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The makers of new words: A principally ethnographic account of community artists’ language

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This principally ethnographic research investigated the pedagogies of eight community artists. Unstructured, artist-led interviews produced salient concepts that were examined in participation observation of twenty workshops across five sites. I chose to represent their pedagogies through three descriptive cases studies that feature four of the eight artists working in outdoor settings. Their workshops served nursery and primary school children, alongside nursery nurses, teachers and members of their families including parents and grandparents. Using a nested case study approach, I included the perspectives of all eight artists to provide their interpretations of what they do and why do it when engaging others in so-called informal, community settings. I found that the community artists attempt to create conditions for open-ended enquiry across five dimensions: space, time, material, body and talk. This article focuses on one of these dimensions – that of language.
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Keywords: artist pedagogy; community arts; dialogic pedagogy; early childhood education; metaphor; pedagogy; socially-engaged arts

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Brown University, USA

Publication date: 25 October 2012

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  • 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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