I want to thank all of your for participating in the ENGAGE at CCA Studio Thinking in Practice training day in December. Thanks to Ann and Sanjit for hosting and to Joe and Kristi at the Center for Art and Public Life for scheduling, Xeroxing, compiling, ordering, schlepping and helping with all aspects of the day.
It was very inspiring for me to meet all of you and experience your commitment to service learning in and through the arts. As we usher in a new year and more importantly, a new decade, I view our collective work as a powerful tool to inspire the future of Service Learning at CCA. The following is a log of the day’s events, with a few of my own notes thrown in for good measure. Feel free to make comments as you see fit as these are not exhaustive, but a taste of some of our musings and findings.
One of the main goals of the Studio Thinking in Practice project is to use teaching tools to increase student engagement as well as teacher reflection and analysis. (See our understanding goals in the post below.) The Studio Thinking Framework, developed by Harvard researchers Lois Hetland, Ellen Winner, Shirley Veenema and Kimberley Sheridan at Harvard’s Project Zero identify how and what the arts teach. The three studio structures explain HOW the arts teach: Demonstration Lecture (group instruction), Students-at-Work (individual or partner collaboration time–this is where the ‘rubber meets the road’), and Critique (talking about art with peers and instructors). WHAT the arts teach–the real crux of the framework–is identified in the 8 Studio Habits of Mind: develop craft, envision, observe, engage and persist, stretch and explore, express, understand art world, and reflect.
To better understand these 8 habits, we watched Bay Area painter Hung Liu in her Oakland studio painting and reflecting on her artistic process and personal history. We collectively de-constructed the video and listed our observations on the Studio Habits of Mind (SHoM) wheel, a circular graphic where no habit is privileged over any other:
1. UNDERSTAND ART WORLD
-Sense of herself as a contemporary painter
-Awareness of history/China/Homeland
-Lives in Oakland, part of the American art world
2. DEVELOP CRAFT
-Studied art in China
3. ENGAGE & PERSIST
-“Not sure where to start”
-Enters with confidence
-“Who are you?”
-“How will I represent you?”
-Where she is/what she wants/how she paints
-“I’ve lived lives of others”
-Looking at photos
-Living/lives her experiences suits sadness
-Life in fields/connection helped develop eye sensitivity
-Remembered her time in China
8. STRETCH & EXPLORE
-Developed drip technique with linseed oil
I find it very compelling for young artists to watch accomplished artists at work and use the Studio Habits to articulate what they saw the artist doing. By doing so, young people gain more knowledge of the art world, art history, techniques and styles, and learn to identify qualities such as artistic vision, perseverance and problem solving–all qualities we want to nurture. Other videos I recommend are: Art21’s Kerry James Marshall, Mark Bradford, Kara Walker, Pepón Osario, and SPARK’s Favianna Rodriguez, Enrique Chagoya, and RIGO, to name a few.
We then brainstormed the question: How might these Studio Habits of Mind enrich our classrooms and our collaborations? The list below is evidence of our collective purpose and willingness to embrace a new framework:
- Linking principles of attitudinal healing deeper sense of self
- Enriching a ‘task’
- Helping students see more relevance
- Linking to “relevance” “rigor” “relationship”
- Increasing visual fluency
- Connecting to life skills
- Turning a new eye to neighborhood life
- Encouraging art/observing/envisioning
- Focusing on practice/history of environment
- Bringing in cultural relevancy
- Connecting/re-connecting to indigenous practice
- Importance of teacher/investigate structures & history & biases & aesthetics ‡ art world systems of power
- Applying to writing process
- Multiple contexts/other disciplines life skills
- Importance of reflection, shifting paradigm ‡ giving = receiving
- Reflection gives purpose! “What did you appreciate today?”
- Documentation of personal growth
In addition to learning the SHoM, we assessed our students’ strengths and needs and began identifying our understanding goals in four areas of learning: academic learning, studio learning, collaborative/community learning, and inter/intra personal learning. (To download your colleagues planning documents, click on the planning tab.) We also ventured into the lab to learn the basics of blog posting. Thanks to Trena for setting up each blog and for training us.
Much of our professional development this semester will study service learning pedagogy and our applications of the Studio Thinking Framework. We also want to think about how we make our own learning visible. In the coming months, we will dialog online re: new pedagogical frameworks, methods, and practices that push our thinking forward. I hope this space will reflect the diversity of thinking among you and allow creative reflection, questioning, and resource sharing. I will be posting articles and reflection prompts every other week to encourage conversation. Please post to your blog bi-monthly or even weekly so that you have a solid record of your service learning collaboration and your own learning.
And we’re off…