Making porous: art education as relational ecology

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


    How can 21st-century art education shift with real-world challenges through the vibrant materiality (Bennett, 2010) of systems and environments to tell stories of indigenous, ecological, and post-colonial connection, and create collective environmental and cultural agency? This arts-based presentation shares a visual narrative of a ten-week unit entitled Art, Community, and Environment—a core subject undertaken by Pre-service, Early Childhood and Primary teachers at Monash University, in Melbourne and Singapore. Through a Show-&-Tell format, this presentation will share poetic ponderings on how a/r/tographic stimuli (Gouzouasis, Irwin, Miles, & Gordon, 2013) inspired participants to become artist/researcher/teacher-educators making in and with vibrant materials of place. Our starting points were local flora, fauna and plastic waste in the immediate context of country, ocean, and habitats. Through the tenets of ‘making’ and ‘responding’, we distinguish colonial, post-colonial, and South East Australian Indigenous views of place and community; we explore water pedagogy as we intra-act (Barad, 2017 ) with waste, water, and ocean, and share memories of the animals and habitats present in our cultural stories. Working with the concept of porosity (Malone, 2018 ) and the idea that we are implicated in other animals, plants and entities that materially course through us (Neimanis, 2017 ) this presentation ponders how an art education unit reveals ‘relationality’ as an act of ‘making.’ In the process, the presentation explores how the matter of place—objects, context, participants—creates awareness of what Barad calls the void of what might yet have been” (Barad, 2017 , p. 56), and therefore initiates change. The presentation asks how our weaving of self, community, and environment might create a both/and way of thinking (Vaai, 2017) through art.Barad, K. (2017 ). Troubling time/s and ecologies of nothingness: Re-turning, re-membering, and facing the incalculable. New Formations, 92, pp. 56–86.Bennett, J. (2010). Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. Durham, UK: Duke University Press.Gouzouasis, P., Irwin, R., Miles, E., & Gordon, A. (2013). Commitments to a community of artistic inquiry: Becoming pedagogical through a/r/tography in teacher education. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 14(1). Retrieved from htty://, K. (2018 ). Pollution: Porosity of Bodies. In Children in the Anthropocene. London, UK: Palgrave Studies on Children and Development. Palgrave Macmillan.Neimanis, A. (2017 ). Introduction, Figuring Bodies of Water. In Bodies of Water: Posthuman Feminist Phenomenology. London: Bloomsbury Academic.Vaai, U. (2017). We are because we don’t have. In U. Vaai , & U. Nabobo-Baba (Eds.), The Relational Self: Decolonising Personhood in the Pacific. Suva, Fiji: University of the South Pacific Press.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages2
    Publication statusPublished - 2020
    EventInternational Society of Education through Art World Congress 2019: Making - University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
    Duration: 9 Jul 201913 Jul 2019


    ConferenceInternational Society of Education through Art World Congress 2019
    Abbreviated titleInSEA 2019
    Internet address


    • relationality
    • Materiality
    • A/r/tography
    • Uncertainty
    • arts-based action
    • arts-based research
    • U3A
    • Art and wellbeing
    • Plastic Pacific
    • Mueum local nexus

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