This digital PhD Thesis and a/r/tographic study is a multimodal living inquiry, curated as a digital collection of images, essays and ethnographic video, and situated within embodied praxis. The findings from the inquiry inform our understanding of the complex yet commensurate building of identities in art education.
Cloud Collectors (trying to hold onto knowledge) Paper weaving (The International Journal of Education through Art), maps, 2014-2016
Wunderkammer (Cabinet of Wonder)
I seek to understand the role that personalised and rhizomatic learning plays in the development of artist identity and creative practice in secondary art education as a/r/tographer. Informed by theorists in critical, social and visual cultures in art education, I explore how learning in and through a personalised portfolio as both process and product, affects creativity and identity as artist through learning to see and notice the common threads in practice over time. I examine this through the lenses of a/r/tography, critical auto-ethnography and ethnographic video in a storied pedagogy, here on site.
Situated within a/r/tographic inquiry and embodied research, this study addresses rhizomatic learning in art education and in arts based educational research and literature, specifically how important an understanding of creativity and creative practice are for students as art makers and responders to art, as makers, historians, theorists and critics. While art and art education are commonly discussed as creative, promoted as important aspects of cultural thinking, values collaboration, creativity and problem solving in schools, few studies have designed a personalised learning space to inform these practices and explore them from the artist-researcher-teacher viewpoint.
I am an artist-researcher-teacher, I adopt this relational approach to this study, informed by a/r/tography, digital pedagogy, critical auto-ethnography and arts based educational research. This rhizomatic, reflective and relational methodology includes the researcher as participant, performing the research and designing learning through a personalised narrative. To include the artist voice as authoritative, digital ethnographic interviews are included as a/r/tefacts in the study design.
As a/r/tographer art making, narrative and learning design are an important component of the meaning making process for pedagogy. Created as a bricolage of creativity, this study is rendered in the excess of art, research and teaching in the digital. It is a woven and intertwined personalised learning design, curated as a digital currere to invite creative affect through engagement with relational and rhizomatic learning and construct a new narrative for art education: A narrative of practice based pedagogies through a turn toward embodied praxis, a turn toward portfolio pedagogies, a turn toward a storied personalised curriculum and a turn to the digital for self discovery and creativity.
This digital thesis is dedicated to all of the disruptors, dreamers and creatives.
To the a/r/tographers and auto-ethnographers who broke new ground so that I could tread lightly behind you, and for the art educators on whose shoulders I stand.
This Portfolio is dedicated to my amazing family (esp. Grant, Zach and Immy) who have been my giant supporters and constant inspiration.
To the co-participating artists Belinda, Ahmad, Flávia, Glenn, Pamela,
Pamela, Laurie, Zahrah and Samuel who each opened my eyes, ears and heart through their shared artist stories, lives and practice.
To my Mum, Dad and sisters for letting me be me, even when I have pushed the boundaries.
And, to my family, friends and colleagues for endless love and
There are too many people who have supported this living inquiry to name all of you and not enough space, nor time, to acknowledge everyone to the extent that they deserve.
Under the supervision of Associate Professor Wesley Imms, Dr Marnee Watkins and Dr Adele Flood I was given the freedom to pursue my research in my own way, and I have greatly appreciated that freedom. It has been a great pleasure to work and discuss deeply my thinking with these three giants of art education. Thank you for supporting, provoking, guiding and encouraging me.
Thank you to my fellow Association of Authentic, Experiential and Evidence-Based Learning (AAEEBL) Board of Directors and the whole AAEEBL community for the amazing work you do in portfolios. Thank you to my Art Education Victoria (AEV) colleagues and all of my students I have taught over the last 20 years. You have been the ones that have inspired me to be the best visual arts and design educator I could imagine.
I, Kathryn S. Coleman declare that this PhD digital thesis is no more than 100,000 words in length. This thesis contains no material that has been submitted previously, in whole or in part, for the award of any other academic degree or diploma. Except where otherwise indicated, this thesis is my own work.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.
Please cite this appropriately .
Coleman, K.S. (2017). An a/r/tist in wonderland: Exploring identity, creativity and digital portfolios as a/r/tographer, Ph.D. dissertation, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne, Australia, 2017. Retrieved from http://www.artographicexplorations.com
As a researcher who lives between Australian and American research communities, please note that I use both spelling conventions throughout, often located in spaces that require the spelling of a word to fit the context.