Reconfiguring STEAM through Material Enactments of Mathematics and Arts

A Diffractive Reading of Young People’s Intradisciplinary Math-Artworks

In: Why Science and Art Creativities Matter

Abstract

The current movement to integrate arts within STEAM education is relevant not only for responding to complex societal and economic problems of the twenty-first century, but in that it carries its own sets of processes, questions and paradigmatic shifts that decentre dominant discourses in education. This chapter argues onto-epistemologically that arts uniquely engender a “mutuality” of disciplines constituted in the intra-actively entangled production of new knowledges through knowing and doing enactments within STEAM (re)configurings. It argues this is a form of critical intradisciplinarity. This chapter, which draws on an exceptionally significant data set, reports a novel analysis of a sample of drawings called “math-artworks”. These were created by South African young people in Grades 8–12 following a series of mathematics-art-experiential workshops. Theoretically framed by posthuman feminist new materialism, the chapter diffractively reads three of these drawings. It asks what matters in mathematical-art drawings by using Karen Barad’s concept of diffraction as a methodological practice for reading these drawings as data. The chapter uses diffractive reading to evaluate what it is that “math-artworks” advance, as encountered in the material enactments of South African young people. It also asks whether these configurings of intradisciplinary knowledge making generate new pedagogic repertoires. It argues accordingly that STEAM is a form of critical intradisciplinarity that is capable of activating future-making education.

Why Science and Art Creativities Matter

(Re-)Configuring STEAM for Future-Making Education

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