The Arts as Catalyst, Catharsis, and Crucible:The Pedagogy of Profession and Provoking Excellence
Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University
Last modified: May 8, 2007
Presentation date: 07/19/2007 2:35 PM in Coast Hotel Nelson Room
This research uses narrative portraiture as inquiry. It examines the embodied experiences and personal practical knowledge of three artist/educators. It portrays: their narratives within the arts; key experiences of holistic learning in the visual arts; and how the artistic process facilitates personal transformation.
The key experiences in the arts for each participant are varied in their biographical details, however, through encountering a holistic approach to the visual arts their relationship to the artistic process changed; through the art they cultivated a profound relationship to nature and to spirituality; and each indicated the important connection between the spirit of play and creativity.
Key emergent themes include: the development of heightened awareness and attention; learning to perceive and discern in new ways; becoming literate with the various artistic languages; developing greater soul-spiritual capacities; and finally, the recognition or the arts as crucial catalysts for personal transformation and healing.
In this study, the participants spoke repeatedly of how the artistic process facilitates personal transformation through the three active agents: the artistic medium; the artistic act of imagination and representation; and the creative act itself. They acknowledged the role of the artistic process in the enhancement of capacities: from bodily abilities, to soul capacities, to spiritual faculties.
This study concludes that within the visual arts the artistic process acts on the senses like a central catalyst for change. The imagination acts as a powerful and critical agent for catharsis, and enables the creative acts of the artist to create a crucial crucible for becoming.