How can we Create the Conditions for Students’ Freedom of Speech within Studies in Art?

Matthews, M.. 2008. How can we Create the Conditions for Students’ Freedom of Speech within Studies in Art? International Journal of Art and Design Education, 27(2), pp. 133-143. ISSN 1476-8070 [Article]

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This study investigates how the dynamics of students’ voice can be productively brought into teaching situations. I have researched the condi- tions required for constructive freedom of speech, within art education. I explored the potential for vocal peer assessment and for students’ ownership of their educational experiences, for the Teacher–Artist Partnership Programme, 2006–7.

My methodology engages in a dialectical exchange between the philosophies of Jean-Paul Sartre and Michel Foucault, specifically their ethics and interpretations of freedom. This theory was integrated via action research, with the creative learning situation. Sartre’s reflections on free- will, ‘free commitment’ and the ‘free project of a sentence’ are discussed. These ideas are related to Foucault’s stance on personal autonomy, and the individual’s interface with structures of power and knowledge. I have also charted research on student consultation by Sarah Bragg, examining parallels between contemporary perspectives and the views of pragmatist John Dewey. The project was conducted in a creative partner- ship with artist Thurle Wright. We planned work- shops that would maximise freedom of expres- sion, with students of AS Photography at Crown Woods School, Greenwich. The transcripts of group discussions after the workshops have provided essential insights into how students can contend with preconceptions, and autonomously interpret freedom.

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Educational Studies


28 June 2008Published

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Date Deposited:

28 Feb 2018 12:07

Last Modified:

12 Jun 2018 10:01

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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