January 18, 2016
It’s Monday which means it is back to reading, reflecting, and writing. After my travels, birthday, and general back-to-work logistics hiatus, writing feels both wonderful and intimidating. All the people who say writing is a habit even more than a flash of genius and the best way to write better is to write poorly with great frequency…are correct. Writing allows me to get ideas in my head out into a visual space and in so doing begin to untangle, sort out, admire, critique and generally sense make. It’s hard at times because doing all of the above requires slowing down sufficiently to be mindful.
But now, I’ve climbed back aboard the #5papers train which means I’m back to not only writing more regularly but also reading, reflecting, and generally structuring my week so that I can be more mindful.
Today being Monday means it’s time to set the week’s intention. Last round I was all about exploring narrative inquiry as a potential methodology and design educators currently teaching hybrid/online courses as my research subjects. Though this larger idea and I only been together a short time, I’m totally in love and ready to commit and may be fantasizing about our long-term future together. As every good love story must have conflict, my supervisor still doesn’t know and I should probably clue him in sooner than later. But…that’s a conversation for another day.
My intention for this week is to engage with materials that explore the relationship between the academy and the art education world, with a particular emphasis on the fuzzy place that is training in vocations that once were considered “craft” and thus outside of formalized academic learning but for the last almost 100 years or so have moved into institutions of higher learning.
Last week I had an interesting discussion with a friend (who is a design educator) and he brought up the tension that he sees regarding identity and legitimacy for arts educators. He said he thinks that because we as a field tend to be outside so much of traditional academic structure, we in many ways are more willing to dilute our pedagogy to fit into the larger structures (to gain legitimacy) than to view our place on the fringe as a privilege for the unique vision it provides. Things like online studio pedagogy and online learning in general for art and design education can be seen not as a good, progressive, step but rather as a threat because we’ve only “just” convinced everyone that the studio needs to be on college campuses and is legit so suddenly denying the need for geographic presence or even calling for a new twist on things can threaten everything.
I think he has something there.
With these things in mind, what would it look like for my dissertation to be part of more a reconciling than anything between two very different ways of thinking? Could my dissertation be an artifact that begins to open the door for people who think very differently to come together in commonality, seeing that human connection / online methods of delivery are not binary?
So, it’s with these questions that this week begins! It will be interesting to see where the meandering takes me.