Making Space For Identity, Diversity And Voice In A Transcultural Visual Arts Community Of Practice

Conference: 

Discipline: 

Graphic Design & Visual Art

Keywords: 

  • learning approaches, cultural influence, multi-disciplinary education

There is national and institutional pressure to transform education, to revisit curriculums and approaches to teaching and learning and to address issues around dominant worldviews, inclusiveness and diversity. Visual arts lecturer practitioners, like other academics, are being challenged to respond.

We know that the students entering our programmes, in all their growing diversity, provide new challenges, bringing with them as they do different and often complex social, cultural and familial identities, some of which they leave, wittingly or unwittingly, willingly or unwillingly, at the door, as they look to conform to the expectations of the disciplinary communities.

I maintain that the time is ripe for the teaching and learning approaches used to bring students into the visual arts disciplines/discourses to be appraised and problematized, for lecturer practitioners to reflect on their practices and for theories-in-practice to be set down on paper. To this end I reflect on one entrance level collective teaching practice, to see where the approaches to teaching and learning meet the needs of our diverse student body, and where adaptation and change is called for.

I conclude that lecturer practitioners need to move beyond the confines of their disciplinary knowledge, establish transdiciplinary teaching partnerships, and acquire the literacies of diversity and transformative educational theory, as they face the challenges involved in making connections with diverse groups of students, with different cultural frames of reference (Adams, Bell and Griffin 2007), (Steyn 2007).

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