The Emerging Conversation Symposium (Contemporary Issues in Art and Visual Culture Education) has been taking place since 2012 at the University of Arizona School of Art,

Below is the schedule and presentation abstracts for the 2013 and 2014 symposiums:


Welcome to Emerging Conversations 2014           (9:00-9:10)

A Visual Research Narrative(9:10-9:30)

Becky Shipe Sunnyside Unified School District and The University of Arizona

This 20-minute session will present how blurring the boundaries between my artist, elementary art teacher, and researcher roles created a unique opportunity to explore the concept of “productive ambiguity”. I define productive ambiguity as the space between the known and the unknown where we play with possibilities and generate new understandings. This dissertation research examined how creating, viewing, dialoguing about, and reflecting upon “visual phenomena” with a small group of fifth graders formed a space for productive ambiguity to emerge. In an effort to build upon these research findings in an unconventional yet engaging way, I created a visual narrative intended to provoke audience feedback and dialogue. During my presentation, I hope to continue facilitating this conversation as we view the visual research narrative together.

Art Installations in Two Deserts (9:32-9:52)

Linda Krecker Arizona State University

The Burning Man Festival is held every August in northern Nevada. Over 300 sculptural and mobile art installations were placed in 2013. In October, a similar event, Burn2 is held in the virtual world, Second Life. 59 virtual art installations were shown in 2013. My study looks at a few of the artworks from both events. Asking questions of the artists who built them, I used Feldman’s method of art criticism to analyze each piece. I then compared them looking for common characteristics. Lastly, I looked at similar external events and compared art installations at these events with those at Burning Man and Burn2. My focus was to discover the universal traits and attributes between the artworks and those from other events. I investigated ways of bringing this type of art installations to students both as objects to study and make.

Collective Learning Resources on (9:55-10:15)

Brian L. Jones Marana Unified School District

Presentation is a research-oriented summary of my forthcoming article in Studies in Art Education on the topic of learning resources produced and distributed by teen and young adult artists on DeviantART members produce collective learning resources – digital documents that stimulate and disseminate learning experiences for other members. I present two examples – an “improvement meme” template and a self-produced music video of one artist’s working process. Such resources blur the boundaries between inside and outside of school influenced learning and institutional schooling and social media platforms as learning environments. I close with seven implications for art educators and art education.

Beauty of Night (10:17-10:25 Pecha Kucha)

Charles Dodoo University of Arizona

My artworks challenge the viewer’s perception and curiosity of the night. By creating an abstracted mode of rendering of images, the artist creates a dialogue for personal interpretation and interaction. Through the expressive use of mixed media, the metaphoric night gives insight into the power of the imagination, the subtleties of color, and the effects of mark-making on mood. As an artist and educator, I view my interactive artworks as a lens for critical pedagogy as it engages the community through art discourse.

Examining the Unfamiliar to Revisit the Familiar (10:25-10:32 Pecha Kucha)

Bonnie Halsey-Dutton University of Arizona

Showcasing examples of how UA students in an iCATS pre-service early childhood education course explored concepts of travel as public pedagogy for possible use in their future classrooms. ARE 361, Creative Arts Methods and Materials, will be examining ideas of place and travel during the Fall 2014 semester. The intent of the unit of study is to challenge students to look at that which is familiar – and thus often invisible – through new eyes. The projects shown were undertaken in order to explore approaches in which pre-service educators could integrate art concepts into elementary curriculum.

Break (10:32-10:50)

Children’s Rights in Practice, Education, and Research (10:50-11:10)

Emily Earl University of Arizona, Psychology Education

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The theoretical frameworks that have emerged since UNCRC was held have challenge traditional views on the treatment of children, their development, and their role in society. Central to reconceptualized theories of childhood, is the recognition that children have a voice, the ability to express themselves, and have views about events that directly impact them and their lives. Practitioners, educations, and researchers are in the unique position to implement child-centered practices, change power dynamics, and support children by acknowledging their ability to construct their own understandings in a variety of contexts and through using an array of resources.

Examining Information Processing Through Museum Performance (11:10-11:30)

Lindsey Baker University of Arizona, Art History

In looking at the role of the docent as a pedagogic liaison for school tour groups, the effectiveness of information sharing may be assessed through basic role reversal. This reversal requires the exhibition guide to first perform a tour, following which the student/tour attendee provides the docent with a tour of the exhibition. As the viewer transforms into the role of exhibition guide, traditionally fixed relationships between teacher and student shift. This practice reveals the effectiveness and types of information most commonly retained by the average student by avoiding semantic limitations. Exhibit information is classified into three divisions: historical, anecdotal and interactive/ interpretive and is analyzed according student retention and engagement.

USDAC Imagining Arts Education #2034 (11:33-11:53)

Michael B. Schwartz USDAC/TAB

The US Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC) is the nation’s newest people-powered department, founded on the truth that art and culture are our most powerful undertapped resources for social change. Radically inclusive, useful, sustainable, and vibrantly playful, the USDAC aims to spark a grassroots, creative change movement, engaging millions in performing and creating a world rooted in empathy, equity, and social imagination. This summer USDAC hosted 17 Imaginings nationwide and posed a simple question: What will our community look like in 2034 when arts and culture are fully infused into every aspect of society? This mini Imagining will give participants an opportunity to consider: What will arts education look like in 2034 when arts and culture are fully infused into every aspect of society? Utilizing open space technology groups will answer this question, and report back to the large group through a well facilitated process.

Earth to Vessel: A Glimpse into Tribal Pottery of Zambia (11:53-12:00 Pecha Kucha)

Lisa Sekulich University of Arizona

There are a precious few who maintain the Bemba tradition of making inongo and mitondo—cooking and cooling pots—in Zambia. Five girls from a boarding school in town were taken to the bush to learn the traditional techniques of making dirt into clay, shaping it into pottery, and firing it to make functional pots. Join me as we explore one of the disappearing arts of Zambia.

What Do They Hide? Hiding Can Be A Way of Finding (12:00-12:07 Pecha Kucha)

Claire Chien University of Arizona

In this project, I used some objects that we see them everywhere in our lives to design my art project of ‘hiding’ to three different age groups. The first door project was for the children at age six to eight. They had to draw a secret thing behind the door and they had to design the door. The second project was for the children at age eight to ten. I asked them to design a drawer and drew their secret things or the things they treasure inside. The third project was for age eleven to thirteen year-old. They had to design a direction sign to represent some essential directions in their lives now. Through their personal connection with the particularly object, children would always reflect themselves through telling their stories, no matter the story is real experience or a fiction. The hiding helps them to find a way to find themselves.

Q&A Session and Closing Event (12:10-1:00)


PRESENTATION ABSTRACTS Morning Block (10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.):

When STEM became STEAM: Why science museums need the arts

Anne Thwaits University of Arizona

When physicist and educator Frank Oppenheimer founded the Exploratorium in San Francisco in 1969, a grounding principle was the belief that art and science are complementary ways of exploring the world. Many other science and natural history museums have followed its lead in merging the two seemingly-disparate disciplines. Through multiple case studies, this presentation will explore how and why non-art museums incorporate art and visual culture into their exhibitions and programming.

Visual Discussions with VoiceThread

Melody Buckner University of Arizona

VoiceThread, a Web 2.0 technology, is a collaborative, multimedia slide show that displays images, documents, and videos. It allows people to navigate slides and leave comments in a variety of ways including voice, text, audio file, or video. VoiceThread takes the boring one way text discussion board to a new level by turning the conversation into a visual appealing presentation that can be shared from anywhere in the world. In this session I will discuss how to integrate VoiceThread into your learning environments or lesson plans.

Museum Education in High School

Chelsea Farrar University of Arizona

In this presentation, I will share my research regarding best practices of utilizing museum resources (works of art) to practice writing in the high school setting. My research focuses on the Core standards and 21st Century skills (aka critical thinking) and how these may be addressed from the art museum’s unique perspective of a historical visual culture institution. How can teachers access these lessons? How can they be used in the classroom and/or the museum setting? What are the educational links to looking at art and writing? The power of the arts to teach Donn Poll Arts Integration Solutions We know the arts have the power to engage us fully, from head to heart and every molecule in between. Arts integration is a fast emerging use of the arts to engage preK-12 grade students in classroom learning experiences. This session will involve participants discussions in various aspects of arts integration.

Teaching Relevance

Barbara Bergstrom University of Arizona

Profoundly interested in what it takes to genuinely engage every student artist in my classroom, I have learned that when students know why they are learning or practicing a particular subject or activity, they better understand, and embrace, potential personal gain. As I believe that relevancy is the key to maintaining a student’s mindful hold on creative production, this presentation will address how a student artist’s understanding of purpose impacts motivation.

Afternoon Block (1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.):

How I’ve come to know multi-cultural art education: Perspectives from an elementary art and visual culture educator

Becky Shipe University of Arizona

This presentation, provided in a spoken and illustrated narrative format, intends to apply a self-reflexive, autoethnographic tone to the following research inquiry: Can experiences with art help to nurture a healthy cultural identity of self and others? As a practicing elementary art teacher and informal researcher, I will share how I’ve addressed this topic through literature reviews and curriculum implementation over the past three years.

Considering an Applied Visual Culture Technique with First Year Unfamiliar Art Teachers and Native American Students

Mara Pierce University of Arizona

This session will explore ten reasons why using film as an art and visual culture tool is an ideal way for first time unfamiliar teachers teaching public school art in Native American communities. We look at how deeper meanings are made for both student and teacher, and how connections evolve through projects.

Art, Diversity, Culture and Soul

Claire Campbell Park Pima Community College

I have noticed a tendency for educators to actively promote a very limited perspective of contemporary art, which is a relatively recent construct of Western European culture and is predominantly psychoanalytic and confrontational. I found this confining, and began looking at the foundations of creativity in a more multicultural way. Instead of encouraging students to fit into current assumptions about art, the resulting discussions free students to define what is truly important to them, and refine and strengthen their own personal integrity.

“Mom, I’m Gay.” And other things youth say after taking my art and social justice programs

Sarah Gonzales, TruthSarita Consulting, LLC 

Quotes like these from youth (or relayed by angry parents) reveal the complexities of running a social justice based youth arts program. For community based activists, facing challenges like these illuminate the collaborative gap between traditional social justice education models and formally trained art educators. Lessons learned and mistakes still brewing will be illustrated using images from a variety of youth art and social justice projects run in Tucson, AZ.

The Role of the Non-Image in Art Education

Stuart Robinson University of Arizona

In graduate school, a professor informed me that a proper presentation ended with a blank black screen. I found it paradoxical that nothing signified the conclusion of something. I have returned to the concept of nothingness and have pondered its role in art education, and argue that non-creation merits admiration as a form of mindfulness and that non-images offer paths to enlightenment.

Study evaluating creativity in undergraduate graphic design

Claudia Ivette Rodriguez Lucio Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez

In this presentation, I will discuss an instrument that was developed to evaluate creative abilities among graphic design students. Students own journal entries, as well as evaluation rubrics, were used to generate a better comprehension of creativity in the realm of graphic design, and generate a metacognition within students about their own creative processes.

Matters of taste and teaching

Alfonso Guevara Universidad de Monterrey & Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey

As teachers, we are constantly influencing the judgment of our students. However, is it dangerous to do this? Are we pushing our moral positions about art and aesthetics? Definitely, being a teacher in this area comes with the responsibility to have a point of view and impart knowledge, but should we be pushing our own philosophical reflections onto our students?