chapter  2
14 Pages

‘It’s all about art!’

Crossing borders of academia and arts practice in an arts-integrated educational project in South Africa
WithGerard M. Samuel, Peter Vadim, Fabian Hartzenberg, Liesl Hartman

‘It’s All about Art!’ is an arts-integrated teaching and research project given its title by a learner at a primary school in Cape Town, South Africa, who participates in this ongoing project. The project includes professionals from dance, the visual arts and design and an endeavour to cross borders of academia and arts practice to develop new strategies both for teaching the arts and for pursuing research of children’s meaning-making processes within educational practice that integrates the art forms. Through a number of workshops, we explore ways to integrate the art forms for the children to become conscious of the concepts of space and relationships. We work on creating connections between the children’s experiences of their homes and the school as significant spaces in their daily lives. We do this by exploring how they can get to know the different spaces in more embodied ways, and how they can express themselves about their experiences through different modalities. We seek to catch processes as they are happing in the workshops through the film and photography media and to foster reflection about the experiences of the workshops through stimulated recall dialogues, the dialogues being based on the children’s drawings, paintings, photographs they take themselves using disposable cameras and photos taken by us as the artist-educators. Analyses of productions, dialogues and visual material contribute to understanding what significance arts education might have to these children’s lives by exploring what opportunities for learning the exercises give in a broader perspective.