Wednesday, January 30, 2008

So about that eagle...

I always wanted to go to UNT. My dad was completing his doctoral work at UNT when I was born. I used to ride in a basket on the back of his bike when we would go to the library so he could do research. He and my big sister and brother and my mom would go listen to live jazz at UNT all the time. The eagle was an important icon from my early childhood. We moved when I was four and I told my playmates at the daycare my mom ran out of our house that I would come back to UNT for college. I didn't make it back for my undergraduate degree, but I did finally achieve my goal. That eagle was something to strive for all those years. It represented the education I felt was key to my success. I also think of my dad when I see the eagle. He was a historian, and an expert in native culture. There's more, too....

I think about how perceptive people are described as having the "eagle eye". I will continue to add to this post, I think.

Friday, January 18, 2008

What is arts-based research?

This question has rolled around in my mind for months. My colleagues and I have talked about it, looked at it, toyed with the ideas and writing surrounding it, but I hadn't committed to answering that question until recently. So here I am, beginning my trial run of this form of research, in blog form. Before I confuse everyone and re-arrange the cart/horse relationship, I should give you some background on how I arrived at arts-based research.

I entered the museum education graduate program looking for a way to widen the arc of my art educating possibilities. I taught middle school previous to my current adventure. I found myself wanting to connect what was happening in my classroom with the wider community. I wanted to see how intergenerational learning looks in action. I wanted to try teaching ideas and processes without the end product resulting in competition between participants and colleagues. I also wanted to work without having to use laminated reproductions as my everyday visual resource. 
So working in an art museum is all that and a bag of chips, right? Well, for the most part that's true. I've had some great internships and volunteer opportunities to confirm my career choice. The down side is I'm loosing my long summer vacations and (often) the pay in a museum position is lower than public school art positions in the same area. So, all that aside, you may be wondering why I'm not working in a museum yet. Well, that's another story.
My coursework is more than complete. I have more hours than I need to graduate. I lack a thesis. I am considering arts-based research as a possibility for my thesis research method. I would like to incorporate my photography, illustrations, and personal reflective writing into an interactive research project. Here's where you become integral to the process. I'm not sure where this blog will take us, but I'm hoping you'll help me find out. I will have monthly surveys, photography/images, and reflective writing to offer, and I hope you will offer you input as well. 

So back to that first question...

Are you willing to help me discover the answer?