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Social media as conduit in art: Understanding connections to communities of practice through professional learning theory

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While there is some interest in the use of social media applications in university teaching contexts, there is also a significant amount of hesitation about their inclusion in curricula. A key benefit is the way social media allows students opportunities to explore and connect with professional communities of practice to which they aspire to join. In this article the potential to access professional communities of practice in new ways is illustrated through the case of Instagram in university art classes. The possibilities afforded by this medium are made explicit through the example of one artist using Instagram. Through the lens of practice-based professional learning theory I argue that social media such as Instagram create the possibility of altering social relations to connect people in faster, more intimate and professionally significant ways than we have previously known. Following that, implications for university curricula design are explored.
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Keywords: Instagram; communities of practice; higher education; professional practice art; social media

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences

Publication date: December 1, 2015

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  • The scope of the journal is broad and is aimed at facilitating a wide spectrum of perspectives. It is essentially a medium for engaging the rich and multifaceted process of learning and teaching art that takes place in the classroom, studio, and beyond. However, the seriousness of journal is not out weighed by making critical topics accessible and readable to a large constituency of readers. It is a forum to be reflective on the process of creating and teaching art, embrace teaching art in a variety of contexts, engage art appreciation experiences, share scholarship in teaching artistry, and celebrate the rich traditions of art making and teaching.
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