Betwixt Sights and Sites: A Third Space for Understandings and Engagement with Visual Arts Education

By Trudy-Ann Barrett and Janinka Greenwood.

Published by The International Journal of Arts Education

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper examines the primacy of place in meaningful artmaking. It honors the interdependent relationship which the arts and place share and argues for this symbiosis to be explored in more critical ways within visual arts education at the lower secondary levels. It jumpstarts these explorations by reporting on the initial stages of a project within a New Zealand secondary school that explores how a conscious integration of the arts and students’ life worlds may offer a third space where visual arts pedagogy may be re-imagined in more meaningful ways for our students today. The third space argued for is one that emerges from the blurring of existing curriculum boundaries as students’ understandings of the arts and place engage each other, giving way to new possibilities. It questions taken for granted assumptions about the displacement of visual arts education from the contexts wherein they operate and subsequently employs creative strategies to interpret the results from the cultural encounter. Whilst a community focus is not new within visual arts curriculum, the paper focuses on how the in-between space addresses critical issues within place and how the arts can subvert these issues by re-imagining or re-marking them. This third space operates at the intersection of place-conscious education and visual culture theory. It entangles these scholarships to establish a framework for visual arts pedagogy that is critical, culturally responsive and transformative for secondary arts education contexts.

Keywords: Visual Culture, Third Space, Place-based Education, Critical Pedagogy of Place

The International Journal of Arts Education, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp.57-66. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 266.386KB).

Trudy-Ann Barrett

PhD Candidate, School of Literacies and Arts in Education, College of Education, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

Trudy-Ann Barrett holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Fine Arts, Education and Arts Education and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Canterbury, College of Education in Christchurch, New Zealand. Her experiences as a visual artist, educator at the secondary and tertiary levels of the Jamaican education system and Cultural Coordinator at the University of Technology, Jamaica, help to frame her research interests in visual arts curriculum development through the multiple lenses of critical pedagogy, place-based education, visual culture and arts-based research. Her current research investigates ways that visual arts teachers may use artmaking to help students in New Zealand and Jamaica to recognize, critically analyze and interpret their senses of place in the 21st century. The premise of the research is that the arts can function as a catalyst for resistance against educational and social norms that are unemancipatory for all as well as be a means of helping our students make that critical negotiation between their various lifeworlds.

Prof. Janinka Greenwood

Associate Dean, Professor of Education and Applied Drama, Postgraduate Studies in Education, College of Education, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

Janinka Greenwood is Professor of Education and Applied Drama at the College of Education and Associate Dean of Postgraduate Studies in Education at the University of Canterbury In Christchurch, New Zealand. Her research is based in a group of interconnected areas: education, theatre and the intercultural space where these take place. While some of her projects are in one or the other of these separate areas, she is keenly interested in where they overlap and extend our conceptualisations of aesthetics, semiotics, scholarship and knowledge. Professor Greenwood has published widely and is an editor for a number of journals. Her works include “Arts-Based research: Weaving Magic and Meaning,” “Tracing the Voyage of an Ancestral Canoe: Working in Drama Cross-Culturally” and “Te Mauri Pakeaka: A Journey into the Third Space,” to name a few.