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ADEL Launch: Friday, April 23rd, 2010 at 7 PM at XPACE Cultural Centre

April 14, 2010

We are pleased to announce the public launch of ADEL on-line journal in conjunction with the XPACE VOLUME Launch Party.  Event details here.

Welcome to ADEL Journal

April 14, 2010

Pictured above is The Ontario College of Art and Design’s (OCAD) main campus reflected in the Art Gallery of Ontario’s (AGO) rear facade.  This image is the perfect analogue for the ADEL online journal.

The AGO/OCAD Art and Design Education Lab (ADEL) is a unique course at OCAD, offering practical teaching experience at the AGO’s Studio/Gallery Progams while providing a solid introduction to pedagogical theory.  The ADEL online journal will be a space to expose and publicly discuss  our cultural production as students entering the larger discourse of art in/as education.  This conversation is a continual process that is navigated by art students, practitioners, professionals and educators collectively.  The ADEL online publication is our opportunity to speak, be heard, and be actively involved in the current issues concerning this community.  Here, we teach and learn from our peers in a considered exchange of our ideas and concerns.

The content of the online publication will reflect both the theoretical and practical content of the course by publishing critical reviews alongside personal essays and lesson concept designs. Transparency and self-reflection are key component to the online publication. Told through multiple perspectives and orientations, we hope to illustrate the spectrum of voices that contribute to this field.  By offering an unflinching account of our experience, we wish to expose the urgent need for reappraisal of pedagogical practices and policies as it applies to art institutions and art as a discipline.

We hope that you will engage in the conversation with us.  Enjoy!

-Farah Yusuf

Site Highlights:

Pam Patterson, arts educator and professor of the Art and Design Education Lab  has written a thoughtful introduction “ADEL… a wheel arolling” which can be found in the About ADEL tab.

We have included a video of a panel discussion that took place in March 2010 at the Xpace Cultural Centre.  Here, arts educators Pam Patterson, and Amy Swartz (Toronto School of Art), Xpace director Derrick Liddington, and OCAD students Maya Kamo and Stella Mandrak-Pagani discuss the ambivalent place of art education in curriculum design.  Although the panel resulted in a lively debate, the speakers were unable to address all of the questions posed.  I have included the section Disscussion Topics so we can continue this debate online.

You will also find  Critical Reviews by the students participating in the Art and Design Education Lab.

The section In the Field contains journal entries and observations from ADEL internships at the Art Gallery of Ontario.  Also included are Personal Reflections by the students that are not specific to AGO or OCAD.

We have also included a space for Lesson Concept Designs.  We hope this will be a valuable repository to aid in teaching about and through art.

Finally, be sure to visit the Gallery to have a peek at our in-class experience.

Art and Design Education Lab (ADEL) panel discussion at Xpace Cultural Centre

March 30, 2010

ADEL exists as one forum at OCAD which specifically addresses issues, questions and concerns within the context of art as/in education. The following conversation took place in March 2010 between Arts Educators Pam Patterson, and Amy Swartz, Xpace director Derrick Liddington, and OCAD students Maya Kamo and Stella Mandrak-Pagani.

ADEL/XPace Panel Disscussion from ADEL OCAD on Vimeo.

As we are all aware, art education sits in an ambivalent place in terms of curriculum design. There has been a move towards interdisciplinarity which speaks to possibilities of cross-fertilization between various disciplines and perhaps the loss of art as a discipline altogether. Does this mean an “education through the arts” – perhaps using a studio model for all areas of the curriculum in schools, universities and galleries? Our concern today is to look at this emerging interdisciplinary field… are we trying to develop a postmodern curriculum? If so what does this look like? Or, are we looking towards reconstructing another kind of curriculum and/or pedagogical practice? Is art production itself a pedagogy? What are the continuing practical concerns in studio and art educational teaching? How are these concerns taken up in various institutions? What are some practical tools that we can suggest to young artist educators? And how can we reevaluate and revisit our own on an ongoing basis? And as we do so, is there a useful template or rubric that we can use? The conversation continues…

Pam Patterson (PhD) is Associate Researcher CWSE and Director for the interdisciplinary arts program, WIA projects at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto and teaches the OCAD Art & Design Education Lab. As a performance and visual artist she was a founding member of FADO Performance and ARTIFACTS and has exhibited and performed internationally.

Amy Swartz is an installation artist as well as an instructor at the Toronto School of Art and Youth Studio Coordinator. She is also one of the coordinators for the visiting artists program at Howard Public School. She has an undergraduate degree from Trent University in Cultural Studies, a BFA from Emily Carr College of Art and Design and a Master’s degree in Fine Arts from York University.

Derek Liddington is a professional artist and curator working in Toronto, Ontario. He holds an MFA from the University of Western Ontario and BFA from the Nova Soctia College of Art and Design.

Maya Kamo and Stella Mandrak-Pagani are Drawing and Painting students at the Ontario College of Art and Design, and are members of the Art and Design Education Lab.

Craig Morrison and The Skateboard Factory alternative school present and discuss with ADEL 2013 at the AGO

May 15, 2013

Skateboard Factory students present to ADEL students ADEL_2013_2 ADEL_2013_3 ADEL_2013_4 ADEL_2013_5

This year ADEL winter 2013 were pleased to welcome Craig Morrison Founding Teacher
Oasis Skateboard Factory Alternative S.S. and his graduating students. They presented on Pedagogy of Design and Design Practice as  a Pedagocial tool. It was a lively day of sharing, questions and presentation. I know that one of our students was inspired and has begun volunteering with Oasis.

ADEL 2013 Lesson Concept Designs

May 15, 2013

It is with great pleasure that I am posting below some fantastic lesson plans generated by the most recent ADEL students from the Winter semester. They completed their class and field work at the AGO under the loving wings of Professor Pam Patterson, PhD Associate Scholar Centre for Women’s Studies in Education, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
University of Toronto, Director, WIAprojects Toronto, Ontario

and Lori Ann Smith–Manager, Public Programs and Audience Development, Education and Public Programming at the Art Gallery of Ontario. What a talented bunch!

Tatjana Petkovic’s Lesson Concept Design 2013 “Introduction to Branding and Logo Design”

Emily.Chan.LessonConcept 2013 “3”x3ME”_Brand Creation

Priscilla_Hui’s Lesson concept design_2013_Jewelery Creation

Lisa_McMurtrie’s Powerpoint ‘The Spaces That Define Us”

2012 ADELers!

April 19, 2012

2012 Art & Design Education Lab:  “Archipelago of  Imagination”

Pam Patterson

OCADU, recently re-branded as the “University of the Imagination”, situates its commitment to an emerging innovative art and design education paradigm. Through community development and curricular change OCADU is redesigning programs, courses and pedagogy to align with 21st century aspects, pace and transmissibility. Interconnected intra-culturally within OCAD University communities and participating in inter-cultural innovative partnerships, we activate connections – sometimes problematic but always interesting – within, as Vladimir Spicanovic, Dean Faculty of Art noted in a recent Sketch1 article, a complex matrix representative of an “archipelago of imagination”.

Art and Design Education Lab (ADEL) INTR 3B05 offered now for 4 years in the Faculty of Art is well suited to explore these shifts in pace, place and pedagogy. Initiated and first taught by Vladimir Spicanovic and Carrie Swartz (Art Gallery of Ontario- AGO), its intention was to provide, in addition to history and theory of art and design education, practical on-site pedagogical experience at the AGO. I became ADEL’s course instructor three years ago and have supported this undergraduate research through pedagogical workshops, online wiki discussions, focused field work and critical reflections. As “an art and design education laboratory” it’s role is in pursuing, and disseminating on-line through ADEL Journal2, educational research examining OCADU education, designing lesson concepts and learning plans, participating in teaching and planning with Transformation AGO-Westin Family Learning Centre’s elementary and secondary school studio and gallery program, and contributing in discussion and critique with other sites and peoples. We are a diverse bunch: from Jewelry, and Drawing and Painting, to Criticism and Curatorial, Photography and New Media – an ideal classroom situation to inspire complex interactions. My intention is to describe ADEL 2012 activities using comments by students and visitors:

I took some time to absorb everything from [this Friday ADEL’s] class at the AGO – the swanky boardroom, the glass, the wood, the metal, the people, the slideshow, the cool pencil I found, the chalkboard spaceship that I know I can fit inside, the kids playing and making art and on and on and on… I love this class… being in a course where everyone wants to be there, even with the prospect of interning at the AGO being a bit nerve-racking, is a relief – exciting, much-needed and much appreciated.

Sydney Taylor ADEL Field Journal 20123

ADEL is professionally focused – for teaching and learning, and in service to the larger academic community. Students shadow and eventually assist in facilitating AGO interpretive gallery and studio programs. They know what they say and write will become part of a larger art and design education discourse: on the AGO wiki, in symposia, in pedagogical workshops with AGO and other art and design community workers, and in ADEL Journal. Reflections are varied; writings are critical, expository, analytical, personal and/or playful:


Exposure to different artists is included in a gallery tour. In a particular gallery devoted to a prominent artist, it is worthwhile to point out other perhaps lesser-known artists… This way, students are deepening their understanding and knowledge of a particular era. They can also use critical thinking skills by comparing/contrasting various artists’ [use of] technique, materiality and subject matter. We, as facilitators, can… encourage students to think about [concept, context and content and model for them] how they can question and why.

Susie Smyslowski ADEL Field Journal 2012


My own identity as an educator and facilitator came into question today. In the past, my art experiences have been primarily studio-based… Working in the gallery was a big change for me. I felt uncomfortable, outside of my zone of experience, unsure of what to say and what questions to ask. I felt like I didn’t belong. Being in the gallery raised a challenge for me: the need to adapt to a new environment quickly… I think the goal of the gallery is to contain – contain works of art, and through its architecture, steer viewers in a certain direction. High school students do not want to be contained. They want to talk and explore in an interactive way. When we entered the gallery to start a tour with 36 teens – 33 of whom were male – it was like a bomb went off in 1 billion directions.

Katherine Wilson ADEL Field Journal 2012


Thinking of how one’s own studio space could be used for studio pedagogy is a curious one. I’ve mentioned in a few wiki posts … of [my] being someone who has grown-up negotiating cultural boundaries … As I cross geographies and spaces, increasingly my studio work reflects my having to move around at an accelerated rate. I’m wondering if my own brand of studio pedagogy might feature nomadic activities … such as the practice of making work while riding public transportation; perhaps an extreme experiment might be a painting activity that would require hours of walking between spaces with a loaded brush… the image (and specific choice of paint colour) would change as the [artists/students] moved between spaces…

Singithi Kandage ADEL Field Journal 2012



Students took up this discussion of space and pedagogy in 2012 in relation to TEAM MACHO’s Axis Mundi4, Community Gallery, AGO. Scheduled for an hour-long pedagogical workshop with the group, they heard of the TEAM’s intention to have their installation act as an OCADU student workspace not as “play” space for the many school children and families who are its constant users. Team Macho invited ADEL students to “occupy” the space to illustrate its “intended” use. Would it in fact work? Student researchers comment and extrapolate:

What’s problematic in [Team Macho’s Axis Mundi] is the lack of thoughtfulness about the implications of the work and the possibilities the work invites… [They even show perhaps] a certain contempt for those who daily interact with the space in ways they – as the designers – did not intend nor anticipate. I can’t imagine anyone who would go to [Axis Mundi] to engage in serious academic work. It’s not a workable space. What it is, is a play space… As illustrators and designers we need to ask [who will use our objects and spaces and how?]: What is the work supposed to say? What message(s) should be communicated? How can we speak to our audience? How can we visually cue our meanings and intentions?… [We need] to understand how such designs can work as objects of pedagogy… We can’t be precious about play spaces – they are there to be jumped on, drawn on…

Sabrina Scott ADEL Field Journal 2012

It would be interesting to see how a group of students might react in entering a studio space already in use. How would their performance within this new environment change? If I could bring my studio to the AGO (a small one-bedroom apartment, shared with a friend, a bunny, a new kitten and too many belongings), I would like to see how students might reinterpret the functionality of the space, challenge the cohesiveness and disparateness of selected items, and explore where they might see themselves reflected or what they might wish to bring … Ultimately I would want them to engage in divergent thinking, allowing multiple answers and interpretations to develop and unfold in many different directions.

Michelle Lee ADEL Field Journal 2012


Pedagogical critiques extend beyond the AGO/OCAD onsite classroom. WIAprojects5 (an exhibition and research program I direct through Centre for Women’s Studies, OISE/UT) facilitated a public event at OCADU. Curators/educators Miriam Cooley and Joanna Black narrowed the perceived gap between art and design education and contemporary art production and exhibition in the Canadian Exposition for Eksperimenta! 6, Estonia, 2011. ADEL and curator exchanges continued long after the event. Much discussion centered on “best practices”:


The issue of student naming…  In traditional research, there is restricted use of videos or photographs of students; I have to blur their faces…. I can no longer take pictures of the schools — exterior or interior. I have fought to include students’ art in journal papers and presentations and have won… In regard to Eksperimenta!, to name students, I [needed]… permission from the curators, the students, and/or the parents. That is why we could not name students who exhibited from other countries – the logistics were too difficult. For Canadian students, we did have signed permission  that is why I did mention students … such as Andrew Vineberg…

Joanna Black, University of Manitoba, email: Jan 25, 2012

I think this relates to the idea of ‘best practices’… securing releases before any work is artwork is actually done [is critical]. Image licensing and permissions … should be one of the first considerations, since we do need documentation to show the world these kinds of amazing projects and ensure they continue!

Sabrina Scott, ADEL/OCADU, email: Jan 28, 2012

Educational strategies and concept design are central to a workshop where students examine their own art and design education. Oasis Skateboard Factory (OSF)7 participates. This year, Craig Morrison (OSF teacher) and I facilitated with assistance from teacher-interns from Queen’s University, Bored/Board of Education? Collaborative Art & Design in/for Education. Our TA, Alexis Boyle led a discussion around future study “after OCAD” and Deanne Fisher, Associate Vice-President, Students, bravely responded in-the-moment to “anonymously” written ADEL student comments on what works and what doesn’t at OCADU.

In closing, I will leave final comments to Deanne to macro-site ADEL at OCADU:

I am always looking for ways to engage with students — to listen to their concerns and to co-construct a community at OCAD U that meets their needs. The ADEL class served as a perfect environment. These are students who are interested in education… Every student brings to class a bundle of invisible and visible factors that contribute — positively or negatively — to their capacity to learn. We had an open, frank and constructive discussion about some of the issues affecting their learning experiences and I benefitted immensely from the opportunity.

Deanne Fisher, email response April 1, 2012



1. Spicanovic, V. (2011). Teaching art and the archipelago of imagination. Sketch (Fall), p.22. Toronto: OCADU.

2. ADEL Journal:

3. All student writing is used by written permission/approval of the author.

4. TEAM MACHO’s Axis Mundi:

5. WIAprojects, CWSE, OISE/ U of T:

6. Eksperimenta! :

7. Oasis Skateboard Factory:


ADEL 1: Screen shot from Robin Clason’s video research “notes” (Photo by Robin Clason)

ADEL 2: ADEL studio pedagogy workshop (Photo: Rakel Zetterlund

ADEL 3: Following a tour down the Gehry spiral (Photo: Katherine Wilson)

ADEL 4: An elementary student’s studio-made “polar bear” for Creativity Challenge, AGO. (Photo by Katherine Wilson)

ADEL 5: ADEL “testing” Axis Mundi (Photo by Alexis Boyle).

ADEL 6: Vladimir Spicanovic introducing Joanna Black & Miriam Cooley at Eksperimenta!, OCADU (Photo by Leena Raudvee)

ADEL 7: Craig Morrison & ADEL/OSF students in process (Photo by Pam Patterson)

ADEL 8: Following-up: Deanne Fisher with Kate Hogg in ADEL (Photo by Pam Patterson)

OCAD event Eksperimenta poster.jpg: Event poster for Eksperimenta!, WIAprojects & Faculty of Art, OCADU.

2012 ADEL Student Lesson Concept Designs

April 15, 2012








Michelle Lee – Lesson Concept Design

Lesson Design Concept

lesson concept design-final-2

lesson concept design pdf

lesson concept design combined with educational philosophy

Lesson Concept Design – Kimberly Elliott

Kate Hogg, we are all artists

Concept Design – Hareem Qureshy

2012 ADEL Student Journals

April 15, 2012

Robin Clason has her video journals available on youtube here:

Singithi Kandage’s journals are available in PDF form if you click on the links below:









What does the future of art education hold?

April 22, 2011

The future is just around the corner and with a group of ambitious and engaged OCAD University students actively questioning and investigating the field of art education innovative ideas are already in the works. I am pleased to be part of ADEL’s 2011 publication, a platform for critical thinking and analysis as well as a community for those of us vested in the interests of art education.

OCAD University’s unique Art and Design Education Lab (ADEL) marries practical experience with theoretical thought, providing students a place to learn, engage in dialogue and have fun! Not many course are able to offer students the opportunity to explore their ideas on so many levels – including readings in the field of art education and curriculum design, pedagogical workshops, class discussion and fieldwork at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

The 2011 edition of ADEL’s publication includes lesson concept designs that range from technical and practical approaches to education, to creative explorations that push the boundaries of what learning is or could be and theoretical investigations of larger issues and ideas within the discourse of art education. The content of the online publication presents multiple voices in an unmediated dialogue regarding the current state of education and where the future might bring us.

Read, reflect and enjoy!

Katherine Dennis

Rethinking a trans-abled aesthetic paradigm for OCADU?

April 22, 2011

Pam Patterson, Instructor, ADEL

Cultural and educational institutions, while slow to shift paradigms, paradoxically also rush anxiety laden to be at the forefront of change. As we at OCADU grapple our way out of the morass of modernist pedagogy,  give a nod to postmodernism, and race forward panting to gain a toehold in the alter-, or what I would prefer to call it, trans-modern, our bodies and psyches become jumbled and fragmented.  Postmodernism, with its inherent ambivalence and ennui – certainly not indicative of the intense ping ponging activity in OCADU hallways – is being discarded for a discourse of the global, the trans-national, trans-sexual, trans-cultural. I find myself, as artist/researcher and course “teacher”, acting in response to this shift by becoming more of a facilitator of my own and my students’ shifting and ever redefining knowledge. But, I wonder, is it possible for each of us to articulate and present these ideas through a workable trans-abled aesthetic paradigm?

Each year I find almost one quarter of my class are students with “disabilities”. These students require, I am notified, accommodations. These accommodations are never really clearly articulated nor defined specific to pedagogical strategies, so I need to work closely with each student to devise a teaching/learning plan – not always with success. But if the plan is to devise a strategy to accommodate students with disabilities, to enable them to perform as if “normal”, what is “normal”?  What are the assumptions made – perhaps unacknowledged – around how one should vigorously perform one’s work – as pupil or teacher – in the changing OCADU community? Are the expectations of the institution itself potentially disabling? As a person with a challenging auto immune disease which affects all my bodily tissues and is manifested as a mobility impairment, I find this a difficult task.

What I turn to as a tool, when confronted by such paradoxes, is my practice. I work as a performance artist and academic: performing theory, lyrically rewriting action, and enabling live art to act as pedagogy. After all, is it not the artists, our students, who also attempt to use their art to articulate and enliven their unique subjectivities in this churning trans-praxis?

My narrative then shifts from taking on this paradox head-on to using art as the tool to instigate reconfiguring this emerging trans- paradigm.

A former student of mine Michael Achtman works as Access Manager with Graeae Theatre Company ( in London, England. His current creative project, which took years in the making, is FAT a multi-media live production currently touring the UK.  Achtman, as director and producer for FAT, has worked closely in collaboration with the performance originator, writer and actor Pete Edwards. As his former instructor and now fan, I have followed Michael’s work closely and was fortunate to meet and work with him, however briefly in London in 2008.

So, I invite you now to follow me on a creative and academic ramble as I  illustrate some of these thoughts in conversation with FAT pausing aside for a moment leaning on my cane in an OCADU hallway watching the hectic rush juggle ‘round me:

FAT: An Artist’s Reflection as Fantasy

An extraordinary performer who carefully entices the audience into his personal and political world. Pete’s own language and his unique performance style gives us the space and time to question the essence of communication.

Jenny Sealey, Artistic Director, Graeae Theatre Company

A strange and wonderfully different kind of good performance… electric and operatic.  It goes well beyond a performance about disability, or even about desire.

Ernst Fischer, Live Artist and Creative Research Fellow

FAT is the “multimedia journey of a queer disabled man in search of his heart’s desire. Combining innovative movement and images with bizarre and poignant anecdotes, FAT follows James, played by playwright and performer Pete Edwards, in his quest to find the fat man, eat some spaghetti, and live happily ever after” (Edwards, 2010b).  Edwards intended FAT to be an exploration of desire, sexuality, and the urge to communicate. As his cerebral palsy affects his movement and speech patterns, Edwards took advantage of this in planning his production. He communicated on-stage using recorded and projected text as well as his own natural voice and worked with a choreographer to shape powerful actions reflective of his own movement patterns. Both these aspects are rarely explored in contemporary performance.  He writes, “the visibility of this in the work is crucial to inform, challenge and to entertain an audience who would probably never expect this is me if they saw me in the street” (Edwards, 2010a).

One of Shakespeare’s sonnets interspersed throughout the performance and juxtaposed with Edwards’ differing speech patterns encourages the exploration of issues surrounding language and communication.

FAT challenges perceptions of communication and the right to communicate (Edwards 2010b). It questions society’s view of attractiveness and sexual fantasy by placing the sexuality of a disabled man at the heart of a story and by so doing dispelling the myth that physically disabled people are not sexual beings.

            FAT was first created as a 10 minute solo program for Missing Piece 4, Graeae Theatre’s performer training program in 2004-2005. Edwards worked, in the years following, with a mentor and various artistic teams to develop script, video, projections, and strategies for artistic and functional communication. In 2009, a 50 minute production was showcased at Oval Theater in London and the show is now touring the UK.

            FAT is a hybrid, combining elements of life art and theatre, realism and fantasy. Different scenes use different communication strategies: fantasy scenes use a voice recording by a second actor as James performs choreography; realistic scenes use projected text to interpret the script James delivers live; the meeting of James and the fat man is shown as video.

Much care was given, and complexity interwoven into the making and presentation of  FAT. Edwards’ specific autobiography as a queer, disabled man was integral. He looked at different journeys in his personal life in relation to larger themes. With Achtman, he examined actions and subtext. Both challenged each other, always focused on the integrity of the work. Sound track and video imagery evolved organically and was balanced with the live presentation.

Rehearsals were structured to accommodate Edwards’ access and energy requirements. A “creative enabler” Karen Spicer attended most rehearsals assisting with warm ups, note taking, and helped Edwards to integrate work from rehearsals. She  is also integrated into the performance, not as a second character, but as support for his performance—giving him a drink of water, placing a wig on his head, helping him into a hoist etc.; they do not try to hide or mask this.

A creative enabler, a role originally develop by Graeae Theatre, gives an artist support on stage and off. Different from an assistant who provides personal care, a creative enabler acknowledges that support for creative work requires a special set of skills.              Graeae Theatre, and productions such as FAT, challenge the limitations of academic and arts practice and the constrictions of normalcy. They direct us to consider more inclusive ways to reconfigure research methodologies and creative presentations. Not only did the rehearsal and presentation of FAT accommodate and make use of the performer’s unique attributes, but also used British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation and an audio description script in presentation to ensure wider access. In early productions there was a lot of audience support from the disabled community and now outreach to target the live art community is creating a wider context for the show.

FAT is a highly sophisticated presentation and, in its use of diverse communication methods, it opens up different ways for viewers to “read” and enter the work. This is a unique practice for the presentation of performative works. At live art performances in Canada, for example, the venues are rarely even wheelchair accessible.

Edwards challenges the conceptions of disability as coined from 19th century freak shows. People of colour and those with disabilities, for example, were exploited, derided, and despised in these events. Poet and mixed race lesbian with cerebral palsy, Eli Clare, attacks interpretations such as these and, like Edwards, empowers and redefines herself in relation to society:

In queer community, I found a place to belong and abandoned my desire to be a hermit. Among crips, I learned how to embrace my strong, spastic body… And somewhere along the line, I pulled desire to the surface. Gave it room to breathe. (Clare, 1999, p. 134)

            FAT acknowledges a range of seeing, hearing, and apprehending practices and in doing so opens up how we, as researchers and teachers, need to think about presenting ourselves and our research in performance, and redefining our teaching/learning spaces. It’s not accommodation per se that is required but a rethinking of a trans-abled aesthetic paradigm.



Clare, E. (1999). Exile and pride: Disability, queerness and liberation. Cambridge, Mass.:

SouthEnd Press.

Edwards, P. (accessed via email from Michael Achtman Sun, Aug 1, 2010a at 5:04 AM) FAT

            evaluation report from London production.

Edwards, P. (accessed August 10, 2010b) FAT website and blog access.

Photography Credits:

FAT:  Photographs by Caglar Kimyoncu with thanks to Pete Edwards & Michael Achtman.

Fieldwork at the AGO

April 22, 2011

by Sophia Lee

Maharajah Tour at the AGO

April 22, 2011

by Julia West

Outline: I will conduct a tour for a group of students to view the Maharajah exhibit at the AGO. During the tour students would introduced to the various sections and educated on their significance. When entering the Kingship and palace life of a Maharajah, information would be shared. Then students would be given an assignment, to recreate a day in the life of an Indian King. Students from the group would be asked to volunteer as the king, officials, and one peasant. The outline would be for the king to perform some of his royal duties, seeking counsel from some of his officials, some would be serving him. Other officials would be offering advice, talking and making decrees on behalf of the king. Then the peasant would enter with a problem, that the king would solve. The student playing the king would improvise using  the information given. Afterwards, how the king handled the situation would be discussed and historically accurate answers would be given. The peasant’s problem would be given by the instructor, the problem would change and would be geared towards the student’s group age and grade. Research on behalf of the teacher/instructor would be required.  Instructor would use a list of age tailored peasant problems, and one would be selected and then reality of King’s response would discussed after the skit. A study would be done beforehand on how the King would in reality respond to a problem presented to him.

The plan would be to be prepared in advance. Before students arrive from buses at the entrance, I would have a touring kit assembled. The kit would be a bag with wheels filled with props and costumes for selected actors. Materials used would be cushion, blanket, rolled betel leaf, turbans, robes, a fan, and a piece of paper with a feather pen. The cushion is what the King could sit on, the turbans to be worn by the king and his officials, each student would wear a robe, and the King holds the pen and paper.

The rolled and stuffed betel leaf known as Paan. Paan was a betel leaf that would be filled with sweetened nuts, it was chewed as a palate cleanser and considered a benefit in digestion. This wrap was given as a sign of hospitality and agreement to a visitor and or guest. In the exhibit, there is an illustration of the King giving one of his guests a Paan at the end of their meeting. The exchange of this food was a tradition done in those days. The king in the play would also carry out this act.

The research that is used for this lesson, is mainly based on personal experience and information shared during exhibition.  From personal experience of shadowing tour groups, some students appeared disengaged and uninterested in the exhibition. I realize that when something is acted out, whether a story or piece of history. It somehow becomes alive and is a more interesting way to learn. I believe that students acting in the skit and watching it can gain more knowledge by that creative reproduction. Since our  current age tends to be more visual, the exercise would be a good option for students to grasp a part of the life of an Indian King.The project of holding an art gallery tour with a skit assignment involved, would focus on the life of an Indian royalty. I thought that one of the best ways for students to understand the core of the history of a Maharajah is by learning and seeing what they did. What I want students to extract from the exhibition, is a stronger a sense of the tradition and lifestyle of a Maharajah. The assignment of students acting out a daily duty of an Indian King was one of the many ways students could remember, and learn in a memorable way.

Rationale: My reason behind this assignment is to make the learning experience for the students an enjoyable one. Also, studies have shown that emotional memory is stronger and more easier to access than other forms of memory. In addition, my goal is to try to create a positive interactive learning experience for the students. I hope to achieve a fun enough experience for the students that they can look back and draw not only information from but happy memories. What is unique about what I bring to this work is that it is different. It is interactive, it involves a group of students that as team help build a sense of community and connectedness. Students are sharing an experience and can also be learning at the same time. This lesson is engaged with the field of art education by, incorporating visual art, learning by seeing and witnessing information being acted out.

Curricular orientations: This lesson might be applicable to ages ranging from grade four elementary school to grade 12 Secondary school. Considering age group, background, the school, community and culture. The skit would vary in how much information is shared, and guidelines given for students to follow in order to keep the lesson interesting and engaging. For example, for younger ages, the visitor could be interacting with the king and talking about a small problem possibly with his farm. For the older students, the issue being discussed with the king could be more complicated, humorous and developed. For example, grade four peasant actor could bring their problem to the king about their farm and needing a fence to protect their animals from thieves. An open discussion would be set up after on what students think a King would do about that situation and if something like that could happen. After student’s thoughts have been discussed the true answer would given. For older students, an unlikely scenario that they might not expect a King would have to deal with could be an option to stimulate and maintain interest.

The presentation of students acting out the scenario would be for approximately 15 minutes, then an open 15 minute discussion. The instructor would probe questions about what was just seen. Then students would give their response and teacher would end presentation with facts and comments on student’s answers.  My orientation would be to be sensitive to the students and their comfortability with acting in front of each other. For example, if a more rougher class who are more critical of each other are asked to perform. I would conduct a theatre exercise in order to help each other be more comfortable with looking silly. Then once, I sense the students are less judgmental of one another I would give the acting jobs to the willing classmates. In addition, the more inner city or critical the group is. The more surveillance, attention and participation on the instructors part will be needed, students acting will need more encouragement and more strict guidelines for cynical students. For instance, if a group or one classmate continues after warning of making derogatory comments, they will be asked to wait outside the exhibit with a parent or security. The leader or the instructor’s job will also entail inducing a safe place for students where they feel comfortable expressing their opinion and performing in front of others. Essentially, leader’s job will be to gage the group’s attitude and adjust rules and guidelines according to group’s age, grade, and behavior and emotional maturity.

Objectives: What I as a facilitator strive to achieve in this “lesson” is an event that is positive,  and significant in how the students remember what they were taught. The method I choose to teach the students I hope will enrich the student’s understanding of Maharajahs importance and impact they had on society at the time. Plus, encouraged a more sense of community among the classmates. Moreover, when students can be silly and be vulnerable with each other in acting, a sense of trust and companionship can occur if proper behavior is kept and upheld by leaders.

Pedagogy Praxis: A good constructivist pedagogy would be implemented for this lesson. Which involves the instructor promoting active and interactive learning. Students act out a play and then are asked to interact and provide feedback on what they learned and saw.

The classmates would be in a group, and a side would be sectioned off for approximately 30 minutes beside the pillow throne display otherwise known as the Kingship and Palace Life. Security would be notified before hand and red rope would be provided to section off corner for the presentation.

The instructor, would request volunteers to be in the Maharajah skit. Pupils would be asked to act out in their roles what their duties and responsibilities would be. Emphasis would be on making it original, with personality, and fun.

After students have acted out the skit, the audience would be asked some more questions regarding the skit. There would be an open discussion for about fifteen minutes, then the tour would resume. The purpose behind an open discussion afterwards would be a way to include the audience more. Also, challenge their memory on what just occurred.  After exhibition is finished security would be thanked for their help and red rope would be removed and put back in place. Students would be on their way to the cafeteria.

On another note, important things I have learned from the AGO course and tour shadowing for the exhibit is to gage how eager the students are. If the group seems disinterested the leader needs to find ways to draw in interest from the classmates. For example, a leader could do this by finding out what interests the group, what they like, and tailor the lesson to be more appealing to the students. For instance, a high school group could seem very uninterested in the exhibition and assignment, but mentions they enjoy watching MTV cribs, a television show that takes viewers through a tour by the celebrity into their houses. The leader could adjust their skit to be one like the t.v. show, and then a discussion that the group identifies with could commence afterwards.

Also, it is important that the leader have a sense of humor and interest in what they are showing. If the leader finds facts that are refreshing most often others will too. I know that after doing an exhibit several times I found myself learning something different and some instructors made it seem like I was doing the tour for the first time. Essentially, if leader enjoys and is engaged in what they are sharing with the group, the group can pick up on that.

Often I found also the classmates had opportunity to wander on their own a lot, and older groups did not respond as well to learning and drawing the pieces. I think the main purpose of a field trip is to endorse a sense of community and group adventure. Making sure students stay as a group for the most part and keeping them engaged in what they are learning. I think the older groups especially would enjoy being a part and being held accountable to comment on the short play they see with familiar faces.

Outcomes: The students will not only learn in more dynamic way the life of a Maharjah but also the benefits of team work, building and establishing more sense of a community. Also, again a fond memory to look back on. How I will evaluate the student learning response is by observing how the students react and receive assignment. How they engage with one another and if I as an instructor can encourage and implement ways for the group to work as a team, build each other up and enjoy the experience of learning in a fun interactive way. I understand, some students may have different personalities and negative attitudes, but as an instructor I, and the teacher would work to make the exhibit one that most students would appreciate. I and the teacher would do our best to talk to the more disruptive students and give them an opportunity to change and be a part in the lively exercise.

Reflection: After reflecting on how this project relates to my AGO field work, and me personally. I realize that the more kids or any age can be engaged and working with others especially on a field trip it just enriches their learning experience. I know from  my teenage years going on trips with my high school class to the AGO and OCAD and being able to wander and explore was fun. On the other hand, it may have been more engaging and memorable if I had the opportunity to do a game or skit with my fellow classmates. Creating memories with that interaction, and  then connecting it to what had been taught. What I learned from relating my project to AGO field work, school, and me personally is true passion is contagious. If I am interested and enjoying what I am teaching, most often the group will be too. I also realize the importance of building community and providing opportunity for students to learn but not feel like they are. How this project and ideas explored around it, will contribute to art education is it will add to it. Offering another learning option for students, that stimulates community and interaction between them.

How to Live in a Smart and Resourceful Society? Relocate the Creative Potential in Children

April 22, 2011

by Yasmin Parodi

The 2000 National Visual Art Standard mandates that upon the completion of high school, every student is expected to have four abilities pertaining to their knowledge of art (Bates, 2000). These four abilities are:

–       Communicated ideas through the arts

–       Being capable of assessing art

–       Knowing the cultural and historical relevance of art

–       Understanding the relevance of art in other subjects

These abilities as stated by Bates, lean towards art education as a curricular discipline which much like math or science is taught as a body of knowledge (2000). This notion of what a student should take from art class is influenced by the emergence of Discipline Based Art Education from the 1960’s (Bates, 2000). As I stated in my previous paper, in which I outlined my ideal teaching philosophy, art education today is cleansing children of the capacity to think creatively because they are run through an educational structure which although outdated, strangely remains valued.  And it shouldn’t.

Jannette Winterson sums up this argument of how the education system is failing children in the following quote: “Children who are born into a tired world as batteries of new energy are plugged into the system as soon as possible and gradually drained away.  (Jackson, 2006).

Curricular Orientation and Objectives

This lesson plan will concentrate on nurturing creative thinking in children aged 7 – 12, in order to prepare children with what Robert Kelly calls “creative maturity” (Emme, 2011). Bates notes that children advance through stages of artistic development (Bates p. 19). It is between what she calls the Schematic Stage (ages 7-9) and the Stage of Dawning Realism (ages 7-12) where I believe children are most vulnerable to the suppression of creative thinking within the education system, which is exactly why I chose this age group. Between these two stages of development children move from uncritical views of their work to a more inhibited state where they are “more aware of themselves and how they are perceived by their peers” (Bates 19).

My intention for this lesson is to enable children to gain self-confidence and “creative maturity” prior to being educated out of their natural capacity to think creatively. In effect it would not restrain, but promote a creative society in which its members could contribute unique talents. I do not wish to refer to purely artistic talents but for the purpose of this lesson I will exclude the sciences (which in fact are closely tied to art and the ability to both observe reality empirically and think creatively). The lesson will take place in an art class room and student will not be instructed to explore with a particular medium. Similar to the Reggio Emila schools based in Italy, children will have the option of any medium. The materials required for the lesson include, but are not limited to:

–       Drawing/ writing tools (pencil, ink, chalk, crayon, pastels, markers, paints, sticks, stencils etc.)

–       Painting tools (water color paint, acrylic paint, brushes, rags, sponges, etc.)

–       Musical tools (varied accessible instruments-recorders, drums, everyday objects etc.)

–       Paper, canvas, chalkboard, scarves, costumes, props etc.

In order to keep the lesson plan relevant to my experience, it will be applicable to any student aged 7- 12 in the Toronto Public School District regardless or background or culture. All humans have the natural capacity for creative thinking, regardless of culture and background. The ideas of early childhood educator Friedrich Froebel, illustrate this natural capacity inherent to all children: “Froebel believed an’ eternal law’ ruled all that happened. This law expressed itself in nature and also in the mind and spirit of man. Man’s purpose was to ‘reveal the divine element within him by allowing it to become freely effective in his life’. The role of education was to develop the child’s essential nature, allowing him or her to perceive the divine as it is manifested in our natural surroundings (Cooper ans Sixsmith 3). These ideas follow child-centred orientations based off of John Dewey, Viktor Lowenfeld and Peter London as well as holistic and self- actualizing orientations.


I am doing this lesson plan because of my own experience of being educated through the public school system in Toronto. Specific to art, I found that class did not equip me with the “creative maturity” (which I will explain later on) needed to further explore my creative potential. I noticed this upon arriving at OCAD for art school (better late than never). Poor grades in my first year at OCAD reflected my disinterest and frustration with art school and creating for reasons I could not grasp. I was confused as to what halted my creativity. I had perfected all four abilities outlined by the National Arts Standard as essential in high school so I could not understand what was wrong with me. The answer is found in this quote by Paul Duncum (Clark 65):

Art opens doors; equally, it establishes the door-frame.

Art mirrors but only what is selected in the mirror

  My problem was that I did not have the capacity to establish my own door- frame, my own limits, because I had not developed the “creative maturity” to do so. I had always been given a limit to push upon in school, but was never taught how to form my own limitations based on intrinsic motivation. This maturity in my opinion is fundamental to creativity, and is missing in the current education system, which is why my lesson plan is based on meditation, brainstorming and exploration.

Robert Kelly notes the importance of brainstorming and “generating as many ideas as possible” to helps us come up “with a good idea”. (Emme J. 39). According to Kelly, to achieve “full inventive momentum” one must have intrinsic forms of motivation, which I believe can be uncovered through forms of meditation and connection with the self as opposed to being fed external ideals (Emme J.44). He also concludes that learning to trust in exploration is key to the “generation and development of ideas” (Emme J. 44). Kelly notes that upon the acceptance of creating free from the worries of the final product, the mind is freed and allowed it to explore unbound by inhibition (Emme J. 44). Unknown outcomes and the freedom to explore as a result build self-confidence in one’s inner voice.

Kelly states major attributes that limit idea generation and creative development (Kelly and Leggo, 2008):

–       Extrinsic motivation (Motivation coming from outside the individual, which is fleeting)

–       Early closure of ideas (time constraints

–       Hyper – consumption ( as opposed to creative production)

–       Disassociation

He notes “focus is often on finding the right answer as quickly as possible without much attention paid to generating alternatives and growing them into different possibilities… The predominant learning culture is also characterized by learning episodes that rely on extrinsic motivation where students spend much of their time restating or retelling outcomes that are already known” (Emme J 42). British author and educator Sir Ken Robinson states in a TED Talks lecture that kids are “frightened of being wrong” and therefore play it safe in a zone where new ideas simply cannot be developed and the potential for creativity hindered (February 2010). Sir Robinson notes that children should be open to the idea of possibly being wrong in order for innovation to occur (2010).

Plan and Pedagogy Praxis

Time: spread over a period of about 3 or 4 hours

Note: The ‘Teacher’s’ role is shifted towards the role of a mentor who will help develop ‘creative maturity’ within the individual, as opposed to a teacher whose goal is to fill the child  with knowledge. Save that for math class.

  1. Meditation: 30 mins- 1 hour

With accordance to holistic approaches to teaching, the lesson would begin with meditations focused on attaining intrinsic motivation.

1.1 Ask students to close their eyes and remain still in a comfortable position (accommodating       those who would prefer to sit in a chair, or on the floor)

1.2  Select a word and ask students to meditate on it. For example, the word “Tree”. Ask them to concentrate on their own internal images that arise and what the word tree. Stimulating thought by questioning what they associate to the word, including smells, colors, sounds movements and feelings. This holistic approach to teaching will attempt to tap into the 8 different intelligences described by Howard Gardner (verbal, logical, bodily, visual,

1.3  rhythmical, interpersonal, intrapersonal and naturalistic) which promote wide spread creative momentum(Dukacz and Babin).

1.4  Take a break

  1. Brainstorming: 45 mins to 1hr

“Before students enter a collaborative idea sharing session it is important that they generate some ideas on their own to bring to the group”  (Emme J. 45)

2.1    Ask Children to quickly write out images or words that their experience meditating on the word “Tree” revealed.

2.2    After they have quickly grasped their own internal ideas, ask them directly what they came up with. Have a quick class discussion on everyone’s experience after they have already outlined their own vision, to add ideas and new ways of thinking.

2.3    Allow students to have access to a varied stimuli by posing thought provoking questions as opposed to instructing them on good ideas, allowing for “an investigative disposition in the learner” (Emme J. 45).

2.4    Take a break :15mins

  1. Exploration: 1.5 – 2 hours

3.1    With the materials illustrated early on in the materials list, ask students to work through their ideas on what the word tree brought up for them.

3.2    Ask what ideas they want to communicate through their exploration, but do not insist they must do so.

3.3    Allow and encourage different ways of expressing ideas which speak to unique talents. Be open to the expression of sounds, see bodily movements, sculptures, writing and drawing.

My internship in assisting with school tours the Art Gallery of Ontario has directly influenced my own theory of how to teach. I found that a minority of the children were interested in my structured and knowledge based tours. I remember 3 specific instances in the Maharaja exhibit where I asked what the kids thought and they told me they were extremely bored. I soon realized that having different approaches to teaching, focused on the individual needs of the student, took precedence over teaching a specific plan which did not catch the attention on all of the students, but rather was in a sense exclusive. This is why my lesson plan is based off of the specific interests of the child.


Students will learn to develop ‘creative maturity’ based off of the independent and self motivated generation of ideas. In not being told specifically what the outcome should look like, children are free to explore and generate new forms of thinking. Students will apply the strength of intrinsically motivated ideas to exploration forms through setting self imposed structure. I am interested in wanting them to learn to create from their own experiences and not from what they think they should experience. This in turn will prove to be a benefit in society, because new forms of thinking will be feared, but accepted. In a society where, as Sir Robinson describes, we are educating children into an uncertain future, and having creatively thinking members of society is the only form of reason (2010).  Future- oriented childhood approaches to teaching specify the growing need for creative individuals in a society that propels its member’s ill equipped into an unknown future (Page, 2008).

I do not believe that art class should limit students with the singular objective of becoming an artist. It is a superficial and outdated idea that in fact limits the development of society and the individual. Creativity needs to be at the forefront of all educational practises, and a regular part of everyday life. This will benefit the individual in leading a fulfilling and active life based on innate laws. The need for creativity has never been more needed in a society that is almost entirely drained of life.

Works Cited

Bates, Jane. In Becoming an Art Teacher. Belmont CA: Wadsworth, 2000

Clark, R. Art Education: Issues in Postmodern Pedagogy. National Art Education Association &             Canadian Society for Education through Art, 1996.

Cooper, Hilary and Chris Sixsmith. Teaching Across the Early Years 3-7: Curriculum Coherence             and Continuity. London and New York: Routledge Falmer, 2003.

Dukacz, Albert S and Patrick Babin. Perspectives on Curriculum. In Michael Connelly, A.S.

Dukacs and F Quinlan (Eds.) Curriculum Planning for the LCassroom. OISE. Toronto Press.(13-22)

Emme, Michael J,  Kite Grauer and  Rita L. Irwin. StARTing with…  3rd. Edition. 2011

Jackson, R. (2006). Inside the Gray of Gang: Reflections on the Arts and Youth Violence. Education Canada. 46 (3). (pp. 50 –52)

Page, Jane M. Reframing the Early Childhood Curriculum: Educational Imperatives for the Future. London & New York: Routledge Falmer, 2008.

Kelly, R. and Leggo, C. (Eds). Creative Expression, creative education: Creativity as a primary rationale for education. Calgary: Detselig Enterprises/ Temeron Books, 2005.

Sir Robinson, Ken. Bring on the Learning Revolution. Ted Talks. February 2010. Lecture