It is important to address the key social and cultural theorisations around issues such as freedom, democracy, knowledge and instrumentalism that impact the university and its relationship with and to the arts. This book maps out various ways in which the arts and creative practices are manifest in contemporary university-based adult education work, be it the classroom, in research or in the community. It is divided into three sections that reflect the normative structure or 'three pillars' of the contemporary university: teaching, research and service. The focus is on a programme that stems from the university's mission and commitment to encouraging its graduates to become more engaged citizens, willing to think critically and creatively about issues of global import, social justice and inequality. The Storefront 101 course, a free University of Calgary literature course for 'non-traditional' adult learners, aims to involve students in active dialogic processes of learning and civic and cultural engagement. Using the concept of pop-up galleries, teacher education is discussed. The book contextualises the place and role of the arts in society, adult education, higher education and knowledge creation, and outlines current arts-based theories and methodologies. It provides examples of visual and performing arts practices to critically and creatively see, explore, represent, learn and discover the potential of the human aesthetic dimension in higher education teaching and research. A more holistic and organic approach to lifelong learning is facilitated by a 'knowing-through-doing' approach, which became foregrounded as a defining feature of this project.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book describes various ways in which the arts and creative practices are manifest in contemporary university-based adult education work, be it the classroom, in research or in the community. Working as co-instructors, co-collaborators and co-artists, the authors share how they used concepts of embodied ways of knowing and practices of storytelling and performance to refine the linguistic imagination. The book examines the authors' work on 'Teacher education and the pop-up art school'. In 'Theatre-based action research for health in Denmark', the authors in the book explores the potential and the challenges of using drama as a tool of action research in the healthcare community. The book also explores the process leading up to a metissage performance, describes its effect on the audience and reflects on the lessons learned along the way.
This chapter provides a space to critically reflect on how and why the authors' integrate the arts into their adult education work at the university. In the International Council for Adult Education, the arts from photography, theatre, music, poetry and dance to collage and knitting were seen as powerful instruments to enable new understandings of a complex and rapidly changing society. Arts-based activities can lessen the anxiety of many graduate students as they encounter a new language of academia which can include dense theoretical texts to which they struggle to relate. Arts-based activities create alternative spaces for engagement by more students. The authors learn about the complexity of imagination and its valuable place in encouraging critical social and cultural learning. The students work with the artist to develop the artwork and then make a one-hour presentation to class on the experience.
This chapter concludes some closing thoughts on the concepts discussed in the preceding chapters of this book. The book focuses on the journeys in which art's social and aesthetic dimensions are polarities between which critical teaching, research and education can be done in and through the academy. Arts-based forms enable sharing and negotiating of power, challenging a binaristic view of the world. In the binaristic view of the world, 'truth' is sought through experimentation and theorising in which power is maintained of inequitable access to the creation of truth and knowledge. New relationships develop through arts-based expressions of ideas and serve to strengthen existing relationships, as Rob mark shows through the creative methodology of peacebuilding. The book talks about the relationships created through the needs of their learners and have attempted to foster relationships within their classes and beyond.