The Creative Process
An Reflective Analysis Based on the book - Potlach as Pedagogy
Through the creation of the video series "Humans, Artists and Dancers," my students and I engaged in deep learning and co-creation. Together we explored the embodiment of some of the key ideas, theories and concepts that have resonated deeply with me in this Masters of Arts Education program and have now inspired my pedagogy in the arts, in education and in life. This video series is just the beginning of what I hope to be a life-long inquiry on what it means to be a good-hearted HUMAN in process, a purposeful and playful ARTIST, and a valiant and embodied DANCER.
SFU Masters of Arts Education
PROGRAM OVERVIEW & HIGHLIGHTS
IDEAS AND ISSUES IN AESTHETIC EDUCATION
Celeste Snowber kicked off our second year with aesthetic inquiry. Together our cohort explored the meaning of beauty and the difference between the aesthetic and the anesthetic. Through the pedagogy of place, we engaged in art making in order to discover what deep listening, solitude and slowing down can teach us about ourselves and humanity. In my own inquiry, I found the beauty of the spaces-in-between. The negative spaces both in my life and in my art making has inspired me to see beauty in what is imperfect and incomplete. The concept of wabi-sabi helped me to appreciate the beauty in brokenness and decay as part of the inevitable fabric of life. In my own desperate quest for beauty and purpose, I realized that the most important parts of my life are the small but beautiful things that blossom in the spaces-in-between my busy schedule (ie. a hug from a loved one, a moment to breathe, and a conversation with a friend on the commute to work). I learned that the beauty in our lives and our humanity is not found in perfection but deep listening.
ARTISTS, SOCIETY AND ARTS EDUCATION
Our cohort was very lucky to learn form Vicki Kelly for a second time in our program.With her guidance, we were able to deepen our knowledge in Indigenous holistic education. This time however, we engaged in a variety of immersive indigenous learning experiences such as building our own Coast Salish drums, participating in a smudging ceremony, sounding our drums to the four orientations, learning a women's warrior song with our drums as accompaniment, learning from indigenous guest speakers, elders and other knowledge keepers, learning some metis jigging etc. Through ceremony, art making, drumming, life-writing and story, our knowledge of aboriginal culture was enriched. Through our readings, we learned lessons from nature and our environment surrounding us. Gregory Cajete's book, "Indigenous Community," in particular, inspired in me the desire to decolonize my classroom through my teaching practices and through the community culture I create in my dance program.
EMBODIMENT AND CURRICULUM INQUIRY
This embodiment course was long awaited and was the perfectly imperfect ending to two of the most impactful years of academic career. Celeste Snowber led us through an embodied and experiential course that enabled us to use our bodies and our senses as a place of deep listening and deep inquiry. Through embodiment practices and writing from the body we gave our bodies voice. Creating body narratives became an act of honouring our bodies as a knowledge centre and an act of appreciating the body for it's capabilities and it's imperfections.These body practices and writing practices were visceral, mental and soulful experiences that connected to our humanity. My final bodygraphy encouraged me to both acknowledge and love my body in process. This course provided a space for me to both reignite and redefine my relationship with my body.
CURRICULUM THEORY AND ART EDUCATION
Our first semester with Vicki Kelly launched our cohort into a new paradigm of learning and knowing. We were encouraged to see art, education and life through multiple perspectives opening our eyes to alternative possibilities (aka. many eyed seeing). Through the telling and retelling of our stories we were encouraged to recall the people, events, animals and environments that have shaped who we are today. We were asked to find our face, heart and foundation. We were prompted to identify our mission as arts educators and to articulate with grace, the impact and importance of the arts for the holistic growth of our students and ourselves. Through an indigenous lens, we explored creative, artistic, and human developmental processes (ie. to Seek, to Know, to Shape and to Show).
INQUIRY, CREATIVITY AND COMMUNITY: DRAMA IN EDUCATION
Exploring performative inquiry with Lynn Fels brought our cohort through a variety of learning experiences filled with surprises and stop moments. Through drama games, play building, improvisation, and performance, we were encouraged to open ourselves to the creative process and to release our expectations. Through the creation and sharing of postcards, I discovered how my life often offers a "Tug on my Sleeve" which are moments of natality rich in opportunities for growth. Our readings and class discussions brought forward lessons about how to build engaging learning environments for our students (ie. Complex Learning Systems) and how different kinds of theatre can activate/empower our students/audiences (ie. Forum Theate). I learned that good teaching and learning does not always require a script or plan. Engaged and meaningful teaching and learning can also come from purposeful play and improvisation.
MUSIC EDUCATION AS THINKING IN SOUND
Through an anthropological lens, Michael Ling introduced us to how sound, instruments and music making has (and will continue) to influence us as a people. Our musical autobiographies allowed us to excavate memories in our lives that are deeply connected to music an have shaped our individual identities. Sharing these musical autobiographies with our cohort, was an invitation for us to relive these memories and listen to them with empathy, support and celebration for one another. We learned the importance of having community musical experiences especially now in today's culture of individualism (ie. attending concerts, singing songs by the camp fire, participating in community choirs, dancing with friends or playing on public pianos). I learned that we don't need to be singers or skilled instrumentalists in order to have the capacity to participate in meaningful musical experiences.