Unfolding Afterglow

Letters and Conversations on Teacher Renewal


Unfolding Afterglow examines professional learning in the contemporary milieu of public education, considering the impact of No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top on such encounters for art educators. Drawing from prominent scholars of philosophy and education (Greene, Dewey, Gadamer), aesthetic experiential play is theorized as a catalyst for teacher renewal through the embodied intensities (Merleau Ponty, Deleuze) it prompts: an aesthetic swell and afterglow. The swell is conceptualized as a movement that unmoors teachers as learners, setting them adrift towards unanticipated, surprising possibilities. Afterglow is an illuminated space that unfolds with a commitment and openness to move in swell towards the ever expanding new. This text invites readers into the findings of a qualitative research inquiry by unfolding a yearlong correspondence of letterpress printed postcards and hand rendered letters exchanged between the author and a cohort of K-12 art teachers. The innovative epistolary form evokes the relational and arts-based educational research methodologies that informed this lively aesthetic inquiry, providing new directions and possibilities for both art educators and arts researchers to explore. Advocating for more complex understandings regarding how educators become renewed as artists and as teachers, this poetic and pictorial text provokes an expanded vision for what counts as professional learning, and the processes by which teacher renewal is nourished and experienced.
Brooke Hofsess, Assistant Professor at Appalachian State University, received her MA in Art & Art Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and her PhD in Art Education from The University of Georgia. She comes to academia with seven years of professional experience as a K-12 art educator. Her research on teacher education and renewal has received honors including the Elliot Eisner Doctoral Research Award in Art Education from the National Art Education Association, and the Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Arts Based Educational Research special interest group of the American Educational Research Association.

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“Theorists, pedagogues, methodologists and researchers, alike, will find themselves in aesthetic play as they experience the flows, swells, and intensities that Hofsess beautifully crafts … A brilliant piece of art.” —Mark D. Vagle, The University of Minnesota
“Hofsess refocuses our attention to what really matters in education: how, as Elliot Eisner said, the teaching of art is more than the teaching of art.” —Richard Siegesmund, Northern Illinois University
Unfolding Afterglow illuminates the challenges and possibilities of maintaining transformative experiences in the everyday practice of K-12 art education.” —Tracie Costantino, Rhode Island School of Design
Educational Researchers and their students