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‘Art is different’: Material practice, learning and co-making at The Social Studio

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This article examines the relationship between traditional and creative research methods through the case study of The Social Studio (TSS), an art-based social enterprise in Melbourne, Australia. TSS aims to address systemic barriers to employment and education for people from refugee and migrant backgrounds through training and work experience in fashion and textiles. Specifically, the article reflects on the embodied, co-making learning space and model of TSS which addresses some of the barriers faced by migrant and refugee students in accessing formal education. Our research brings together traditional research methods, such as interviews and observation, as well as a creative workshop where both research subjects and researchers were taught a weaving activity. The article reflects critically on the limitations of traditional research methods, the challenges of researching in creative community contexts and also the need to document and analyse how material and embodied experiences impact on social and community development.

Keywords: art; education; fashion; migrants; social enterprise; textiles; vocational training

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000121633550Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology

Publication date: March 1, 2020

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Arts and Communities seeks to provide a critical examination of the practices known as community or participatory arts, encompassing a field of work defined for this purpose as incorporating active creative ollaboration between artists and people in a range of communities.The journal will take a cross-artform and interdisciplinary approach,including work happening in performance, visual arts and media,writing, multimedia and collaboration involving digital technology and associated forms. In part this will create an archive that will document work which can otherwise be ephemeral
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