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Kōmako Quilters’ informal learning and the collective zone of proximal development: The ‘5x5 quilt’ project

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This article discusses the informal learning processes of a quilting community, located in Aotearoa New Zealand, as participants engage in a collaborative textile project. Few studies have investigated everyday quilters’ collective learning processes, even though communal quiltmaking has been undertaken over the centuries. The concept of zone of proximal development (zpd) is extended as a ‘collective zone of proximal development’ where people are doing something together. This ethnographic study views quiltmaking as a sociocultural activity, and emphasizes the situated nature of knowing within a community-based setting. Research methods reveal the explicit and tacit dimensions of the quilters’ meaning making. During the fieldwork, flexibility and reflexivity are required to overcome ethical issues as they arise. The guided participation is revealed through the quilters’ interactions as they participated in their collaborative activity. Learning sequences present episodic details of the way these interactions are constructed and developed. The quilters actively seek to increase opportunities for learning and for sharing skills and knowledge through participation partnerships involving multi-way collaborations.

Keywords: collective zone of proximal development; ethical issues; ethnographic study; guided participation; informal learning; quilting

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: 0000000106969806Massey University 2: 0000000404102071University of Helsinki

Publication date: March 1, 2020

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  • 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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