We are pleased to announce the public launch of ADEL on-line journal in conjunction with the XPACE VOLUME Launch Party. Event details here.
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!
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.
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.
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
This year ADEL winter 2013 were pleased to welcome Craig Morrison Founding Teacher
Oasis Skateboard Factory Alternative S.S. http://oasisskateboardfactory.blogspot.com 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.
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!
2012 Art & Design Education Lab: “Archipelago of Imagination”
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. http://www.ocadu.ca/about_ocad/publications/sketch.htm
2. ADEL Journal: https://adeljournal.wordpress.com/
3. All student writing is used by written permission/approval of the author.
4. TEAM MACHO’s Axis Mundi: http://www.ago.net/community-arts
5. WIAprojects, CWSE, OISE/ U of T: www.wiaprojects.com
6. Eksperimenta! : http://www.eksperimenta.net/
7. Oasis Skateboard Factory: http://oasisskateboardfactory.blogspot.ca/
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.
Robin Clason has her video journals available on youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/user/insightsonsights
Singithi Kandage’s journals are available in PDF form if you click on the links below:
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!
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 (http://www.graeae.org/) 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.:
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.
FAT: Photographs by Caglar Kimyoncu with thanks to Pete Edwards & Michael Achtman.