Research Session - Description of Topics

24/10/2012 23:03


Creativity and Aesthetic Experience Symposium

Research Session, Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa

Friday, 6:15 – 7:15 p.m., October 26th, 2012 LMX 122

Julie Comber Environmental Education through Wildlife Clubs (PhD Supervisor: B. W. Andrews)

Julie Comber’s doctoral research focuses on environmental education through Wildlife Clubs in the Rupununi region of Guyana with the Makushi. She will share her experience of encountering Art in her research: first, in her fieldwork as a rich source to understand the impact of the Wildlife Clubs; second, as a means for her to reflect upon and analyse her data, and cope with distress, death, and illness while in the field; and third, as the creative and engaging way she plans to disseminate the findings back to the communities she had the privilege to work with.

Genviève Cloutier - Rhizomatic Relations, Embodiment, Teaching and Learning: Manifestations of an Art Party (MA Supervisor: Cynthia Morawski)


In an a/r/tographical mini-study prior to doing my dissertation, I will examine how artists and art educators experience the creative process within a shared space, and how they become teachers and learners therein. Students are receiving less art instruction in public schools than in the 1980’s and 1990’s, and it is of utmost importance to explore alternative pedagogical practices. There is a need for an in-depth understanding of how students can access contemporary art education that honors rhizomatic relations which can be broadly defined as a post-structuralist system of exchange or an “assemblage, in its multiplicity, that acts in semiotic flows, and social flows simultaneously” (Deleuze & Guattari, 2004, p. 25). Historically, art education has focused on expressive objects, and has furthermore emphasized Western-centered formalistic approaches. In a multicultural instructional context, we need to consider other alternatives. A contemporary art education that emphasizes the process, collaboration, and experience rather than the product fuels creativity in all aspects of life, and does so while honoring the rhizomatic relations of its participants. Rhizomatic structures, along with the notion of becoming as the experience of performing self and the development of an experience through the art-making process, has the capacity to harness the way in which students live their lives, thereby making them more aware of their diverse learning styles and cultural beliefs. 

Maha Alkhudair - Saudi Families’ Visual Arts Awareness: the Role of Children’s Art Workshops (Interim Project Supervisor: Awad Ibrahim)


My master’s research was focused on the relationship between visual arts and Saudi Families. My goal was to assess the level of the Saudi family awareness of visual arts and the reasons behind it, and also the role of public art workshops in increasing visual arts awareness. I conducted two children’s art workshops in public places in Riyadh and followed the descriptive research approach for the methodology. A survey was conducted using a questionnaire for each family to complete. Findings indicate that parents are proud of their child’s art creativity and over 85% of the parents agreed that art workshops provide their child with a sense of self-worth, feelings of importance, and emotional release. The majority also believe that visual art influences the aesthetic taste of their children, but almost half of participants’ parents do not believe that visual art is related to the academic achievement, social behavior, or psychological stability. Parents provided their children with the chance to participate, interacted with them during the workshops, and encouraged them to take their time. They found that their children felt free to express themselves and be more creative during the art workshops than when they studied visual art at school.



Maia Giesbrecht - Making Music Together: A study of the impact of participating in music activities on students' social and emotional development (PhD supervisor: B. W. Andrews)


My study will examine the impact of student participation in a musical activity (e.g., choir, orchestra, band, variety show) on students’ musical, social, and emotional development. There are many benefits, both intrinsic and extrinsic to learning in the arts. Much of the research in music has been undertaken from a psychological perspective. However, in order to effectively implement the arts into the curriculum both the psychological and educational benefits for students must be considered. My study will pursue the following questions: “How does participation in music impact on the social and emotional development of students?”; “How does participation in music influence the identity formation of the students?”; “How could schools adopt arts curricula to promote the development of musical intelligence, emotional intelligence, and identity formation?” As music education is principally a shared experience in schools, such as attending music events, performing in groups, and sharing music preferences, the study will focus on the effect of student participation in group activities. Data for the study will be undertaken through interviews, questionnaires, and teacher observation in collaboration with the Leading Note Foundation. It is anticipated that the results will provide a greater understanding of how schools can integrate music into the classroom activities to foster socio-emotional development and identity formation and also provide non-music teachers with practical strategies for integrating music into classroom practices.


Bernie Andrews – New Sounds of Learning: Investigating the parameters of educational music.


There is a lack of new Canadian music available for students enrolled in school music programs, primarily due to a lack of familiarity by many composers of the nature of educational music and very few commissions to compose educational music. New Sounds of Learning: Composing Music for Young Musicians, a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) project, seeks to obtain an in-depth understanding of how professional composers compose music appropriate for young musicians enrolled in school programs and private studios. The research involves two external partners - the Canadian Music Centre and Ottawa Catholic School Board - who provided funds to commission 16 composers to create new educational music.

         The major research question is "What are the parameters for composing new music for young musicians?" Integrated Inquiry, a multiple perspectives methodology, is employed to examine the four dimensions of creativity: the prerequisites for composing educational music (questionnaire); conceptualizing, writing and refining a new work (reflective journal); stylistic features of educational works (compositional analyses), and the composers’ personal learning (in-depth interview). Findings to date indicate that educational music often lacks a pedagogical dimension, composing for young musicians is not addressed in musical training; and composers are motivated to create works for students because of the lack of quality music for them. Key factors for the composers of string works are the students’ technical ability, pedagogical dimension, and musical quality. Composers must exercise imagination and skill to create quality music appropriate to students’ technical level that also challenges them to develop musically. Key factors for composers of wind works highlighted three key factors are technical proficiency, musical challenge, and enjoyment. There was a consensus that assessing the students’ level of technical proficiency was critical to composing music for them that was playable. One needs an understanding of the students’ range, endurance, musicality, and instrumental skill.