Research Articles (Visual Arts)

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    Continuous programme renewal and critical citizenship : key items for the South African higher education curriculum agenda
    (AOSIS, 2018-06-18) Bitzer, Eli; Costandius, Elmarie
    In this article, we explore the term ‘programme renewal’ and then continue to point out why programme renewal bodes an essential topic for continuous inquiry and attention. We also highlight the importance of approaching programme renewal from a sound theoretical base and point to the important issue of promoting critical citizenship with students in learning programmes. We finally point to the links between programme renewal and critical citizenship through four sample cases.
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    Exploring shame and pedagogies of discomfort in critical citizenship education
    (AOSIS, 2019-09-30) Costandius, Elmarie; Alexander, Neeske
    Background: Social transformation in South Africa is a sensitive issue because of the historical realities of segregation and past injustices. Aim: To address transformation, Visual Communication Design students were asked to design an exhibition, event, sculpture or garden to memorialise the forced removals that took place on the site of the current Arts and Social Sciences Building of Stellenbosch University and to thereby contribute with their own ‘voices’ to an event or exhibition. Setting: The focus of the project was to memorialise the forced removals that occurred on the place known then as Die Vlakte. The aim was to investigate the reactions of students and community members to explore how a visual communication project prepared them or failed to prepare them for dealing with social injustice. Methods: A case study research design was applied, and inductive qualitative content analysis was used in processing and organising data. The theoretical framework included critical citizenship education, social justice, pedagogy of discomfort, shame and white shame. Results: Critical citizenship education may form part of pedagogies of discomfort, and shame may be used positively as we ask students to negotiate emotionally charged subjects through visual communication. Conclusion: As the case studies have shown, students are capable of identifying sources of discomfort and growing from them to perceive a local historic event in a more sensitive and inclusive way.
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    The "human colour" crayon : investigating the attitudes and perceptions of learners regarding race and skin colour
    (University of South Africa Press, 2017) Alexander, Neeske; Costandius, Elmarie
    Some coloured and black learners in South Africa use a light orange or pink crayon to represent themselves in art. Many learners name this colour “human colour” or “skin colour”. This is troublesome, because it could reflect exclusionary ways of representing race in images and language. This case study, conducted with two schools in the Western Cape, investigated Grade 3 learners’ attitudes and perceptions regarding race and skin colour through art processes and discussion. The aim was to promote critical engagement with race in Foundation Phase educational contexts. Suggestions include changing the language used to describe skin colour, just recognition and representation of races in educational resources and the promotion of critical citizenship education. This research indicates the need to create practical curriculum guidelines to discuss race issues in the South African classroom.
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    Investigating "othering" in visual arts spaces of learning
    (University of South Africa Press, 2017) Biscombe, Monique; Conradie, Stephane; Costandius, Elmarie; Alexander, Neeske
    In the political, social, cultural and economic context of South Africa, higher education spaces provide fertile ground for social research. This case study explored “othered” identities in the Department of Visual Arts of Stellenbosch University. Interviews with students and lecturers revealed interesting and controversial aspects in terms of their experiences in the Department of Visual Arts. Theoretical perspectives such as “othering”, symbolic racism, the racialised body and visual art theory were used to interpret these experiences. It was found that “othering” because of indirect racism and language or economic circumstances affects students’ creative expression. Causes of “othering” experiences should be investigated in order to promote necessary transformation within the visual arts and within higher education institutions.
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    Exploring the transformative potential of collaborative art projects on the Stellenbosch University campus
    (UNISA Press, 2015) Costandius, Elmarie; Perold, Karolien
    this article explores the potential of visual art projects in negotiating social transformation within the context of a South African higher education institution (HeI). the experiences of students and staff involved in three collaborative visual art projects initiated at Stellenbosch University (SU), Stellenbosch, South Africa from 2013 to 2014 were explored through interviews, observations and reflective writing. It was found that through harnessing the medium of art as critical dialogic tool operating amidst the embedded differences and divides of the past, institutional culture can be re-imagined and aspects of critical citizenship, particularly tolerance of difference and democracy, can be realised within the collective university community. In conclusion, it is suggested that visual art projects of this kind seem to have the potential to access what Bhabha (1995) terms the ‘third Space’ and to facilitate transformative learning. It can play a valuable part in negotiating social transformation in South African higher education.