Art Practice as Research in the Classroom: Creative Inquiry for Understanding Oneself and the World

By Julia Marshall.

Published by The International Journal of Arts Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: January 24, 2014 $US5.00

The article describes Art Practice Research (APR), an art pedagogy in which students independently investigate and interpret a theme of their choice. Based on the concept that art practice is a form of research, this approach blends inquiry and thinking skills associated with the natural and social sciences with interpretive and inventive methods linked to art. Inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education, APR calls for a structured yet open-ended inquiry-based curriculum. Equally inspired by the International Baccalaureate Program in Art, it stresses in-depth, prolonged investigations by students using “Research Workbooks” as tools to develop and record their inquiry. In emphasizing critical inquiry, creative visual interpretation, and text-based reflection, two important goals are achieved. Students construct deep, personal, and fresh understandings of ideas and issues that are particularly significant to them, and also become acutely aware of their creative research processes. This is evidenced in the work of one typical student from Berkeley High School in Berkeley, California.

Keywords: Art-based Research, Classrooms, Students

The International Journal of Arts Education, Volume 8, Issue 1, April 2014, pp.13-24. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: January 24, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.412MB)).

Professor Julia Marshall

Professor of Art Education, Art Department, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California, USA

Julia Marshall holds an M.F.A. in sculpture and an Ed.D. in international multicultural education. Presently, she is professor of art education at San Francisco State University. Prior to coming to SFSU, she was a teaching artist in Northern California schools and museums specializing in art integration. Her interest lies in art-based research as it applies to classroom practice, creative thinking as a way of learning and building understandings, substantive, multidimensional arts integration, and integrative, research-driven contemporary art. She is active in three Bay Area arts integration initiatives as a consultant and as faculty. She has published articles in Studies in Art Education, Art Education Journal, and numerous art education anthologies. Julia has also given multiple presentations at local, national (USA) and international arts education conferences.