The Bwo-Me (Life’s Breath) Creativity Workshop: Visual Arts and Education

By Bronwen Wade Leeuwen.

Published by The International Journal of Arts Education

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The ‘Bwo-Me’ (Life’s Breath) intercultural ‘hands-on’ workshops are particularly concerned with issues of inclusivity and teaching for diversity and provide the opportunity to experience and understand arts-based practices that are culturally derived. The studio-based workshops aim to foster ‘creativity’ potentialities in pre-service teachers so as to increase their capacity to mentor children with significant learning disabilities, such as gifted dyslexics. This visual art-based intercultural ‘hands-on’ workshop provides space for teachers-in-training to become positive cultural agents for change (Saltmash 2006). The research methodology applies theories from hermeneutics and post-structuralism to emphasize issues of representation, repetition, signification, spatial awareness, meaning, identity and difference. This socio-cultural dimension to learning in the Arts highlights the inter-relation between the individual, visual arts education and the socio-cultural context (Atkinson 2002; Eisner 1972). This ‘Bwo-Me’ (Life’s Breath) case study explores the works of contemporary Aboriginal artists from the Boomalli Aboriginal Co-operative Ltd. in Sydney (Bancroft 2011). The research builds on reconciliation themes recently developed by the author/artist/curator during studio-based research with pre-service primary art teachers at a tertiary institute. A variety of drawing, clay work and printmaking practices were explored on different surfaces as a way of engaging participants’ imaginations and heightening their sensory awareness. ‘Mindful Creativity’ tendencies (Dunoon 2002; Dunoon and Langer 2011) and dispositions were noticed during the workshops while artefacts were measured using elements from Torrance (1974) creative thinking by noticing concepts such as fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration.

Keywords: Aboriginal Artists, Arts-based Practice, Pre-service Teachers, Identity and Difference, Mindful ‘Creativity’

The International Journal of Arts Education, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp.67-79. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 711.207KB).

Dr. Bronwen Wade Leeuwen

PhD Candidate, Department of Education, Human Science Faculty, Macquarie University & Workshop Art Centre, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Bronwen Wade Leeuwen was born in Sydney. She has a Diploma from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore. Wade-Leeuwen (Lewis, van Leeuwen, Wen-chen) was a student of Chinese Painting at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (1972–75). Wen-chen was invited to Taiwan as Artist-in-Residence in 2003 and 2005 where she studied Chang Da-qians works and the works of other Tang dynasty masters at the Taiwan Palace Museum in 2005. (Wen-chen’s original painted scrolls can be viewed from the artist on request). She has extensive international experience in the study and creation of art works and the teaching of art.