Vol. 8 No. 3 (2012)


Volume 8 Issue 3

Cover Date: October 2012

For access to the articles and Visual Essays click here.


If you are a member of InSEA, you are entitled to full, free access to IJETA from Vol 7 No 3. To access sign into the members section of the InSEA web pages


Special Issue: Community art


Authors:  Glen Coutts and  Timo Jokela

Page Start: 217


Interrogations: Art, art education and environmental sustainability


Authors: Helene Illeris

DOI: 10.1386/eta.8.3.221_1




sustainable art education,environmental sustainability,contemporary art,currents in art education



How can art educators begin to inhabit questions of environmental sustainability, accepting to be ethically normative but avoiding becoming dogmatic? This article investigates three interconnected approaches to sustainable art education with the aim of building a platform from where to explore ‘environmental sustainability’ without losing the epistemological and ideological complexities that have been developed within the contemporary research field. The first section, Art, presents two contemporary art projects and discusses their possible contributions to environmental sustainability. The second section, Art Education, introduces four currents in contemporary art education: critical art education, post-structuralist strategies, visual culture pedagogy and community-oriented visual interventions, and ‘interrogates’them about environmental sustainability. Keywords from the interrogations are used as ‘cornerstones’ to create an epistemological ‘platform’. In the third section, Environmental Sustainability, the insights and keywords from the previous sections are used to exemplify how moments of environmental sustainability could be introduced in art education.


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


Authors: Tyler Denmead

DOI: 10.1386/eta.8.3.239_1



community arts,pedagogy,metaphor,socially-engaged arts,dialogic pedagogy,artist pedagogy,early childhood education



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.


Floats, friendship and fun: Exploring motivations for community art engagement


Authors: Mary M Hoefferle

DOI: 10.1386/eta.8.3.253_1



community art,motivation,parade floats,folk art



This article addresses parade floats as a form of community art and explores float builders’ artistic motivations and their interactions within the context of collaborative float building. Distilled from the author’s ethnographic study of three groups of folk artists who build Labor Day parade floats in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in the United States, and a material culture analysis of their parade entries, the research indicates that the float builders engaged in art making primarily to meet their social needs, which include motives regarding group solidarity and civic obligations. This examination expands our understanding of community art by elucidating how the presence of a public audience, maintaining local traditions and opportunities for friendly competition, play and social bonding motivate community art engagement.



Academy and community: The experience of a college programme in socially- engaged practice


Authors: Nuala Hunt And  Gary Granville And  Chris Maguire And  Fiona Whelan

DOI: 10.1386/eta.8.3.271_1



socially-engaged art,community,citizenship,higher education,Collaboration,Inner-city Dublin



A review of Irish art indicates that socially-engaged and collaborative art is firmly rooted within certain communities. Whilst there is an array of terms used to describe the range of practices emerging within the field of relational arts, making for some confusion, the establishment of socially-engaged art within particular communities in Dublin can be traced to the 1990s. In this article the role of the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) in supporting the development of socially-engaged art is examined through the lens of a post-graduate programme entitled Community/Arts/Education. The concepts and practices underpinning the programme are considered in the context of on-going change within teacher education at the NCAD. The relationship between the academy and community is examined critically in the context of local developments in socially-engaged practice. Key features of socially-engaged art are analysed in two case studies by artists whose practice is located in Dublin.


Berry wars: A science centre as a forum for a dialogical activist, interdisciplinary art project


Authors: Maria Huhmarniemi

DOI: 10.1386/eta.8.3.287_1



dialogical art,interdisciplinary projects,community art



The Berry Tours project was a collaboration between artists, activists, researchers (politics and social sciences) and science communicators. Its focus was the berry industry, which has seen a rising number of seasonal foreign berry pickers arrive in Finnish forests and has resulted in conflicts between foreign and local berry pickers. The aim of the project was to create dialogue between foreign berry pickers and locals, increase understanding of the richness of berry picking culture in Finnish Lapland, gain knowledge about interdisciplinary collaboration, and promote the use of art at science centres. One result was a joint exhibition, titled Berry Tours, which was presented at the Arctic Centre in Rovaniemi (Finland). In this article, the author describes the Berry Tours project and discusses similar collaborative projects in the field of activist art, dialogical art, and art and science collaborations.She describes the experience of showing art in a science centre and considers some of the possibilities of interdisciplinary collaboration in art education. The educational potential of dialogical art, community art and interdisciplinary exhibitions is the core of the article.


Green My Favela – An act of defiance


Authors: Lea Rekow

DOI: 10.1386/eta.8.3.305_1



activism,geography,social engagement,contested territories,slum



This article looks at socially-engaged artistic structures that open up physical and conceptual possibilities within sites of contestation. It asks: what happens when the rules and boundaries of our marginalized systems are challenged through critical arts practice; how does this relate to the material production of knowledge; and how does this open up potential to redress systems of control and to reprogramme space? Specifically, it examines recent cultural activism within Rio de Janeiro’s notorious Rocinha favela, Brazil’s largest slum.



Where are we? Mapping the field of community arts


Authors: Marit Dewhurst

DOI: 10.1386/eta.8.3.321_7


The positive influence of art activities on poor communities


Authors: Nóra L. Ritók And  Istvan Bodoczky

DOI: 10.1386/eta.8.3.329_7



visual story telling,cooperative painting,community building,needlepoint



For the author, art education in very poor areas means extended pedagogical work that focuses not only on the children and the goals of art education, but also the social-educational background of the children’s families, the communities they live in. The article gives two distinct examples (from Hungary) of how the teachers got the families of the children involved in visual art activities in order to promote cohesion in the village communities and the families, to provide positive models for the children, and – in some cases – also ensure some income for the family.


The Billboard Poetry Project


Authors: Daniel T. Barney And  Ashley Mae Christensen Hoiland

DOI: 10.1386/eta.8.3.337_7



community art,art education,poetry,public art,subversive billboards



The Billboard Poetry Project is an artistic investigation that asks, What if billboards encouraged creative discourse and interaction within a community rather than solely functioning as invasive advertisements for commercial purposes? An artist/researcher/educator and an artist/poet sought to challenge the commercial imagery found on the streets of their local community by repurposing three consecutive billboards to share the work of a local poet who uses fragments constructed by other poets. The project also invited local artists and writers to hold free workshops throughout the area, after which the entire population was welcomed to join in a public event where anyone could exhibit artwork, eat food and listen to original poetry read by their neighbours in a community park.


Catch and release: Artworks inspiring insight into environmental issues


Authors: Ruth Beer And  Kit Grauer

DOI: 10.1386/eta.8.3.349_7



informal learning,arts-based research,pedagogy,artist/museum collaborations,socially-engaged new media,environmental interactive art



‘Catch+Release’ is a Canadian government-funded research and creation project of interactive new media artworks produced by a team of artists, educators and designers in collaboration with Parks Canada’s Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site. Its exhibition component addresses marine environments and coastal communities that once relied on the fishing industry. Through viewer engagement with the artworks, within the context of the museum, the exhibition fosters awareness of the region’s social history and contemporary cultural conditions – ‘catching’ stories and ‘releasing’ stories into the public sphere. The aesthetic and pedagogical strategies for promoting sensory, experiential, participatory learning opportunities and critical engagement, acknowledge the museum as an important informal educational site in its role as custodian, maker of meaning and source of regional identity. The exhibition’s themes resonate globally in coastal communities that share challenges in adapting to (g)local ci cumstances of cultural and geographic transitions due to the demise of fishing industries.

Published: 2012-11-09