Moving beyond immanence: artist teacher networking and collaborative arts practice

Matthews, Miranda. 2024. Moving beyond immanence: artist teacher networking and collaborative arts practice. In: Rachel Payne, ed. Professional Learning for Artist Teachers: Pedagogy, Partnerships and Practice in UK Contexts, Edited by Rachel Payne. Maidenhead: Open University Press, pp. 126-140. ISBN 9780335252152 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

Conditions for art and design practice in schools in the UK are currently notoriously difficult. There is an ongoing scarcity of subject-specific Continued Professional Development (CPD) for teachers (Thomas 2022). Before the austerity era that started in 2010, teachers were often encouraged to go to external moderation sessions, to take a short course in a new skill, or to do a Masters qualification with support from their school (Matthews 2018). In addition, in the 2020s, everyone has had to make adjustments during and since the pandemic. The more long-term effects of the pandemic, such as learning gaps and economic adversity, are still affecting education in the UK and internationally (Moss 2022). Additional challenges have arisen for being an artist teacher, or a student of art and design, in relation to the rapid increase in costs of living, and eco-anxieties in the ‘Earth crisis’ of climate change (McKenzie 2020).

Art and design education is in need of adaptive, sustainable strategies. In the context of rapid policy change, artist teachers also need arguments that can act as levers in discussions where the arts are brought to the table for justification. I will argue here that the collaborative networking of artist teachers offers strategies for tackling the immanent contexts for practice.

The research presented in this chapter has emerged from a project I began in 2018, to investigate how art and design practitioners respond to educational policy in their practice. I set out to explore how artist teachers make adjustments in their department ethos, in resourcing practice through professional networks, and their individual and collaborative responses in practice. The research of pre-pandemic, pandemic and post-pandemic artist teacher practice informs the structure of the chapter. The research intends to offer ways of contributing theorised, practice centred support for sustaining flourishing artist teacher networks.

Artist teachers in the UK can be seen to contribute to a contemporary ‘ethical turn’ in educational philosophies (Marso 2017: 7). This ethical shift encompasses equal cultural opportunities and shared cultural capital, in supportive transactions between practitioners, students and their environments. My research findings indicate that artist teacher ecosystems are co-creating and materially shaping intentions for art and design practice taught in schools. Contributing to this supportive ethical turn, my analysis in this chapter will focus on an artist teacher group that I have connected with in research since 2018; this group is Tower Hamlets Artist Teachers - ‘THAT’.

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Book Section

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Educational Studies
Educational Studies > Centre for the Arts and Learning


9 January 2024Published

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Date Deposited:

05 Feb 2024 11:29

Last Modified:

05 Feb 2024 11:29


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