Home Forums Dialogue Portal Dialogue Portal: Part 2 DIVERSITY AWARENESS

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    In her book, Institutional Time, Judy Chicago has called for a dialogue aimed at transforming art curriculum so that it becomes more reflective of the changes in consciousness, concerning gender, race, and other identities, that have taken place over the course of the last thirty years. What are the challenges and opportunities for doing this?


    The dialogue Chicago calls for in Institutional Time, while aimed at transforming art curriculum, can also transform curriculum in other disciplines. I am currently working on a presentation for the 2015 American Library & Information Science Educators Gender Issues Panel – Re-Imagining Issues of Gender and Sexuality in LIS Teaching, Research, and Service Delivery (in Chicago). My paper is called “Ways of Knowing: Incorporating Feminist and Indigenous Knowledge Perspectives to Support Knowledge Creation.” I am using Institutional Time and books such as Acccardi’s Feminist Pedagogy for Library Instruction to underscore the importance of laying groundwork in the LIS curriculum and in the practice of research librarianship of broadly diverse and highly interactive ways of knowing. — Barbara Dewey, Penn State


    Wonderful to learn of your research Dean Dewey incorporating Judy Chicago’s ideas on transforming curriculum to include voices that have been marginalized or are underrepresented for your paper for the 2015 American Library & Information Science Educators Gender Issues Panel – Re-Imagining Issues of Gender and Sexuality in LIS Teaching, Research, and Service Delivery. When published or available let me know. I think it would be good to begin a section “Research” with the Collection under “Living” Curricula at http://judychicago.arted.psu.edu/living-curricula/ This section currently has seven generative projects:
    The Dinner Party Curriculum Project includes curricular ideas for k-12 teachers on how to facilitate encounters with Judy Chicago’s monumental artwork, The Dinner Party. http://judychicago.arted.psu.edu/dpcp/
    Participatory Art Pedagogy is a multi-media overview of Judy Chicago’s feminist art teaching methodology. http://judychicago.arted.psu.edu/participatory-art-pedagogy/
    Out of Here is a course syllabus, calendar, and other materials on teaching Judy Chicago’s pedagogical approach for participatory pedagogy, art, and exhibition, and learning about her pedagogical principles http://judychicago.arted.psu.edu/out-of-here/
    Teaching with the Collection includes award-winning curriculum that teaches about and from The Dinner Party. At the From the Field section you are invited to share feminist art education curricula to build an archive and to comment with narratives of feminist art pedagogy. http://judychicago.arted.psu.edu/living-curricula/teaching-with-collection/
    Teaching Conversations is a project of a group of feminist colleagues at Penn State who embrace feminist principles of equity and eco-social justice, and set into motion participatory, self-knowledge, and critical inquiry. http://judychicago.arted.psu.edu/living-curricula/teaching-conversations/
    Gallery Conversations is an archive of 8 podcasts of lectures about Judy Chicago’s art that were part of the Surveying Judy Chicago: Five Decades exhibition at the Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State. Some are placed in SoundCloud for commentary, and all have “Tweet” commentary that expands with resources/links to many voices in feminist gallery conversations. http://judychicago.arted.psu.edu/gallery-conversations/
    The last section is “Film Series” with films linked or embedded. The films were used in teaching Judy Chicago’s art pedagogy. —— Karen Keifer-Boyd, professor of art education and women’s studies, and coordinator of the Judy Chicago Art Education Collection

    Jessica Fischer

    In discussing any form of consciousness, or how we feel toward any particular subject matter, such as different forms of identity or diversity, can bring up many challenges. Will the students agree with the ideas we bring froward? Will they respect our opinions, along with the opinions of their classmates? Even if the students or even the teacher may disagree with certain ideas within the classroom, we, as teachers, must maintain a safe environment where all opinions are able to be voiced. I believe that having a clear understanding of where the students stand on certain issues of identity and are given the opportunity to explain why they feel this way, then as teachers we can better address the issues that go along with identity. I feel that it is important to stress that everyone, no matter how they may identify themselves, deserve to be treated equally and respected. However I feel that it is extremely important that they fully understand their history, and what makes them unique from how others may identify themselves. In understanding these differences we can gain pride in our identities and better realize why we may see things differently than others. I think that it is incredibly important for all forms of identity to be treated equally yet maintain the right to be different, which is something I feel many people lose sight of. If teachers have the ability to bring ideas such as anthropology into the classroom, students can get a better understanding of where they came from, why they may look the way they look, and why they may think differently than others. Anthropology helps to understand the complexity within cultures, and brings in an understanding of our social and biological history. In better understanding this history, we can better understand ourselves, and maybe even realize how incredible it is to be human, which is one thing we all have in common.


    Similar to Jessica, I too believe in equity and including difference. A circle pedagogy is one strategy to build a safe environment for ideas to be tested, identity explored, and opinions shared. Seeking understanding is critical in self-reflection, dialogue, and active listening. Given the opportunity to speak in a group is important and more likely happens when from the beginning everyone is expected to participate in the discussion.

    Anthropology, particularly visual culture anthropology, was my “support” cluster of courses when pursuing a Ph.D. in art education at the University of Oregon. The eco-social justice perspectives of U of O professors, June King McFee, Rogena Degge, Doug Blandy, Jane Maitland-Gholson, Beverly Jones, and Linda Ettinger, influenced my thinking and desire to study anthropology. Take a look at June King McFee’s work in teaching art from anthropological perspectives. You might begin with the video linked at http://aad.uoregon.edu/june-king-mcfee and Paul Bolin’s (2005) paper “Community Arts and Cultural Context: The Legacy of June King McFee and Vincent Lanier” at http://pages.uoregon.edu/culturwk/march05bolin.html in “CultureWork: A Periodic Broadside for Arts & Culture Workers.”


    There is an interesting paradigm when considering the history of art and the current contemporary culture that it occupies. Historically, art curriculum has been routed in masculine thought where race, gender, and economy had considerable weight as to who could become an artist and the content that these artists explored. White males from privileged circumstances had the greatest presence in the arts and as a result, a vein of thinking that reflects this culture had been promoted and perpetuated throughout art curriculum for some time. Now, what seems to be an eternity since the foundation of this thought, there are artists, critics, theorists, educators, and other thinkers who are liberating art from these circumstances that have been restrictive for so long. It is a curious thought to consider the rigidness of the arts when truly they are an area for exploration, discovery, and learning – and always have been in spite of biased ideals that have perhaps clouded arts purpose.
    In an effort to change art curriculum so that it is more reflective of the changes in consciousness regarding gender, race, and other identities I believe that the opportunities significantly outweigh the challenges; however just as much of the thought that has influenced art for so long has endured, it undoubtedly still exists in social subconscious, posing difficulties. In this context, there seems to be opportunity in all of the challenges. The opportunities seen in this shift of consciousness are immense and before we make the call to attempt to educate individuals about others, I think it is imperative that we educate individuals about the self. In order to have understanding of others, self-awareness is integral. Through learning about the self, individuals come to recognize their relationships and interconnectedness between themselves and all that surrounds them. This is essential, so that people can find meaning in their experiences, thus having the ability to empathize with and understand others. Through this effort, greater understanding can be made of histories, associated ideals and beyond. With greater self-awareness in mind, individuals are prideful of who they are and recognize that their abilities and talents are maximized when living harmoniously and compassionately with others, because no man is greater than any woman and no woman is greater than any man. I think this is perhaps one of the greatest opportunities of transforming art curriculum so that it is in line with todays consciousness – the enormous positives associated with equality and true community.


    The method of talking to historical events is interesting. Judy Chicago’s individual-center theory, occupation construction and activity model-center theory that challenges historical events provides with us the truth about historical events and changes of individual elements in history. It helps to make gender, race, culture and elements like that in self identification more clear in the whole historical society structure.

    First of all, we should analyze the intention of the artist’s creativity without ignoring the historic background. Artistic works are created in different times. They demonstrate the power and value of different politics, economy and culture through different themes. So, they have multiple meaning. The way to decipher these information depends on the receiver’s cultural capital and social capital code. This dialogue between historical events and individuals gives a whole new meaning to those artistic works already interpreted by historians to seek the social value behind which was originally covered by traditional values, for example, the social image and gender techniques brought by gender as well as the hierarchy based on gender as feminists see.

    Secondly, the difference of identity consciousness between different races and genders exists all the time. The occurrence of social events comes right from the chaos brought by the inequality of this difference. A model o communicate with history is an effective way to hear each other, as well as to realize the interaction between capitals in space time dimension.

    Thirdly, in order to reconstruct this social relation and social structure, we need to know the reasons of today’s individual social capital. Only when we know the way how art exists, capital been input and interests been shared can we use art to serve the society, and at the same time establish a sense of self-recognition in the society with our unique way to share thoughts and create art.

    Danna Kerns-Streett

    -As a white, middle class, woman teaching in an urban environment where the majority of my students are African American I often feel awkward approaching subjects of race.
    -As a math teacher I don’t often have time to approach subjects of race and gender.
    -Approaching these subjects in an educational way while also acknowledging and accepting student thoughts and feelings on the subject requires a fine balance.
    -In art it can sometimes be difficult to cover the set curriculum and still infuse the curriculum with these important topics.

    -Giving students a chance to listen to opinions that are different than their own is a crucial life skill.
    -Oftentimes students, especially at the elementary level, only hear their own family’s opinions and often just repeat what they hear at home. Exposing students to different opinions in a respectful environment allows students to form their own opinions.
    -In art students have the opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings about difficult content through a different outlet. I know some of my students struggle with anger issues due to lots of baggage from the outside world and art can be an outlet for those struggles and challenging concepts.


    As an art teacher of 10 years, Jessica Kirker, brings attention—with her teacher-as-researcher endeavors—to the attitudes and biases of art teachers in consideration of how they are addressing the gender, ethnic, and cultural sensitivities of the students they teach.

    Jessica Kirker is a doctoral candidate in art education at The Pennsylvania State University and a high school art teacher at a Title I school. I (Karen Keifer-Boyd) am her advisor and chair of her dissertation. In her dissertation study, an autoethnographic critical race discourse analysis, she asks: “How do I participate in the spoken, unspoken, and performed discourses of race and gender in my teaching.” She states, “none of my Black male students have ever been taught art by a teacher that looks like them. Until White female teachers are able to inspire a love of art education in the current generation of Black male students, we may never see a significant development in the field in terms of gender/racial demographics.”

    All are invited to attend the public presentation
    Thursday, May 8, 2015
    12:00 p.m.—2:00 p.m., 207 Arts Cottage, University Park campus

    Jessica Kirker’s Doctoral Defense


    “In this autoethnographic study, I consider how I, as a White woman teaching art, participate in, maneuver, and manipulate spoken and unspoken racialized and gendered discourses within the context of a high school with a diverse population of students. I employ discourse analysis and draw upon Critical Race Theory, Whiteness Studies, and Gender Studies to examine discourses that govern the school and inform its social conventions as manifested in my professional identity and practices in the classroom, collegial spaces, and school community. Implications of the study concern gender and racial stratification in U.S. educational systems and the discourses that maintain gender and racial inequity and privilege.” (Jessica Kirker, April 2015)

    Her dissertation will be available online through the Penn State Libraries in mid May 2015.

    Judy Chicago

    I don’t agree that a white, female teacher cannot help her black male students find their own path to art. But it requires helping them look at their own experiences and find in them the content that they care about. Once that is accomplished, the teacher can use her knowledge of art to help them express themselves as well as they can as well as encourage them to discover art on the subjects that interest them. It is important to recognize that art is one of the few paths to crossing the boundaries between us, no matter what they might be. Judy Chicago


    Over the past thirty years there have of course been many changes with regard to diversity and diversity awareness which are all fairly obvious. But not so obvious and, in my opinion, possibly more interesting, is the societal awareness of communities and sub communities through the use of social media. Regardless of which one you subscribe to, if any, “Fandom” has become a word that connotes community and belonging in the online world. This new branch of diversity is something that I think should not be overlooked in the realm of art education. If our goal is to make each student feel that their viewpoints and experiences are valid, there has to be some room for fan art in the art classroom. Many students these days feel strong emotional connections to television, book series, movies, and other forms of pop culture, and eventually that is going to reflect in their art. I think that allowing fan art is simply an extension of post modern principles of art. Diversity awareness should include the students who engage in the world of fandoms. If we bring that world into the real world and turn it into an art making experience, the student will be able to feel validated by his or her physical society, not just the online society.

    Chloe Mahon

    I am interested in exploring the concept of diversity. People always tend to stick to their friend group and make friends that are similar to themselves (same race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, socio-economic standing, etc.) I would like to explore ways in which we can break down those barriers in the art class. I think that there is a lot to learn in life by talking to someone who is different than yourself. I am aware that I will not achieve this by having students make sugar skulls on Cinco de Mayo, they need to be able to interact on their own with peers from other backgrounds. I do not want to just assign seats, students will just be annoyed they can’t sit with their friends. I want to explore different activities and different ways I can encourage integration and celebrate diversity in my art classroom.


    I think diversity is a really important aspect in all classrooms, especially in the idea of artistic expression. I remember learning mostly about still life art work and surrealist things by people like Andy Warhol. It was cool, but I what I don’t remember is learning about different kinds of artists. We mostly learned about white male artists. I think it’s important to establish diversity in the art classroom by introducing artists of all different ethnicities, class status, gender, sexuality, etc. It would be cool to introduce the different viewpoints of the world that different artists can bring to the picture.


    ekk5079 suggests art education curriculum that focus on fandom as “an art making experience, the student will be able to feel validated by his or her physical society, not just the online society” in response to this question/thread on diversity awareness in relation to Chicago’s teaching methodology presented in the materials in part II of the Dialogue Portal. Judy Chicago’s participatory pedagogy does NOT limit or prescribe curricular themes but begins with self-reflexivity, collective memory-work, feminist consciousness-awakenings, and research/content-searches, which are the generative forces for creative art making. See http://judychicago.arted.psu.edu/dialogue/studio/ for more on Chicago’s content-based art teaching.


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