Ways of seeing, knowing and gathering : taking art out of the classroom : exploring the scope for art education in the expanded field to benefit the transformative process of higher education

Van der Westhuijzen, Anika (2015-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The tensions I experienced as a Stellenbosch University student made me curious to delve into potential exchanges between the boundaries of worthwhile art and valid education. I explored the capacity of interactive artworks to contribute to realising the university‟s institutional vision. This research venture seeks to inspire innovative approaches to education that can potentially decrease discrepancies between institutional policy and practice. The primary question examines the nature and effect of students‟ responses to an interactive artwork placed on the Stellenbosch University campus. These reactions subtly exposed the particularity of the Stellenbosch University context and indicated aspects of art education in the expanded field that could aid higher education institutions in fulfilling their transformative role. An anti-colonial paradigm guided me through a crucial attentiveness of the power issues embedded in knowledge production, validation and dissemination. The reflexive process of qualitative research permitted a captivating interdisciplinary landscape that spans from policy documents to philosophical enquiries. I studied the lived experiences of students, lecturers and staff members at Stellenbosch University through individual and group interviews. A case study research design was employed to use the patterns picked up in these single cases to lead me toward more entrenched underlying issues and attitudes. Nuanced research findings were the result of the anti-colonial prism that caused me to place equal value on difference and coherence in my enquiry. Visual metaphors such as my interactive public artwork translate philosophical ideas into practice and communicate these ideas right to the heart. This is how art can bridge the divide between in- and out-of-class education and aid the university in preparing students to become purposeful citizens. Not only does this project signify the university‟s institutional transformation, but it also adds to the transformative impact of the university on all its stakeholders; a necessary process that enables greater social impact. Belonging is a crucial aspect in this regard, because it enables students to internalise the knowledge acquired through higher education. And one of the key underlying messages of higher education is that graduates are citizens that should contribute their skills and knowledge to positively enhance society. The interview feedback revealed that the artwork was successful in guiding students‟ thoughts and conversations to form new knowledge because it was an honest space where people could articulate their opinions. Interdisciplinary learning is a powerful tool that enriches curricula and increases the impact of university education. The university needs to allow students to belong and then develop responsibility and empathy toward societal needs, and it appears that the artwork roused some of these sentiments. In order to become an institution that launches the thought leaders of the future, Stellenbosch University needs to harness all collaborators that collectively contribute to an integrated understanding of life and an expanded appreciation of knowledge.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die spanning wat ek as „n Stellenbosch Universiteit‟s student ervaar het, het my nuuskierig gemaak om dieper in die moontlike wisselwerking tussen die grense van betekenisvolle kuns en ware opvoeding te delf. Tydens my studie het ek die vermoë van interaktiewe kunswerke om tot die verwesenliking van die universiteit se institusionele visie by te dra, ondersoek. Hierdie navorsing poog om innoverende benaderings tot opvoeding te soek wat die gapings tussen instititionele beleid en praktyk potensieël kan verminder. Die primêre vraag analiseer die aard en effek van studente se reaksies op „n interaktiewe kunswerk wat op die kampus van die Stellenbosch Universiteit geplaas was. Hierdie reaksies het die besonderse konteks van die Stellenbosch Universiteit blootgestel. Hierdeur is aspekte van kunsonderrig in die uitgebreide veld aangedui, wat moontlik hoër onderwys institute in hulle transformatiewe rol behulpsaam kan wees. „n Anti-koloniale paradigma het my deur „n kritieke bewustheid van die magsstryd waarin kennisvorming, geldigheid en verspreiding gewikkel is, begelei. Die terugskouende proses van kwalitatiewe navorsing het „n fassinerende interdissiplinêre landskap toegelaat wat strek vanaf beleidsdokumente tot filosofiese ondersoeke. Die ervaring van die studente, lektore en personeel van die Stellenbosch Universiteit is deur onderhoudsvoering met individue en groepe bestudeer. „n Gevallestudie navorsingsontwerp is gebruik om patrone in hierdie enkel gevalle in te span om versteekte onderliggende vraagstukke te ontbloot. Genuanseerde navorsings bevindings is na vore gebring deur anti-koloniale prisma wat my gelei het om gelyke waarde op beide verskille en ooreenkomste te plaas. Visuele metafore, soos my interaktiewe publieke kunswerk, het filosofiese idees in praktyk oorgeplaas. Dit is hoe hierdie idees reguit na die hart van die deelnemer spreek. Kuns kan so die skeiding tussen binne- en buite-klastyd onderrig oorbrug en die universiteit ondersteun in hul poging om studente as doelgerigte landsburgers voor te berei. Hierdie projek dui terselfdetyd op die universiteit se intitusionele transformasie nie en op die transformatiewe impak van die universiteit op al sy belangegroepe. Om aan „n groep te behoort „n belangrike aspek omdat dit studente in staat stel om die kennis, wat hulle deur hoër onderwys verkry het, te internaliseer. Dit sluit by een van die onderliggende sleutelboodskappe van hoër onderwys aan naamlik dat graduandi landsburgers is wat hulle vaardighede en kennis tot positiewe uitbouing van die samelewing moet aanwend. Die terugvoer van die onderhoude weerspieël dat die kunswerk suksesvol was in die begeleiding van studente se gedagtes en gesprekke, om nuwe kennis te vorm. Dit is moontlik gemaak deur die eerlike spasie waarin die mense opinies kon lig. Inter-dissiplinêre kennisverryking is „n kragtige werktuig wat kurrikulums versterk en wat die impak van universiteitsonderrig verbreed. Die universiteit behoort studente te laat voel asof hulle behoort en om verantwoordelikheid en empatie vir die samelewing se behoeftes by hulle te kweek. Dit blyk dat hierdie kunswerk sekere van daardie sentimente na die oppervlak gebring het. Vir Stellenbosch Universiteit om a instelling te word wat denkleiers van die toekoms vorm, verg dat al die deelnemers wat kollektief bydra tot „n geïntegreerde verstaan van die lewe uitbrie op die waardering van kennis.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/97084
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