Bringing installation art to reconnaissance to share values and generate action
Townsend, Andrew and Thomson, Pat (2015) Bringing installation art to reconnaissance to share values and generate action. Educational Action Research, 23 (1). pp. 36-50. ISSN 0965-0792
The English education system has recently seen something of a revival of enthusiasm for the use of research both to develop educational practices and to gather evidence about their effectiveness. These initiatives often present action research as a model of individual problem-solving, which, we argue, communicates a limited conception of action research. In this paper we propose an alternative to this ‘problem-solving’ conception of action research that acknowledges the complex, messy nature of action research through the use of arts installations. Specifically, we present the reconnaissance phase of a project which brought together a partnership comprising a water heritage museum, university staff, teachers and artists. A pedagogical adaptation of contemporary installation art theory and practice fostered the exploration of individual and collective understandings of water, and also established a shared approach to curriculum development and ownership of the project among all participants. We propose that this creative practice enhanced and changed the process of reconnaissance; it allowed the group to establish and share commitments to the value of water conservation and generated a wide range of options for our action research.
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