Tales of transformation through children's global arts: a living dissertation




Cruickshanks, Nadine

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Since its inception in 2003, it is becoming increasingly evident that meaningful pursuits in the field of Children’s Global Arts can change lives. The specific intention of this research has been to document ‘tales of transformation’ as shared by various global arts participants to discover how individuals can alter the way they perceive the world and their role within it. Through the power of art, story, and relationship, a renewed perspective of education emerges that compels us to look very differently at what it means to teach and to learn in an interdependent and fragile world. By the closing chapter, hope for humanity is restored by rethinking schools as agents for change where a focus on disposition and inquiry rather than curriculum and methodology, provide the value and significance for education in the 21st century. Chapter 1 opens up the dialogue by presenting the challenges facing many children in the world today, including those living in ‘privileged’ societies such as Canada. It also confronts the educational profession to assume its role and responsibility in addressing the problems and solutions that face children and the world. Chapter 2 provides background knowledge and theory in areas significant to this dissertation, including transformational learning, educational change, arts-based research, and child advocating philosophies. Chapter 3 explains my research intention and process, including a glimpse into humanistic and holistic pedagogy. The true beginning of this dissertation unfolds in Chapter 4 as stories begin to be told through a pivotal Children’s Global Art’s event - the Learning and the World We Want conference - held in Victoria in November 2003. The serendipitous nature of this initiative also unfolds through the highlighting of the Global Arts catalogue, DVD, website, Children`s Global Arts Foundation, and team approach. The classroom and community scenarios revealed in Chapters 5-8 demonstrate ways in which the global arts project, under the mentorship of experienced educators and facilitators, have provided a safe environment for students of diverse age, background and worldview, to break through a “culture of silence” through creative and candid encounters with Self and Others. Chapter 9 compels us to look critically at Canada’s privileged society and culture, and brings awareness to the prevailing paradox and hegemonic forces at play when considering global educational initiatives. Weaving the global arts stories and patterns of this dissertation together, Chapter 10 highlights unifying elements of transformation, revealing answers to original research questions, and a refreshing sense of hope for our troubled world: • How are experiences in Children’s Global Arts shifting the ways those involved view the world and their role within it? • What are the key elements that contribute to those experiences? Chapter 11 outlines the implications and support for Children’s Global Arts at the classroom and school level by taking a closer look at basic school structures, and identifying ways in which they can be perceived differently in order to accommodate transformational understandings as identified in the preceding chapters of this dissertation. The concluding Chapter (12) provides a final reflection of this research journey. Woven throughout the chapters of this dissertation, readers will also come across a few interludes, and a multiple arrangement of images and discourses, that bring greater depth and meaning to this journey, and help to convey the interconnectedness of experiences worldwide.



Education, Art