A maze'ing: An a/r/tographic study of artist-teacher practice through active imagination process

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
Degree programme
Master’s Programme in Nordic Visual Studies and Art Education (NoVA)
The aim of this thesis is to invite the reader through an a/r/tographic research which is focused on studying the role of artist-teacher. One of the challenges that artist-teachers face throughout their professional career is to find a balance between their identities, to fulfill the desire to create and the aim to educate. Self-understanding and being mindful about one’s artistic process is a necessity for artist-teachers in order to be able to understand others’ ambitions and the ways to facilitate their artistic development. Engaging in a personal artistic activity with the purpose of gaining insight about the factors that makes one an artist will lead to significant impact and knowledge on the ways one will teach. This thesis analyzes the in-between space where three domains of artistic practice, research and teaching come together as a form of living inquiry. By doing so I am realizing how each area help me to understand ways of enriching my identity as an artist-teacher. Furthermore, this auto-ethnographic research is mainly referencing rhizomatic relational way of meaning making through the dynamic state of transformation and becoming. The method of Active Imagination which has been developed by Carl Jung, is elaborated as the core concept of the artistic practice at one point and eventually influencing the pedagogical approach, that leads to the development of cognitive skills and accessing new knowledge. Spontaneous drawing as an expressive approach of artistic activity, will be defined as an essential way to encourage primary students on finding the personal voice and facilitating the activity of imagination. Also, this form of activity provides the opportunity for communication and interaction with students and it enriches teacher’s involvement as a guide towards students’ understanding of their own artistic expressions. The artistic practice presented beside the text is a continues drawing pipeline which is based on Active Imagination process, with the purpose of recording spontaneous images in the “waking dream” state and connecting them together through a timeline to form a maze-type structure. This never-ending project with the constantly changing nature acts as a way to emphasize on the value of transformation as the key factor of formation of the integrated identity of artist-researcher-teacher.
Rastas, Marja
Thesis advisor
Rastas, Marja
a/r/tography, artist-teacher, arts-based research, active Imagination, spontaneity, art education
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