|B.47 | Wednesday, 18 July 2007, 11:00 - 11:30, Room B2 |
|Artistic and narrative scholarly interaction
|The proposed presentation addresses the conference theme of "new methods of teaching and learning" through exploring the development of scholarly identity and by proposing a new form of mentorship. This paper explores various forms of visual and narrative communication between two scholars: a Ph.D. student and her advisor. Further, the paper proposes an alternative form of mentorship that advances from visual and narrative performativity.
Both presenters, Suominen and Kallio, are invested in developing the methodologies of arts-based inquiry and a/r/torgraphy (Irwin & de Cosson, 2004). Kallio's doctoral work investigates non-verbal and bodily communication through an artistic collaboration with a person with autism. Due to the nature of her inquiry, the scholarly mentorship also studies the potential of visual and narrative forms of intellectual communication.
The authors define their scholarship through a metaphoric in-between and relational space in which various aspects of one's professional identity – artist, researcher, and teacher – intersect and intertwine (Irwin & de Cosson, 2004). Further, one's private life is seen inseparable and inherently interwoven with all aspects of scholarship. Artistic creation, learning, theoretical understanding, practice, ethics, and emotions are formed in this relational interactivity, thus all aspects of one's private and public life contribute to the representation of knowledge (Finlay & Knowles, 1995). Both scholars have adopted this holistic approach towards scholarship that attempts to reveal what is hidden from one's consciousness, and to imagine, create, and represent in visuals and narratives what is still unattainable through cognition.
While it has become a standard in the Western artistic practice to verbalize the meaning embedded in visuals in a form of verbal communication, further, most often relying on the systematic practices of art criticism, Suominen and Kallio study the visual co-creation of meaning and knowledge independent from cognitive knowledge construction. Visual meaning is not seen as raw material for cognition, instead relational meaning is created through visual creation and narration. In this mentorship relationship, deep, complete and complex relational understandings are found in visual form; these visuals most "accurately" communicate the situation, context, and modes of knowledge in which meaning originated.
Writing as a form of inquiry, as an active form of creating meaning (Richardson, 1997), is understood through performativity; not separate from visual creation, but complementary through co-construction. The combination of visual and narrative performativity creates complexity, which further aids the researcher in developing critical self-reflexivity and positionality. This approach to scholarship relies on the researcher's trust in the validity of his/her experience; the scholar is seen as an instrument of inquiry whose subjectivity needs to be accepted and openly studied (Eskola & Suoranta, 1998).
The two scholars participating in this study live on different continents, Europe and the United States. The dialogue is held using traditional communication methods, such as e-mail, phone, I-chat, and occasional meetings. The emphasis of the interaction, however, is in visual and narrative exchange. Suominen and Kallio exchange visual artwork and visual/verbal work through e-mail, traditional mail, and exhibit their work together. Suominen photographs her surroundings and uses photography to study her transnational experiences. Kallio's dissertation research studies visual and bodily communication through collaborative painting. For both, individual research is not only inspired by their own artistic work but by creative exchange with the other. This, the authors believe, is a significant educational perspective. An artist constructs meaning through interaction with his/her surroundings, which helps further question one's subjectivity and positionality. Further, according to the research paradigm suggested here, wider understanding of one's positionality and methodology can be gained through creative relationality. Thus, one's "living inquiry" not only entails "being with" one's inquiry and creativity but functioning within relational creativity (Irwin & de Cosson, 2004) in which two subjectivities form a temporary and contextual "us." This undefined and always in-flux active creative space is the focus of study (Nancy, 2000).
The proposed presentation introduces the theoretical framework of the proposed methodology, provides examples of the artistic exchange, and makes applications to all levels of art education mentorship. The authors suggest studying non-verbal intellectual communication as one of the most important areas of study for the field of art education.
Suominen Guyas, Anniina