts practice. CSE can be defined as one’s view of and belief in one’s creative abilities. Many scholars have written about the power of self-efficacy to condition behavioural choices, motivations and persistence. This research provides an autoethnographic enquiry into how these self-beliefs can shape, limit or enhance the possibilities for creative practice. The primary aim is to better understand the relationship between my own CSE and the influence of these on my creative practice. Arts-based methods enabled me to explore this territory, allowing a self-awareness to be developed through responding to the self-judgements and doubts experienced during the creative process. Reflexive resonances between these experiences of self-efficacy and pedagogical implications were made and framed through the lenses of theories such as habitus and my different roles of artist, teacher and researcher. Main findings include the influences of social comparisons, parental socialisation, and approaches and attitudes to art-making to my CSE, culminating in an experimental shift in practice which embraces a process approach. These findings suggest implications for pedagogical practices and approaches to art-making which demonstrate awareness of self-evaluative judgements and embrace uncertainty, ambiguity and not knowing.
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