Reflection from Gertrude and Steve

As we made our way through clay heads, origami, tent making, film, photography, drawings and paintings, we wondered, as a co-facilitator of the “Id Est” project “what unique offerings do the creative arts have to offer in this space?”  we were struck by the words of one PME student who said “the way you create something, it is sort of like putting your whole self into the project and feeling it from the inside out.  You get to a different level, you get to a rawness that just doesn’t come with an academic essay, it is embodied”. The student was referring to work she did with her students on the Genocide of the Yazidis people, particularly an online exchange with a family living in a camp for displaced people in Northern Iraq.  The power of a single story was evident when I met her students who passionately spoke about and were deeply concerned about the Yazidis people.  “There was something about making the tent”, one young person said.  It was a very physical and emotional experience, an experience you cannot feel if you are just reading online.  We want action”.

One facilitator decided to make a creative piece about her own research and would now highly recommend any educator to do so.  “You have to experience this yourself, only then do you know why you are really using the creative arts in this work. For me images allowed me to show what I could never say in words, audio/visual allowed my research participants to come alive. The visceral feeling of creating my artefact brought me in touch with more profound and different understandings of my own research.  I had to see, feel, think and hear differently and in so doing I gained new insights”.

One challenge perhaps is to remember that the production of artwork does not become an end in itself.  It is important to continually bring students back to the key messages.

Having an exhibition of students’ work at the Glucksman Gallery at UCC provided a platform for students to showcase projects and bring their Dev. Ed. message to a wider audience.  It also sent a message that this work is important and deserves a high profile in a highly respected art gallery.

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