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    Art and design learning journey: interactions between learners and materials

    Martins, Nicola Ruth (2023) Art and design learning journey: interactions between learners and materials. Doctoral thesis (EdD), Manchester Metropolitan University.


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    This thesis is an empirical explorative and new materialist qualitative research journey representing a secondary school art and design teacher’s awakening to the importance and vitality of art education to young learners with regards to their own intrinsic learning journey and their subsequent wider outlook on life. Secondary education and specifically art education is vulnerable and prone to political whims, lack of interest and shifts of policy since 1768 and the founding of the Royal Academy. The historical and political lineage of art and design education is outlined along with the lasting impact of language used within more recent statutory documentation. Little research currently exists that specifically looks at what is generated within the processes of making and doing that are intrinsic to creative activity and are lived out in every art and design classroom environment. Within this thesis I will explore the rich potential for haptic and tacit knowledge to be generated within the creative process, driven by heuristic experiences. I will also highlight the generation of powerful emotional relationships generated between human and non-human actants which occur as students engage with making and doing within the art classroom. Through working directly with different creative processes and materials, including research, poetry, design, and ceramics, two classes of year 9 students explored both collaboratively and individually the value of making and responding to both their own learning experience and that of working with others. The physicist and academic Karen Barad offers a novel platform of diffractive analysis with which to interpret the research project data in order to challenge the accepted positionality of merely working through a creative process in a procedural way. Diffractive analysis is also central in the analysis of the intra-actions between human and nonhuman actants opening up further discussions challenging established hierarchy and status quo presently found in secondary education. The genesis of the creative process is explored through the material discursive phenomena created through the intra-actions between human and nonhuman matter.

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