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Artistic Mentoring as a Decolonizing Methodology

An Evolving 18-year Collaborative Painting Ethnography with Maya Artists

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Kryssi Staikidis

To expand the possibilities of “doing arts thinking” from a non-Eurocentric view, Artistic Mentoring as a Decolonizing Methodology: An Evolving 18-year Collaborative Painting Ethnography with Maya Artists is grounded in Indigenous perspectives on arts practice, arts research, and art education. Mentored in painting for eighteen years by two Guatemalan Maya artists, Kryssi Staikidis, a North American painter and art education professor, used both Indigenous and decolonizing methodologies, which involve respectful collaboration, and continuously reexamined her positions as student, artist, and ethnographer searching to redefine and transform the roles of the artist as mentor, historian/activist, ethnographer, and teacher.

The primary purpose of the book is to illuminate the Maya artists as mentors, the collaborative and holistic processes underlying their painting, and the teaching and insights from their studios. These include Imagined Realism, a process excluding rendering from observation, and the fusion of pedagogy and curriculum into a holistic paradigm of decentralized teaching, negotiated curriculum, personal and cultural narrative as thematic content, and the surrounding visual culture and community as text.

The Maya artist as cultural historian creates paintings as platforms of protest and vehicles of cultural transmission, for example, genocide witnessed in paintings as historical evidence. The mentored artist as ethnographer cedes the traditional ethnographic authority of the colonizing stance to the Indigenous expert as partner and mentor, and under this mentorship analyzes its possibilities as decolonizing arts-based qualitative inquiry. For the teacher, Maya world views broaden and integrate arts practice and arts research, inaugurating possibilities to transform arts education.

Globalization and the Neoliberal Schoolhouse

Education in a World of Trouble

John L. Lyons

Critical questions of purpose, quality, choice, and access in public education have been key in processes of neo liberal globalization spanning the last four decades. The growing privatization of schools around the world has resulted in fundamental changes regarding the ways in which local systems of education are imagined and re-constructed. Schools and schooling are now increasingly (re)fashioned in alignment with global neo liberal imaginaries for the purpose of (re)producing human capital in the service of private interests. As a result, education for social betterment and democratic engagement, two pillars of public school policies throughout the 20th century, are compromised, even undermined.

Employing models and research findings from critical international political economy and progressive education, Globalization and the Neo Liberal Schoolhouse: Education in a World of Trouble explores the corrosive influences of commodification and privatization on public education worldwide, within the context of crisis-ridden neo liberal globalization and expanding global capitalist governance. The consequences are nation-state de-evolution, social and cultural decay, and the forfeiture of public schools as engines of progress.

Understanding how the historical emergence, political economic processes, and governing institutions of neo liberal globalization are adversely impacting local systems of education – and what to do about it – is important to free education advocates, civic-minded educators, student teachers, social activists, and education development specialists everywhere!

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SEEding Change for a Better World

Vinesh Chandra

There are no doubts that our world is becoming increasingly more connected through digital technologies. For meaningful participation in this environment, our children need to be digitally literate. Yet there are many children in developing countries who have yet to touch a computer because of social disadvantage. For these children, schools are the only place where they can build this capacity. However, many schools in these communities are under resourced. They do not have library books, let alone digital resources. As a consequence, teaching and learning strategies have remained unchanged for decades.

The field of critical pedagogy evolved through the initial work of Paulo Freire. This theory is underpinned by critical thinking about societal issues followed by action and reflection. When citizens are armed with such knowledge and skills, they can positively impact on the lives of the underprivileged. However, critical pedagogy is still struggling to find its meaningful place, particularly in higher education. This is largely due to the lack of effective models and critical educators.

This book is an auto-ethnography which presents accounts of the initiatives that were undertaken to promote print and digital literacy in rural and remote schools in eight developing countries. It highlights the experiences of school leaders, teachers, university staff and students, and globally minded citizens working alongside the local communities to enhance the quality of education for 15,000 to 20,000 children in these schools. The book showcases how critical pedagogy can unfold in the real world and how we can collaboratively make a difference.