Intersection of Art and Emancipation: The Road to Rebellious Subjectivity

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Title: Intersection of Art and Emancipation: The Road to Rebellious Subjectivity
Author: Newville, Sandra
Advisors: Dr. Colleen Aalsburg Wiessner, Committee Co-Chair
Dr. John M. Pettitt, Committee Co-Chair
Dr. Diane D. Chapman, Committee Member
Dr. Richard E. Peterson, Committee Member
Abstract: This study describes the framework that artists use to create works of art that foster emancipatory responses in viewers. Then it relates that framework to adult educators creating emancipatory learning experiences for their students. It uses phenomenological methods, involving participants as co-researchers in in-depth interviews, prolonged engagement and frequent member checks, to explore the artists' direct experience with the phenomenon. The conceptual framework for this study is found in John Dewey's (1934) Art and Experience with his definition of experience as the interaction of the self and the world, and Herbert Marcuse's (1978) Aesthetic Dimension and his concept of rebellious subjectivity. The theoretical framework rests on critical adult education theory, specifically, critical pragmatism. The study analyzes the philosophical framework, practice, and process of six artists whose paintings promoted an emancipatory response in the researcher. Three themes emerged as significant: 1) thinking and painting; 2) knowing yourself; and 3) trusting the process. "Thinking and painting" describes the complexity of artistic thinking. It involves the dynamics of feeling, seeing beyond the surface and thinking in a way that is open-ended, open to possibilities rather than being pre-planned. "Knowing yourself" is where emancipation happens. It involves knowing why we feel the way we do, the need to keep evolving and growing, being true to the heart and desire to be original, to create something new. "Trusting the process" explores imaginative power. It involves having intentions but not outlining outcomes, problem-solving in context of the whole, and staying spontaneous, allowing things to happen. The study relates the artists' themes to adult educators in an analysis of the connections between art and emancipation, consideration of emancipatory values, learning how to act from what we feel, and how to use the artists' process in our own experiences. It adds to an understanding in the discourse of why and how art is emancipatory and lays a foundation for further research in educators' self reflection, applications to emancipatory practice, methodology, curriculum, evaluation and the development of new ways of teaching and learning.
Date: 2007-05-09
Degree: EdD
Discipline: Adult and Community College Education

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