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Male & Female BIGHEADS: Different ways of looking

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The educational activity discussed in this article came about as the result of an invitation to the Instituto de Estudos da Criana (Institute of Children's Studies) at Minho University to take part in some celebrations for International Children's Day. The choice of Bigheads as a topic was determined by the fact that small-scale interdisciplinary projects had already been set up in the different arts departments and they shared an interest in local cultural patrimony. Grotesque Bighead figures are strongly rooted in the Portuguese popular imagination and, over time, have come to represent stereotypical social types that have remained constant formally and symbolically, and have resisted innovation. The Visual Education, Drama and Music course teams at the Instituto worked together and deconstructed the tradition by taking the Bigheads out of their local, plastic dimension into a global, multicultural space. The deconstruction of the Bighead figure by teachers and students went through three stages: first, discussing and planning curriculum content; second, planning and making; and third, taking part in and sharing this event with the local community.

Keywords: Bigheads; Portuguese patrimony; arts education; culture; interdisciplinary

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Minho University, Portugal.

Publication date: 2008-12-01

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Education through Art is an English language journal that promotes relationships between art and education. The term 'art education' should be taken to include art, craft and design education. Each issue, published three times a year within a single volume, consists of peer-reviewed articles mainly in the form of research reports and critical essays, but may also include exhibition reviews and image-text features.

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