How do we define an artist who is a teacher, a teacher who is an artist,
and somewhere in-between a researcher too?
In the beginning of the semester, I gave a presentation that asked the question how do we define an artist who is a teacher, a teacher who is an artist, and somewhere in-between a researcher too? This question was on my mind because my thesis project and personal goals involved each role, yet deep down was struggling with unifying these roles into one. I recall one conversation I had with a teacher who said, “You can’t compartmentalize yourself…it will only make it a harder journey”. During my time in Cultural Productions, however, I was exposed to a unique, student led learning environment where readings, collaborations, art making, conversations, and presentations helped answer my overarching question. After this course, I have come several steps closer to understanding how a teacher, artist, and researcher can work in unison, and have an amazing impact in the field of public school art education as a critical art educator and cultural producer.
To Many To Count
Some Influential Resources
This Cultural Productions course offered a range of things, from local resources to workshops, that helped me further understand how to be a critical art educator. There were so many influential things that this one short presentation will not do justice to them all. However, I have chosen some aspects that were the most inspiring and contributed to my thesis research in place based art education.
2: Lulua’s Spoken Word Workshop
3: Drea’s Presentation on Working with Admusen High School Students.
4: And of course, bell hooks and what she calls the “decolonization of the mind” and engaged pedagogy. In her book Belonging: A Culture of Place, she addressed how mass media representation help people blame others for their shortcommings. She states,
“Mass media representation of poor folk in general convey to the public the notion that poor people are in dire straits because of the bad choices they have made.” (hooks, 2009, 30)
I have chosen this quote because it highlights how important it is to always be ready to practice a self-reflexive teaching practice and supports reaching out beyond what we know or have been exposed to with intent of understanding other people and their positions. This very act helps foster compassion and supports a way to teach toward cultural diversity.
TEACHING TO HONOR CULTURAL DIVERSITY
I strongly believe that teaching to honor cultural diversity begins with creating an environment that is for and by the students. This not only promotes a democratic learning environment, but also a space where students are invited to share their knowledge and expertise. This very act is what fosters a compassionate space where cultural diversity and individual perspectives can flourish in addition to addressing issues, topics, and concepts that our students are dealing with on a daily basis. I have included a video presenting the Freedom School which is a social justice school based in Chicago. There school is a great example of a democratic learning environment that teaches to honor cultural diversity. I am presenting another resource because being a critical art educator involves being an active participant in sharing information and keeping our collective alive. Teaching for social justice means that we as critical art educators keep open eyes and hearts to what is going on in our surrounding environment and staying updated so we can become prepared teachers and advocates for our youth.