Bob Selman, introductions & welcome
"Humility is overrated"
CMEI has been a great success! Lots of interest in the school - let's keep up the momentum!
Active student group - encourage students to get involved with this group.
Introduces Meira - has a lot of kinetic energy (and even more potential energy)!
Keep the discussion alive - today and online - to help us within the HGSE learn from the contributions, contribute to the larger university, and beyond these walls to the virtual world.
Want to bridge outside this circle to people who may not have been interested in civic and moral education. Include performers, practitioners, actors, instigators, artists, scholars, alumni, youth, policymakers, both here in the school and elsewhere.
Try and find continuance that may be somewhat more disjointed than what happened last year. Last year, we began to form a deeper conversation about these themes. Outside speakers who will be attending this year may not become deeply involved in this kind of deep discussion, but the impetus is on us to keep defining the "problem space" and dig into what we want to keep exploring as the initiative goes on. Want this to be a partnership and exchange of ideas - bridging outside the world of civic/moral ed to include those working in arts education, as well as those outside the academic world.
Thanks, Steve, for taking time from an "old friend" to give some thoughts to what to talk about today. Friend commented "I never know what people mean by 'civic education'!" Steve had the same reaction this past summer. The same can be said of arts education. What does that mean?
This very comment - what do we mean? - resonates with conversations that have been going regarding the challenges that the field of arts education has been facing. Lack of clarity in the field. (wow, that sounds familiar... is any field unanimously defined?)
Very few people have well-developed ideas about what arts ed means - mostly this is dependent on their own experiences. People's reactions range from "very important, essential to education" to "just frivolous and a waste of time."
Not an easy integration to talk about - civic and arts. There are overlaps, but also important distinctions.
Commonalities: multiplicity of reasons for engaeing in each field
characterized by a lack of clarity both by people in the general public as well as people in this room.
both realms are characterized by distinct links to marginalized approaches to the purpose of schooling (e.g., president's decision to address the public school students in the country -- this was a sobering reminder of the level of dialogue that we actually have in this country around civic education)
Both characterized by their marginality in the field of education, the dialogue and debate. If you wanted to get your (arts or civic ed) agenda into the dialogue in mainstream conversations, you'd avoid siding with the other field to get in.
Arts and democracy
I'm here b/c I consider them both practices, they are both inventions, they bth need to be demonstrated as as good as they can be. The arts know both the deepest interior of the human experience as well as the broadest level of social interactions.
I like to live at the intersection of these two realms, to talke life and living to a higher level, deeper accomplishment as a human community.
Personal experience: in my own experience, the connections between the arts and civic education had always been obvious. In my own schooling, we all participated in a final performance.
For some students, these two domains are often not related or prominent in their experiences in school
Propose two questions for the year (See slides)
In answer to these questions, we are more likely to find answers if we look at them in a comparative context. Conference in Brazil last month, Educational Administration and management: Citizenship and Human Rights.
Why the start the conference with a group of students' musical performance? Many educators who work in human rights know that art is a way to put students in a position of strength, engage students, their own agency, protagonism. Arts is a way to connect students to practical problems. Building bridges between engaging in popular arts and good education in other academic areas.
Pakistan example: Centre for Civic Education in Pakistan
Course in Visual Arts; based on Eisner's ideas (Stanford U) on relating arts to engaged citizenship and democracy. Aren't these the same outcomes we would look for in good science education, for example? What is unique or different about citizenship education.
CEDAC - NGO in Brazil that uses a curriculum that integrates arts into the language arts teaching, teacher professional development to use arts to engage students in language arts, using arts in PD to help teachers reflect on their own practice and adaptation of their teaching to diverse students. www.cedac.org.br/links.asp
3rd Year Doctoral Student: wasn't expecting to find herself working in this area, but has come to think seriously about dynamics of power, knowledge, identity
Art museums are implicated historically, and in the present. Arts, citizenship, and morality are not neutral forces in the world.
What exists in the literature:
Contention about the nature of museums and how they serve their communities. Need to appeal to both elite institutions as well as the masses. "Monoculturalism" in museums tends to turn some people away. Arts depends on elites for funding.
Public art museums shaped by national policy - "civilising function" - tools for shaping national identities.
"Cultural capacity as a right to the citizenship" --?
Focus on access and consumption - notion that artists are the sole genius sources of art, as compared with "non-artists."
what constitutes active participation in the art museum? How might diverse populations participate in the museum in a way that breaks with the elitists notions of legitimate creations?
Notion of "taste" as imbued with moral and aesthetic power.
What do we call art? Art is produced in particular contexts.
Sorry, Tiffanie, it was hard to keep up with your eloquent presentation! I hope I just did you justice.
If we were forced to make a choice, which side would you put yourself on? Moral/civic education ---- Arts education.
First instinct was that this was an odd pairing. Student government groups versus the drama crowd never hung out with each other in high school! (Laughter in the crowd seems to indicate that this distinction rings true for a lot of us)
Typical notions of the fields:
Civic education tends to seek generalities, seen as inculcating us with accepted normative values, laws and norms we should live under; hyper-rational, debates among philosophers,
The arts tends to see the world in ways that are particular, expressive, creative and personal,
Imagined communities (Anderson) - both arts and civic education can work to bring us together
BUT, also can push us to grapple with difficult realities, while the norms in politics tend to close these windows
What's unique about the arts?
1) Drawing on Dewey, good education is experiential.
2) Art forces you to create something in ways that are not true in many other areas.
3) the arts have very developed specific ways in which you are inducted into the field (novice, expert continuum) - more so than in other spheres.
1) How the enterprises of Arts education and of Civic Education are viewed within our society - marginalized, ambiguous and contested concepts. High salience, low levels of definition and clarity. How are these fields treated by educators and others? What are their roles in society?
2) What is happening and what are we learning? When we do art, is it more important that we learn to do art, or that we learn to do other things? Learning to create and open ourselves up in a public way. The practice of doing art in relationship with the process of becoming more engaged civic and moral human beings? If we do art very well, might that foster the kinds of ways we interact with one another?
3) How is art deployed as a civic tool? How is it a tool of power and politics? The production and display of art is inherently not neutral. Social uses of art in a group/contextual level to create who we are.
4) The practice of politics as opposed to the tradition of art. How these are used as forces to create community. How the practice of doing art, rather than serving as a way of looking in from the outside, could serve as a model for becoming part of the inside. (Is this what she said? oops.)
Civic education as being socialized. Arts education as personal expression.
Are these inherently part of what "good" education is? Are they ALWAYS present in the curriculum, whether we see them or not? Inherent in education is the process of becoming aware of what society expects of us. Inherent as well is finding how we express ourselves. These can be more or less oriented toward individual or social liberation, versus individual or social restriction
It's amazing how little time it's taken for our speakers to take two fairly huge constructs- arts and education- and to very quickly suggest even more grand dimensions. Fernando reminds us that we need to consider these ideas not just nearby, but far and wide. Fernando's emphasis on student and teacher produced works contrasts with Tiffanie's discussion of professional art and special works held in museums. Fernando talked about the arts helping school communities work more closely together, and Tiffanie talked about art museums shaping national conflict and identity. There is a lot here to work with!
Claim 1- Both Civic Education and Arts Education have a lack of conceptual clarity in our schools
Claim 2- This lack of clarity leads to marginalization
Question- If we we think Civic and Arts should moved more towards the center, should we define these concepts more clearly (perhaps losing complexity)? Or should demand that Arts and Civic Education be moved to center even despite their lack of clarity and conceptual character?
I think this sort of question could really help organize the sessions that follows.
Thanks, Justin! I really appreciated Meira's response to my question. The notion that art and artists are meant to question society as it is and many artists revel in their position of being on the edge, therefore how much can we demand acceptance, is a tricky thing. That has totally made me rethink a lot of things with regard to acceptance: not only of one's position, but in relation to education writ large.
I also enjoyed how Tiffanie brought in a critical perspective on the notion of art in our society. How and what we define as art is an action that is both filled with meaning and creates meaning. I would love to explore the implications of arts in the larger cultural context affects our work within learning spaces.
Jenny, thanks so much for the notes! If you get a moment, I would love to hear your thoughts on these. Actually, I would have preferred to hear your reaction to the talks more than anything else. Though I understand why you did what you did.
This is just to put on the digital table a comment I shared during the session itself. As we pondered the possible connections between civic and moral education on the one hand and the arts and arts education on the other, we mostly foregrounded positive connections along with various puzzles about the quest for connections. It's worth remembering here that many genres and movements in the world of the arts have been viewed in some quarters as corrupting and undermining of civic and moral life. There is a persistent association between artistic creativity and rebellion of one sort or another, as Meira noted, even though of course a good deal of art is highly conventional and disturbs no one. Rock 'n roll was supposed to be the death of moral fiber for we kids when I was a teenager. Official stances in both the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany found a good deal of the arts of their days deviant and inimical to their visions of society. On the other hand, we would find a good deal of Soviet art and Nazi art emphatically morally repugnant. Some art rather plainly explores the dark sides of human nature, and, some would ask, to what good end? -- films, television, and literature commonly trade on the thrills of sex and violence, sometimes in ways that elevate sensibility and deepen insight (Crime and Punishment say), and sometimes in ways that pretty much seen to lack a redeeming agenda, which isn't to say that we don't have a good time watching or reading. And isn't to say that such examples aren't artfully done and respected as art; they may well be! Balthus’ paintings, Silence of the Lambs, whatever.