Marginalisation of the visual arts resulting from the marketisation of education impacts young people’s access to and interaction with culture on a global stage. In England this educational disruption is characterised by inconsistent access to arts-based curricula and democratic pedagogies, where those from lower socio-economic backgrounds are at risk of neglect. Influenced by this political malaise I conducted micro- ethnographic research examining how artist workshops shape cultural interactions of children aged 11 and 12. The research aimed to provide new opportunities for participants living and studying in an area of deprivation in a South of England city with uneven access to broad cultural experiences. Situated in a contemporary art gallery over a two week period the study interrogates how environmental factors affect children’s development from a sociocultural perspective. By analysing conversations and art production, children’s meaning-making formations are revealed. Findings indicate that values underpinning the research partnership and performed by the artist are paramount in shaping development. In turn participants perceive themselves as becoming artists where the reproduction of social practices generates new knowledge and identities. Environmental factors disrupt participants’ experiences of pedagogy exposing power and control at the heart of the English education system. However, with new found agency emerges a redistribution of power performed through dialogue between participants and the cultural environment.
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences\School of Education
Year of publication: 2018Date of RADAR deposit: 2018-06-12