9.00  – Registration and Coffee

9.30  – Conference Opening:
Karen Charman, President, Public Pedagogies Institute
Welcome to Victoria University and Welcome to Country:
Prof Lorraine Ling, Dean College of Education, Victoria University

9.45  – Keynote Speaker – Jennifer Sandlin

Jennifer A. Sandlin, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Justice and Social Inquiry department in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University.  Her research focuses on the intersections of education, learning, and consumption, as well as on understanding and theorizing public pedagogy. Through her current research projects, she explores the Walt Disney Corporation and the myriad ways its curricula and pedagogies manifest, and seeks to understand what it means to teach, learn, and live in a world where many familiar discourses are dominated by Disney as a global media conglomerate.

With Brian Schultz and Jake Burdick, she is the editor of the Handbook of Public Pedagogy (Routledge, 2010); and with Jake Burdick and Michael O’Malley, Problematizing Public Pedagogy (Routledge, 2014). She is currently co-editor of Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy.


10.30  – Coffee 

Public Art and Public Pedagogy Art
(artwork, ongoing during conference)

Debbie Qadri

Permanent public art is made for a variety of reasons including the enhancement and urban renewal, reflection of society and history, the creation of local identity and the public good, but I would argue that it also carries pedagogical meanings and functions. Public art answers to many calls but is leashed in a strange space between art and architecture with a constant push and pull from commissioning committees, engineers, urban planners and the need to involve the community in consultation or engagement. Regardless of what it aims to be, public art is also an intervener into the public landscape where it vies for our attention amongst the imagery of advertising, buildings and landscapes. And despite its intent, it says different things to different people. What does all of this mean for the role that public art plays and its relationship to the audience it seeks to serve? This paper turns in upon its subject matter by being in turn made as an artwork in public space.  It explores the roles of public art in relation to pedagogy and the ways in which public art creates knowledge and learning in public space, whilst echoing this role in its form of being an essay/artwork published in public space. This paper is intended to be published in public space at the conference, in lieu of presentation.

(artwork, ongoing during conference)
Gisela Boetker and Rebecca Knaggs

PERMESSO invites all conference participants to experience painting intuitively. PERMESSO (Italian for permission) believes that we are all innately creative but that sometimes the connection to this place has been interrupted. Facilitators Gisela Boetker and Rebecca Knaggs offer a very gentle opportunity to reconnect by simply entering the process. After a brief meditation we invite you to choose a brush and paint, approach the canvas and see what comes …  We look forward to welcoming you.

10.45  – Panel Discussion  – What is Public Pedagogy?

Trace Ollis, Deakin University, Jo Williams, Victoria University and Adrian Gray, Brimbank City Council

11.30  – Discussion Groups  – How do you relate your own work to the topic?
12 noon – Break for Lunch  – SOAPBOX

1.00pm – 2.30pm

Session 1

Session Chair: Karen Charman

Learning Spaces Session

(including Jennifer Sandlin response)

Entangling public and private places and community enhancing pedagogies
Jill Blackmore, Deakin University

Publically funded schooling has been critical to nation building in the 20th C. Design of the built environment of schools in Australia was premised upon the industrial model. In 2015, Innovative learning environments for 21st learners are characterized as being flexible, personalized, digitally enhanced and placed-based, and by implication blurring public/private, virtual/real spaces.  Yet school effectiveness theories that dominate government policy continue to focus on the individual school as a discrete performative entity. This paper draws on case studies from an Innovative Learning Environments project that indicated how place matters, and how the redesign of the built environment is entangled with public perceptions of and engagement with schools. In particular, the schools with greatest demands on their resources and teachers indicate their capacity to open their schools as public spaces for community, inviting parents and community into the publically funded ‘private‘ space of the school. The paper considers through visual case studies the notions of redesign of not just the built environment which provides affordances for public pedagogies, but school redesign as being when schools become places and not just learning spaces.

Complexity and Resistance in the Public/Private Spaces of Redesign
Jill Loughlin, Deakin University

Our expectations of public education is that departments of education and the government schools that they service should be completely transparent and accountable against a range of measures that often are contradictory to the very real lived experiences of learning classrooms.  In an earlier paper on the research undertaken by Blackmore et al in innovative learning environments, I explored research in tourist photography to understand the use of visual methods, specifically photography as fieldnotes, in promoting educational tourism and suggesting that such research might further neoliberalist agendas of marketization of schools.  Gaztambide-Fernandez & Matute (2014) suggest that public spaces may be more institutionalised than public pedagogy research accounts for.  By contrast, I would argue that institutional spaces, especially those that are undergoing publically funded reform through spatial redesign, are now scrutinized as public spaces and consider how these formal learning communities might be embodying both public or private pedagogical spheres as policies of spatial redesign are being enacted.  In Sandlin, O’Malley and Burdick’s (2011) analysis of public pedagogy research they identify common five themes.  One of these is citizenship within and beyond schools. Citizenship within a school denotes ideas of belonging and agency within a democratic space.  Yet, the experience of learners and teachers within schools as they transition to new purpose-built spaces might often be likened to living through a post-apocalyptic world, one in which grieving for what is lost coincides with the tumult of moving through a world that no longer belongs to them or to which they belong.  This paper explores storied and visual data of schools and their ‘citizens’ in the Building the Education Revolution through a public pedagogy lens.

Reading the pedagogical impact of space
Mary Dixon, Deakin University

The role of space in pedagogy is attracting increasing interest particularly in post human research. Readings of the intersections of space and pedagogy are of interest to architects, educators and government bodies. These stakeholders bring distinctly different readings of the world. Traditionally readings of space centre on measurements of usage and readings of pedagogy are more inclined in these times to focus on learning outcomes in schools and if considered in public sites at all as new knowledge. My reading of space and pedagogy anchors these in the material world. It sees them as intra-actively entangled (Barad, 2007). To read this intra action calls attention to what is being made. Pedagogy and its manifestations in the state of affairs, which are pedagogical encounters, involve teaching, learning and knowledge. I argue that in reading the impact of space on pedagogy the intra-action of learning, teaching, knowledge and space changes and recreates each of these. I draw on a recent learning spaces project in Victoria (Blackmore et al 2011) to offer new approaches to reading these entanglements.

Session 2

Session Chair: Tony Watt

Leaving space to learn: Finding a learning balance in the teaching of Ephemeral Environmental Art

Michael Shiell, Artist and Researcher

Environmental Art has developed globally since the late 1960s. In contrast to a movement this artistic direction was never predefined by a series of standardised principles. As a result the field has become very broad and inclusive. Arguably the key distinction that separates these works from earlier land based artwork is their focus on direct interaction with land as opposed to merely the representation of it. Another significant difference in this field is the de-emphasization of the aesthetic object by some artists; in turn the process of creation and its conceptual basis have been given greater importance. This reconsideration has allowed greater scope for temporary and ephemeral works.

While both the terms ephemeral and temporal refer to the period of time over which something lasts it is ephemerality’s subtle connection to life that is significant. Where “impermanent [temporary] works have a definitive installation and de-installation timeline” Ephemeral Environmental Artworks have a “brevity of life” that “when coupled with a lack of any formal de-installation process means that the works departure is more like the gentle passing of a life”.1 The combination of being process-driven and the allowed retrogression of the form as part of the interaction ensures these works have a unique relationship with the sites they inhabit.

This relationship between artwork and site creates a learning space that is rich for both artistic and environmental education. The art making provides direct learning through reflection and response, which can be layered with more subtle learning opportunities through inter-disciplinary associations. The requisite basis of relationship to site and allowed retrogression of the form creates space for students to be mindful of their environmental impact while also being challenging about preconceived notions of ownership, responsibility, action and inaction as well as acceptance of change and sustainability of practice within the environment.

1. M. Shiell, “The Changing Sense of Social Space in Relation to a developing Ephemeral Artpiece” In Sensiable Spaces Sensi/able Spaces: Space, Art and the Environment Proceedings of the SPARTEN conference, ed. E. H. Huijbens and O. P. Jnsson, (Newcastle, United Kingdom: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007), p. 117

ArtPlay: learning through collaboration with artists

Simon Spain, Creative Producer ArtPlay, The City of Melbourne

ArtPlay has been in operation for ten years and has become acknowledged as one of Australia’s primary providers of high quality arts programs for children and families. ArtPlay provides an inspirational, playful and creative environment in a Council of Melbourne owned and managed cultural facility in the heart of the city dedicated to encourage children to be engaged in art making as individuals, and collectively as a community of collaborators.

In ten years ArtPlay has changed the landscape of creative opportunities for children in Melbourne and developed a research-led culture presenting Melbourne not only as an international leader in the arts for children but also as a unique provider of opportunities for artists to develop new work for these audiences.

What makes ArtPlay stand out to families is the responsive and ‘personalised experience’ it offers children; one that centres on creative inquiry rather than ‘colouring by numbers’. (Parent focus group comment). ArtPlay, through skillful artist-led programs, well supported by ArtPlay staff and a custom-designed environment, is known for programs that deeply engage children and families in creative exploration, artistic challenge, collaboration and social relationships.

Crucially ArtPlay does not engage in formal education, however a five year ARC research project clearly identifies ArtPlay as a place of learning for everyone involved.

In this presentation founding creative Producer of ArtPlay, Simon Spain, describes what factors were found in the research to support high quality engagement at ArtPlay and why the physical space and the employment of artists is so critical to its success.

Simon is currently undertaking a PhD where he is reflecting on his work of the last 30 years and how the roots of his personal work began with his work with the Urban Studies movements in the 1980s under the instigation of English Anarchist writer Colin Ward, author of The Child in the City and STREETWORK: the Exploding School.

My Story: Engaging the Uniting AgeWell Community

Karl Moon, Uniting AgeWell

’My Story’ is a program that entails exploring and documenting the personal stories of older people, focussing on the individual, and the value of their past history. Individual stories are recorded using one or more of the following methods: photo- book technology, video, artefacts and digital photos.

Story telling has proven to be a powerful tool in an aged care setting. Not only have clients benefited greatly from recalling their memories and reminiscing about their past, staff have gained a significant practice tool that gives them a more personal account of a client’s background. This has led to creating greater pathways for engagement, particularly when a client may not be able to communicate easily due to illness or increasing frailty.

‘My story’ commenced in 2014, and involved Uniting AgeWell staff and clients, volunteers and secondary school students, and entailed successfully producing a permanent record for each participant. This included photographs, written accounts in the participant’s own words and any other suitable materials relating to the participant’s life and history.

As a means of educating and mentoring staff and volunteers into the story-collating role, the ‘My Story’ journey enabled closer identification with the client’s past. An improved understanding occurred; of how the past has helped to shape the client’s experiences in the present.

The ‘My Story Project’ continues to be rolled out across the organisation, as an enduring means of sharing one’s life story with family, friends and with staff. These stories provide a tangible record for families to keep. In addition, the activity of recording stories has helped to further develop positive relationships between staff, volunteers, carers and the older person.

Session 3

Session Chair: Stefan Schutt

Transforming learning in Brimbank; reflections from Brimbank City Council’s Libraries and Learning Department

Christine McAllister, Manager BCC Libraries & Learning and
Deb Chapman
BCC Libraries and Learning

Public spaces and public education are transforming where and how learning happens.  As we move from 20th century models of libraries as quiet places for circulating books and schools with classrooms of rows of desks in front of a teacher that `knew everything’, local government roles in public learning are transforming too.  In the municipality of Brimbank, in the heartland of western suburbs Melbourne, libraries are reimagined dynamic spaces and learning has become a central plank in that realignment.  In this presentation, we want to share with you some of the theoretical and practical changes that are building Brimbank as a learning community.

Brimbank shares similar traits to many low socio-economic areas, including poor formal education levels, high unemployment and some challenging health indicators. It is also an area rich in diversity with over 160 language groups in a community of more than 195,000 people.  Recognising the transformative power of learning in people’s lives in this context, building opportunities to engage, reengage and increase access to learning, and taking responsibility for leading and sharing this perspective, has been a core approach for the Libraries & Learning department at Brimbank City Council.    

We changed our name, to include ‘Learning’ to make the intent explicit and made 87staff roles to become facilitators rather than transactional operators. We undertook a challenging program of strategic development work with key stakeholders in our community to articulate our goals in Brimbank’s Community Learning Strategy and the means of achieving them together by building partnerships with our Brimbank Learning and Employment Steering Committee (BLESC) and moved into envisioning aspirations with our tag of ‘Celebrating Learning’.

In this presentation, Christine will share the ongoing changes taking place in our buildings and with staff at Brimbank Libraries, and Deb will talk about the work of making the Brimbank Community Learning Strategy grow.

Creating Cross-community Collaboration: A tale of a library in a neighbourhood house

Amy Luu, Reservoir Neighbourhood House
Kylie Carlson, Mill Park Library and
Stefan Schutt, Victoria University

This presentation examines a successful and growing technology learning partnership between Reservoir Neighbourhood House and Mill Park Library in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.

In early 2015, contact was made between representatives of the two organisations, with a view to fostering innovative learning through the sharing of expertise and resources, including an existing technology ‘maker’ space. While proximity allowed for ready collaboration, it was a shared entrepreneurial desire to bring accessible technology spaces to a niche cohort that cemented this partnership.

At Mill Park Library, staff had already set up a technology ‘maker’ space for local children, equipped with 3D printers and other ‘hi-tech’ gadgets. Correspondingly, Reservoir Neighbourhood House was running the Victorian arm of a national project entitled Digital Enterprise: Pathways to Employment for Youth People with Disabilities. Based in part on The Lab (www.thelab.org.au), a national network of technology clubs for young people with high functioning autism (HFA), Digital Enterprise focuses on social and IT skills development in young people aged 10-25 with HFA.

Both the Mill Park and Reservoir projects aim to create welcoming and safe spaces with appropriate resources and expert mentoring that allow young people to explore a love of technology, based on their own interests. Importantly, these spaces do not only promote learning, but also allow for social interaction and engagement. This potent combination of technology and sociality has been shown to enhance quality of life and engagement for those who may not necessarily “fit in.” (Donahoo & Steele, 2013).

In our presentation we outline a number of factors that we believe have led to a successful cross-institutional collaboration, and that may be useful to explore within other collaborative contexts. These factors include mutual interest, geography, resourcing, leadership, lateral thinking, organisational contexts and the involvement of enthusiastic staff.

Lifelong Learning? The role of neighbourhood houses for second-chance learners

Tracey Ollis, Jennifer Angwin, Ursula Harrison and Cheryl Ryan Deakin University

Neighbourhood Houses have long played an ongoing role in the education of adults across the lifespan and are important sites of public pedagogy, where both informal and formal learning occurs. This research focuses on second-chance learners who engage in adult education programs in Neighbourhood Houses in the Barwon and South West Neighbourhood House Networks of Victoria. This research is significant because limited case study research has been previously conducted to explore learning pathways taken beyond these programs.  The research identifies the outcomes for these learners in terms of further education and employment.

This qualitative research occurs against the backdrop of rising unemployment, industry closures and uncertain futures for many people in Geelong and surrounding regions. In exploring and responding to this context, a critical pedagogical lens is applied to the analysis of multiple case studies exploring the practices, habits and dispositions of the second-chance learners as they participate in Neighbourhood House programs. This paper outlines emerging themes from the preliminary data that reveal significant numbers of early school leavers and mature aged unemployed find learning in the neighbourhood house important and empowering. They are able to reconstruct a previously held negative perception of themselves as ‘successful’ learners. There are significant issues of equity and access for many of the learners such as access to skill development, courses, and learning. Many participants were able to further enhance their social and interpersonal skills through networking and volunteering and some are able to reimagine the potential for future learning; including transitions from Neighbourhood House education programs to work and further education.

We claim Neighbourhood Houses provide a rich context for both informal and formal learning to occur. They are important spaces of public pedagogy where adults are engaged in developing new skills and knowledge. They are also important sites of community and social inclusion, where second chance learners are able to engage in adult learning.

Session 4

Session Chair: Dorothy Botrell

How can we understand and measure the impact of our work in public pedagogy?

Kim Dunphy, Cultural Development Network Victoria

The emerging field of public pedagogy recognizes and values the significant teaching and learning opportunities that take place outside formal training institutions. Arts activities offered in cultural institutions such as museums, libraries, galleries and community centres offer significant potential for learning as well as other benefits to participants. However, because programs in these spaces are mostly not directed by formal curricula, managers and leaders often find themselves challenged to explicate and measure the impact of their work. These challenges include the fact that outcomes of arts activities are often categorised as either intrinsic or instrumental, with ‘intrinsic’ outcomes frequently seen as problematic because they are considered immeasurable.

This presentation discusses a framework for evaluation of arts engagement. It is offered as a measurement framework suitable for those seeking to contribute to positive community outcomes, including cultural institutions where informal teaching and learning take place. Drawing from holistic models of wellbeing and sustainability, this framework categorises outcomes into domains of cultural, personal wellbeing, social, economic, civic and ecological, eliminating the need for the problematic intrinsic/instrumental valuing of arts engagement. Outcomes within each of these domains are identified from theory and literature to provide a schema for evaluation in which outcomes are identified, measurable and connected.

Building community resilience to disasters – what could and should emergency service organisations be doing to empower communities to take effective action and leading roles in the mitigation of risk?

Gwynne Brennan, Manager Program Design & Community Development, Country Fire Authority

This abstract introduces the fundamentals of community resilience, and the story of brigade and emergency service formation in the 1800’s, at a time when Australia didn’t need its Government to strategise for resilience and people worked together using existing knowledge and resources to deal with disasters.

Today, Government commitment to embedding principles for disaster resilience in emergency management legislation – combined with a reduction in spending – signals an end to top-down service delivery. There is now a need to move towards giving people far greater power to shape their own lives and environments.  The role of emergency services shifts from a paternalistic one of provider and carer to that of enabler; responding to and supporting local action.

So how does CFA support communities to self-determine when outside rural areas, individuals appear overly reliant on government support, volunteering is on the decline and social capital is low?  The answer for CFA and the Emergency Sector lies in a return to our “roots”; working at the local level, forming partnerships and supporting personal and community strengths.

A move towards localism and community empowerment requires emergency services to seek out different ways of working in support of communities.  Some newer approaches – such as community-based emergency management – offer a way of achieving this. This paper will draw on several recent case studies in Victoria where these approaches were trialled in communities, including an exploration of how much of a role emergency services should play in building capacity, and how community expectations and demands on local service providers can be managed whilst people identify their local needs and priorities and agree on a range of different actions.

Thank You for Listening

Rebecca Lister, Community Arts Practitioner and teacher

In 2013 I was the recipient of an Australia Council Creative Producer grant with which I developed Thank you for listening – three writing, spoken word, publishing and recording projects in partnership with Jesuit Social Services.

The participants of the three Thank you for listening projects were: women at Tarrengower Prison; young people dealing with mental health, drug and alcohol misuse and cultural displacement; and people bereaved by the loss of a loved one to suicide.   The key theme of the project was the exploration of silence.

These different participant groups had rich material to draw from in their art making however it was neither the exploration of this material nor the attainment of therapeutic goals that provided the main focus of the workshops. It was the acquisition of skills – skills in writing, performing, publishing and recording – that was the focus.

In this presentation I wish to describe the pedagogical processes I used in the workshops and how these led to significant skill development amongst the participants.  The majority of the project participants had never written before, and thought of themselves as ‘non-writers’ and ‘non-artists’.  However they all developed work that was either published, recorded or performed.

From this project I was able to confirm that if the right teaching practices and methodologies are put into place people from diverse backgrounds, with limited experiences, can engage in high quality art making.  When project participants are giving the opportunity to engage in skill development they can acquire expertise outside of, or away from, their own personal experiences that then allow them greater capacity to articulate their experiences.

2.30  – Break for afternoon tea

2.45pm – 4.14pm

Session 1

Session Chair: Kim Dunphy

‘More Than Recreation’ Youth Arts in Australia: The role of community and youth arts in adolescent development

Charlotte Hilder, Arts Centre Melbourne

Youth arts in Australia has a long history of innovation, with early arts practitioners in communities developing new models of practice that reinforces young people as creators of arts and culture.

Currently, leadership in youth arts development in Australian has deteriorated with the defunding of peak youth arts organisations, such as Young People and the Arts Australia (YPAA).

Presently the development of youth arts is being provided by local government, schools and arts organisations at a grass–roots local level. Schools, local government an arts organisations can offer more of a leadership role in supporting the creative and cultural development of their young citizens through provision of services, pathways and opportunities for their creativity and help improve young people’s cultural capital in our era of globalization.

Evidence and research undertaken by health organisations such as VicHealth highlight that health and wellbeing of communities is intrinsically linked to access and participation in arts and culture.

Greater advocacy needs to be undertaken at an educational and a state local government level, to increase understanding of the importance of cultural development that supports and nurtures young people as the next generation of artists, cultural leaders and innovators.

Will you still remember me when I’m sixty-four?

Jayson Cooper, Victoria University

In this interpretive arts-based autoethnographic performance Jayson Cooper re-presents knowledge that emerges from local landscapes connected to him as an artist, researcher and educator. This performance articulates concepts such as erasure and enclosure and their effect on public memories. Embracing interpretive autoethnographic practices this intertextual performance engages with physical sites of learning—local places, landscapes, forgotten waterways—the autobiographical, the artistic and interconnected colonial shadows that lurk in such Australian landscapes. These are interpreted and re-presented as artful narratives as he engages with the commons. Intertextual land-based knowledge is privileged to open polyphonic discussions that sing back to ‘singular narratives’.  The lessons and creative practices that emerge from and with the land highlight the multidisciplinary nature of music and art as a method of passing on, and holding knowledge in public places.

The Accessible King and I: A partnership initiative
between Giant Steps School, the Sydney Opera House and Opera Australia for children and adolescents with ASD

Jenny Spinak, Sydney Opera
Anke Timm, Opera Australia
Vanessa Lucas, Giant Steps Sydney

A collaborative pilot project was developed to provide students (with ASD) with a supported opportunity to participate as audience members in a musical showcase of The King and I at the Sydney Opera House. This presentation will highlight the process, required modifications and results of this autism-friendly performance.

Families of children with ASD can be limited in their community access and learning experiences. Their children’s challenges relating to transport, transitions, sensory needs, emotional regulation, social communication, interpersonal engagement and behaviour can be too much for some parents to easily manage in the public arena (Prizant, 2014). It is evident from the literature that participating in the shared experience of a live performance has intrinsic benefits to an individual as well as a broader cultural value. Intrinsically, the benefits for theatregoers can include “…captivation, pleasure, cognitive growth, [self-fulfilment, catharsis, transformation, well-being] and enhanced social understanding and bonding” (Walmsley, pg.76, 2013). Within a music therapy setting at a school, children with ASD require visual supports, autism-friendly communication and their sensory needs to be met in order to remain emotionally regulated and engaged. With the same supports in place and the cooperation of the school, the venue and production company, this population of children can access live performances successfully and create positive emotional memories and learning experiences that can be built on with families over time.

In September 2014, Giant Steps Sydney, the Sydney Opera House and Opera Australia collaborated to pilot the first Opera Australia autism-friendly showcase of the musical The King and I. This followed on from the success of the Opera House’s autism-friendly performance initiatives that were first introduced for young audiences with Giant Steps in 2012.This presentation will build awareness as to why designated performances for audiences with ASD are needed, the challenges involved and the practical strategies for making performances and events autism-friendly. A video presentation documenting this pilot project, the months of preparation involved and the positive impact on the participants, their families, the school staff, the performing arts staff and the broader community will also be presented.

Session 2

Session Chair: Sarah Tartakover

‘Shake your money-maker’: A view of primary school music education

Sue Buchan, Victoria University

This paper explores the participation by a small Victorian primary school in a ‘Regional Schools Music and Movement Festival’—one of the longest continuously running school music festivals in Australia.  It is an annual week-long event that gives Prep to Year 12 children throughout the region an opportunity to perform in a non-competitive context.  Participation in the 2014 festival by a small primary school formed part of an action research study, the aim of which was to explore with generalist teachers, the development of music learning and teaching by the music teacher/researcher

Data includes the music teacher/researcher’s experience of participation, Year 3/4 children’s interview responses and art work, and generalist teachers’ responses.  The findings suggest that participation in the festival was a positive experience for the children in the study.  They also reveal that singing and playing are unlikely to be part of the music curriculum in many Victorian government primary schools.  Choreography to recorded music has often taken the place of first-hand music-making.  Performances at the festival reflect philosophies of music education, understanding of pedagogy, and a blurring of education and entertainment.  They also reveal the intersection of government policy and the social and cultural context.  The findings suggest that school music festivals can influence pedagogy by reflecting and ‘normalizing’ the values associated with the mass entertainment industry and consumer culture.  The implications for primary music education will be discussed.

Something in the Air? Exploring the critical, radical and public pedagogical dimensions of protest music

John Haycock, Monash University

With its starting point in the persistent and pervasive mythology associating protest music with social change, this paper explores the critical, radical and public pedagogical dimensions of this mass cultural formation. It argues that while these myths are significantly more present around the popular music making of the 1960s, they have persisted, and yet protest music has continued to largely evade significant interrogation as a serious research concern. In order to begin to address this lacuna in research, this paper applies the new theoretical lens offered by public pedagogy scholarship to:

    • conceptualise protest music as social protest produced and performed as a form of popular music in the global mass-(multi)media;
    • theorise the relationship between protest music, critical pedagogy and radical adult education; and
    • discuss how popular/protest musicians, as purveyors of protest music, understand and can be understood in terms of the relationship between popular music and social change.

The Tango Experience: Argentine Tango Dancing Communities as Innovative Pedagogical Spaces

Raffaele Rufo, Arts Practitioner and Researcher

Through my experience as professional Tango Argentino artist, researcher and educator I have come to the intuitive conclusion that practicing this art form can have a positive personal and social transformative impact on people’s lives. I believe, as most artists do, that the power of the Tango lies in its embodied and relational nature. Tango practice requires a deep form of listening (to one’s and other bodies, to space and music) and of letting go (of rational thoughts and judgments). Moreover, you can’t dance the Tango on your own. You not only need a partner, but also a network of dancers. People may embrace this form of expression to fill an existential gap. But, when they go past the initial stage of enthusiasm or even addiction, they not only realize that there are no drawbacks, but they also start seeing how the Tango, as a discipline, has enabled a spontaneous process of learning and community development.

This conference is an opportunity to reflect and elaborate on my art practices and processes of inquiry as ways to develop and share innovative knowing, i.e., knowing that can keep alive the tacit, embodied, relational, participatory, and multimodal dimensions of the tango experience. My performance will move multimodally (dancing, storytelling, projecting videos), critically and self-reflexively across a continuum of roles (participant, participant-observer, observer-participant, observer) and modes of inquiry (detaching, approaching, engaging). I will try to explore creatively whether and in what ways the real social networks generated through tango practices can be configured as innovative pedagogical spaces, i.e., as spaces where community development and learning processes are mutually imbricated in a tacit and informal web of embodied connections. Is it possible, by working in/on such spaces, to envision and elaborate a new generation of praxis frameworks for arts-rich pedagogies and arts education/community programs?

Session 3

Panel Discussion: Education in Neighbourhood Houses

Facilitator: Dorothy BotrellVictoria University

This roundtable is an opportunity for discussion of pedagogies in the context of neighbourhood houses and learning centres. We will focus on:
– What does education look like in NHLC contexts?
– What are the aims and purposes?
– How does the community development focus of NHLC’s shape educational practices?
– Participants from NHLC’s will share cases of practice to inform the discussion.
This is an open conversation. People are welcome to attend and contribute to the discussion, whether you are engaged with NHLC’s or different contexts. Sharing practice and perspectives can only enrich our understanding and appreciation of public pedagogies.

4.15 – Discussion Groups – General notice board area

4.45  – Reconvene – Tea and Coffee

6.00  – Dinner (optional)



8.30  – Registration and Coffee

9.00 –  Opening Day Two

9.15  – Keynote Speaker – Jane Smith, Director M.A.D.E

Jane Smith is the Director of the Museum of Australian Democracy Eureka (MADE) and has over 25 years experience dealing with technology change, content generation and the changing behaviour of consumers.  Jane’s senior roles include being Corporate Strategist for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Chief Executive of the NSW Film & TV Office for nine years, Vice-President of Seed Australia (actor Hugh Jackman’s production company). Jane has held a number of board positions including the Australian Children’s Television Foundation, Chair of the Mobile Premium Services Review and the national Classification Review Board. She is currently on the board of the Melbourne Writer’s Festival.

9.45 – Panel Discussion: Public History

Anna Clark, ARC Future Fellow in Public History, University of Technology Sydney
Karen Charman, Victoria University
Dianne Hall,  Victoria University
Carmel Taig, President Footscray Historical Society

Jane Smith’s keynote will be followed by a round table discussion on the importance of preserving community history and memory as a counter or sometimes a con-current narrative to more authorised versions of history and the role of the university in supporting, or perhaps lack of support for this? The discussion will also address how support can be provided for small historical societies to continue to take carriage of public history.

10.30 – Coffee

10.45 – Discussion Groups

11.15 –  Public Pedagogies Institute Annual General Meeting 

12.15 – Break for lunch – SOAPBOX
Book launch – John Martino
War/Play: Video Games and the Militarisation of Society (Peter Lang publishers)

Book will be launched by Professor Kerri-Lee Krause, Provost and Professor of Higher Education, Victoria University.

1.15pm – 2.45pm

Session 1

Session Chair: Karen Charman

The Phenomenology of Monologue Writing as Pedagogy

Scott Welsh

For Socrates, learning was certainly never confined to a classroom setting and the same can be said of some performance practices, such as ethno-drama or documentary theatre, where the subject matter, rather than the art-form, is emphasised. Such practices tend to transcend the theatrical space and position themselves in their social surroundings. It is hardly a leap then to categorise some theatre as pedagogical practice and this has been the subject of recent and historical literature in the field.

My practice-led PhD research involved considering the playwright’s practice of monologue writing as pedagogy. In collaboration with my supervisor and the local school, workshops were conducted in a drama classroom. This methodology has also been applied to a teacher training setting  so as to improve empathy between teachers and their students. Monologues were written by student teachers from the point of view of students from whom they felt a sense of disconnection. This creative process of writing monologues, traditionally confined to theatre practice and the drama classroom, was used to foster empathy generally between the sample group and their students.

In this paper, I will consider the relationship between drama practice and education, as well as more general revelations provided by drama practice and its education.

For example, a recent project exploring Charles Manson and the contemporary notion of radicalisation began as three monologues and was transformed through a rigorous dramaturgical process. There are philosophical implications of the work being transmitted from a monological representation of a single consciousness into a more dialogical, conversational reality, where each individual voice is articulated inside a ‘conversational reality’. This, in turn, provides a catalyst for reflection on the nature of human existence and consigns the work to phenomenology.       

The Social Pedagogy my Brain Injured Baby Taught Me

Liz Tingwell

My social pedagogy comes from my personal experience, of knowing in my baby daughter Lucie’s injured brain, what my singing did to help. Starting her process of developing her normal self, on the basis already in her. A basis on which she would go on to be shaped.  Allowing my story of these things, to help us know what we can do. Is to help other mothers, and carers see, that what can build the basis of our sustainable future, lies embodied within them. For having been helped by Lucie to know things, which previously I could not, I can see they have been there latent in me all my life.  Things, which as a musician, are like the other parts of my orchestra without a conductor, playing silently on. Wanting to know when to come back in. Parts that had allowed me to respond as academic student, ABC bassoonist, radio producer and experiential management educator. Producing essays, music, radio programs and research publications. But without being able to ethically expect something in return for what I gave, I remained apparently unable to learn with others.

But now Lucie has ‘taught’ me what I needed to know, my symphony playing  together again, I sing out loud to you. About the simple things, as mothers and carers we do in families, and local communities. Like pouring out our hearts singing, which in getting our babies to respond, is the type of social interaction, we now know crucially builds the basis on which our future rests.

The Deep End: Pedagogy and the Public Pool

Lucinda McKnight, Deakin University

Diving in to New Materialist theory, this paper explores what might be learnt at a public swimming pool. Writing, sitting, thinking and swimming, the learner enters new spaces and atmospheres, where learning emerges as unpredictable and involving a whole range of human and non human bodies. Public spaces, where we can think about causality and design without the strictures of school curriculum, may emerge as key sites for new understandings of learning where abiding humanist preoccupations can slip away. This presentation involves movement, touching, flesh, smelling, silicone, cotton and water. Be prepared to get changed!

Session 2

Session Chair: Michael Sheill

Unhoused: the text factor and bringing enriched experiences of literature to the general community

Rose Lucas, Victoria University and the Text Factor

After many years teaching literature in the tertiary sector, this year I have established a small business, the text factor, whose brief is to ‘bring literary expertise into schools and community.’ Through a series of Guided Book Clubs, I have addressed two main audiences: the parents of children studying VCE English texts and general ‘book-interested’ community members. In the context of a Guided Book Club which is ‘unhoused’ from the cultural gate-keeping and assessment-based orientation of the tertiary curriculum, I have been able to understand and re-articulate my professional expertise as involving a pedagogy which has broad and public applications – to facilitate the development of the skills needed to interpret a wide range of texts in ways which both reflect upon lived experience and empower the reader to engage with the dense textual fabric of contemporary life. These are not arcane or elite skills, but rather are fundamental to everyone’s ability to understand the complex interrelations between self and other and how to interpret the world; thus, the ability to confidently interpret texts facilitates not only group discussion but has direct application to wider experience. In this circumstance, it also facilitates communication between parents and children. Informed by the evaluative data from my pilot groups, Guided Book Club has also allowed me to reflect upon and critique the key elements of pedagogical dynamics within a learning group, the identification of the reason for participant engagement and its crucial relation to the efficacy of learning outcomes as well as the evolving social and personal praxis of ‘reading’ within an increasingly visual and ‘bite-size’ textual environment.

Artist in Community

Anne Riggs and Alex Pinder,  Artist in Community

Education is not available to the thousands of laborers who toil in India and Nepal to harvest salt and manufacture bricks. Most are illiterate. For the past four years Artists in Community International have run art and drama programs with some of these communities. We work in the remote western desert of India with salt makers and in the Kathmandu Valley (Nepal) with itinerant worker families laboring in the brick factories. We provide a creative education to those who would never ordinarily have access to education or art making. We work in collaboration with NGOs and community leaders.

Bringing art and drama into these places has provided the whole of community with opportunities to learn and create. Children, parents, workers and grandparents, are eager and excited to participate and learn.   Most have never held a pencil or crayon before. The reasons people don’t participate in education, theoretically available and free to primary level in both India and Nepal, are complex. This complexity will be discussed.

Our presentation will describe these two on-going projects and particularly why art and drama are excellent for sparking an interest in learning.  Using photos and video we will describe and contrast the Indian salt makers’ and the Nepali brick factory workers’ lives and their barriers to education.   We will discuss our visual and performing arts practices that inform these projects.

Let’s talk about SPARKLES: an art/craft weekend workshop

Carmen Borg, Inspiring Kids to Create
Maureen Ryan, Victoria University

This paper will share some of the story of  Gallery Sunshine Everywhere, a small not for profit organisation that has been exhibiting mainly the art work of pre, primary and secondary school students in a western suburban cafe in Melbourne since 2007. During that time, over one hundred curated exhibitions have been held. The exhibitions combine the formality of framed work and opening events with the accessibility of the cafe space. All work is photographed and included in the Gallery section of the web site www.gallerysunshine.com.

As well, Gallery Sunshine Everywhere has been involved in a range of other projects, including many funded by the local council. In this paper we discuss the most recent of these projects, Sparkles. In this project, we drew together over 20 local artists and moved throughout a journey of developing a team which sought out the artists, drew them together in an exhibition of their work and in a weekend workshop where they demonstrated and shared their skills with local community members. We were keen to discover and profile a range of artists living in the local area.

Amid the flurry of lino cuts, music, pottery, weaving, sewing, drawing, graffiti art, Eritrean coffee making, eco prints, performances and more, the showcase provided opportunities to consider the five ways identified by Borrup (2009) as ways in which art projects can improve struggling communities: promotion of interaction in public space, increased civic participation through celebrations, engagement of youth in the community, promotion of the power and preservation of place and broadening of participation in the civic agenda. At the same time the showcase called to mind the assertions of Matarasso (1997) and Merli (2002) who problematised issues around “enjoyment”, “telling stories”, “active engagement” as familiar phrases used by artists who work in community settings.

We invite you to join our ongoing conversation about projects like Sparkles and their location in Public Pedagogies frameworks.

Session 3

Classroom Conversations around Culture – Film Screening and Discussion

Sarah Tartakover, Victoria University

Session 4

Session Chair: Meghan Kelly

The Public Exhibition of Pedagogy

Karen Charman, Victoria University

In this paper I examine what it means to negate or fail to recognise as pedagogical enactment student exhibitions in social history museums and community art spaces.  A curriculum and pedagogical approach that has a premise of student agency implies that forms of representation are not static and can change over time.  This means the students begin to see the public spaces such as social history museums and art spaces as a negotiated form and the content arbitrary.  One of the most exciting aspects of this curriculum approach is the point where the students- teacher positioning is disrupted. However, despite the use of the word public these spaces are often highly regulated and resist disruption. These spaces despite gestures to the contrary are indicative of a hegemonic symbolic order where the regulative enactments of power must be negotiated in ways that minimise the diminishment of the public pedagogical exposure of students. Drawing on the work of Deborah Britzman and William Pinar I will offer a reading of student and teacher interaction with these public spaces.

Indigenous narratives at the Geelong Powerhouse: Street Art and Public Pedagogy

Belinda MacGill and Ruth Fazakerley, University of South Australia

In 2014, an abandoned coal-fired power station in regional Victoria was leased by a local businessman and re-branded the Geelong Powerhouse: a “street art mecca”, “vibrant arts precinct” and “Australia’s largest indoor legal space to create ephemeral street art” (http://powerhousegeelong.com).  In a depressed regional economy, the Powerhouse brings together street artists to paint before a paying public, linking entrepreneurship and cultural tourism with the street cred of a derelict post-industrial building layered with the traces of illicit activity. In the process, the building is transformed from a site of illegal graffiti and tagging to a public site of continually changing, curated and “inspirational” street art, safe from the label of criminality, and conforming to the rules that the works “should be child-friendly, not offensive, and not overly political” (The Guardian, Monday 25 May 2015),

Nevertheless, works representing Indigenous people or expressing Indigenous politics and counter-narratives sit strikingly in this space alongside a range of overtly political texts that disrupt hegemonic representations of Australian aesthetics, and provide a counter-narrative to the omission or distorted representation of Indigenous narratives in mainstream art institutions and public spaces.

This paper examines the potential of street art, and the Geelong Powerhouse in particular, to disrupt western definitions of art and cultural heritage (Srinivasan, Becvar et al. 2010) and enact a public pedagogy of encounter concerned with the representation of, and closing the divide of, ‘us and them’ (Biesta 2012; Said 1978).

Art Museum Education: The Possibilities and Promises of Public Pedagogy

Susan Abasa, Massey University

An ethnographic study of educators in two art museums in New Zealand identified two types of teaching practice. The first, signature pedagogy, reproduced patterns of practice, and stock-in-trade teaching responses. These had deep historical roots and contributed to the political economy of art museums. The second type – transformative practices – comprised critical and indigenous pedagogies. These were rarely observed yet offered the potential to open new spaces for art museum education praxis. Progressive educators deployed these transformative pedagogies which rubbed against the grain of normative practices. The resulting friction did little to advance their professional standing and the institutional legacy was fleeting.

This paper suggests that understanding public pedagogy as educational activities in informal, institutionalised public spaces does not account for the complexities revealed by the research. Instead, it contemplates the possibility of public pedagogy as a third space that makes it possible to work within the tension of different pedagogical epistemologies and ontologies. It proposes public pedagogy as a dialectic space that keeps both signature and critical pedagogy in a series of dynamic, emancipatory relationships where institutional transformation can be contemplated, enacted and endures.

Susan Abasa is the Programme Co-ordinator, Museum Studies, in the School of People and Environment and Planning, Massey University, New Zealand. She earned a PhD for her thesis, Policies. Practices. Public Pedagogy: Two Case Studies of Art Museum Educators in Aotearoa New Zealand. Prior to living in New Zealand, Susan was Head of Exhibitions and later Head of Education and Extension Services at the Queensland Art Gallery before moving back to Melbourne as CEO of the Art Museums Association of Australia.

2.45  – Break for Afternoon Tea

3.00pm – 4.30pm

Session 1

Session Chair: Marg Malloch

Public learning derived from institutional learning: the case study of the Kelabit Community Museum Development

Meghan Kelly, Deakin University

This paper explores how institutional learning, when conducted in location, can become a site of public pedagogy. Based on the five categories of public pedagogy as identified by Sandlin, O’Malley and Burdick (2011), this paper refers to the study tour for the Kelabit Highlands Community Museum project, located in the Highlands of Borneo, to highlight numerous examples of informal learning for academic, student and community participants. In particular, however, is the public pedagogy that occurred once the study tour was complete. Students and academics, invited to assist in the development of the community museum, facilitated the community’s own agency in learning as the community learnt from the engagement and adapted this learning to suit their unique cultural requirements. In doing so, this paper reveals the informal learning derived from formal learning, identifying this valuable evolution as it occurs in practice. The outcomes are inspirational and underline the positive impact of collective agency in public pedagogy.

Painted (ghost) signs in the City of Port Phillip: a community conservation project in the City of Port Phillip

Sandra Khazam, City of Port Phillip

The mercantile history of the City of Port Phillip is reflected in an estimated 300 historic painted (ghost) signs on exteriors of private and commercial buildings throughout the municipality. These signs (many intact but some only remnant) are a visual link to our past. However these signs are at risk of loss due to changes to the built environment, as well as the physical deterioration of the sign’s paint layers and supporting surfaces.

In 2014 the City of Port Phillip partnered with heritage specialists, local community members and staff and students from the Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation at the University of Melbourne to begin to address the cultural heritage significance and conservation issues related to ghost signs in the municipality.

The result of this collaboration was an engagement and educative project which provides the community with tools to document and interpret painted signs alongside conservation and heritage specialists with the aim of using this data to explore long-term preservation strategies.

In 2014 and 2015, three sessions were run which brought the community and students together. The sessions looked at the historical, social and mercantile context for the signs and their significance, as well as theoretical and practical approaches to their documentation from a conservation perspective. The groups then went out on the streets and recorded selected ghost signs, with the outcomes later documented in a detailed report and posted on the social history site Historypin.

This paper will explore the project in greater detail, review the outcomes and evaluation, and look at future engagement opportunities for this project.

Aboriginal History at Sovereign Hill

Alice Barnes, Sovereign Hill

To deepen visitor understanding of the Australian goldrushes, Sovereign Hill recently launched Hidden Histories: The Wadawurrung People. This innovative digital tour explores the perspectives and participation of Aboriginal People on the Ballarat diggings. The outdoor museum has found it difficult to tell such “hidden” stories in the past without the help of traditional museum interpretation panels. However, digital technologies are providing an entirely new and engaging story-telling format which doesn’t distract visitors from their 1850s goldrush experience.

Created by Sovereign Hill Education, Hidden Histories: The Wadawurrung People can be explored by visitors and students either onsite, at home, or in the classroom. It is a useful teaching and learning tool for all levels in the new Victorian History Curriculum, and can be used to enhance learning in VCE History, Geography and Outdoor and Environmental Studies. The tour features a large collection of primary source images and quotes, an interactive timeline, videos, audio files, and a game to highlight the important role the Wadawurrung People played during one of Australia’s most transformative eras.

Sovereign Hill’s Hidden Histories: The Wadawurrung People will provide a framework for other Hidden History tour topics. Such tours help people understand the historical significance of the costumed characters and shops they see in the Sovereign Hill streets, and the relevance of hands-on activities that make the outdoor museum a world leader in immersive history programming.

Session 2

Session Chair: Mary Dixon

Becoming Public Pedagogies: new materialist and Deleizoguattarian variations on educational research

The papers on this panel highlight how new materialist thought requires educational researchers to reconsider “public” space, movement, and intra-personal exchanges. Viewing public pedagogy from minor, schizocartographic, emergent, and more than representational perspectives the papers argue for a renewed emphasis on materiality in research, and for generative pedagogies of becoming.

Emergent Pedagogies: a new materialist consideration of group reading/writing practices
Sarah E. Truman, University of Toronto

In this paper I discuss the outcomes of a multi-participant and multi-medial art and philosophy project based around Nietzsche’s eternal return. Drawing from new materialist and deleuzoguattarian theoretical frameworks I reveal the felt materiality of the various intra-acting elements in the project and explore the emergent pedagogy of collaborative reading and writing. Instead of viewing pedagogy as an intentional engagement based on a pre-existing set of known agents, each with its own ethos, this paper considers how pedagogy is emergent and arises during interactions with others rather than pre-existing them, and generative or what Brian Massumi (2002) might call productivist because it has an inventive rather than pre-determined outcome.

Playgrounds as sites of radical encounter: a mapping of material, affective, spatial, and pedagogical collisions
Linda Knight, Queensland University of Technology

This paper takes a new materialist theorization of playgrounds to propose that the child and play equipment are part of a sensorial, atmospheric, corporeal and temporal assemblage that includes objects, times, lights, atmospheres, and animal/human/creature bodies. The playground becomes an assemblage-series of choreographic encounters and impacts that have pedagogic agency: choreographies become pedagogic, and pedagogies become choreographic. Schizocartographic mappings of a playground site record some of these choreographic interactions. Conventional ideas about playgrounds are then shifted as playgrounds are conceptualized beyond the casual and are rethought as sites where choreographic collisions between the more-than-human, bring about pedagogical affects.

Public Pedagogy as a Minor Gesture
Stephanie Springgay, University of Toronto

This presentation takes up the proposition of public pedagogy as a minor gesture – that which is imperceptible and simultaneously in the process of ongoing mutation. Drawing on the work of Erin Manning and Giles Deleuze, I propose a public pedagogy that attends to the material, affective, and moving dimensions of matter through an attention to scale. Thinking about Public Pedagogy as a minor gesture requires we consider movement as absolute and viscose, a sticky contagion that produces and resists change.

Bark movements: Activating new practices in early childhood education
Mindy Blaise and Catherine Hamm, Victoria University

This paper sets out to challenge the representational logic that works hard to tame, simplify, and control young children’s learning. As a challenge to this kind of logic, we are involved in an experimental and multisensory ethnography of Stony Creek, with a childcare centre in Victoria, Australia. Weekly, we go ‘out and about’ with a group of young children and their teachers to the Bark Studio, which is located beside Stony Creek. It is here, where we are encountering bark movements.

We wonder, “How does movement let knowing happen?”, and are intrigued by this question because it challenges the idea that knowing presupposes what is to be known, or that knowing presupposes the subject. By thinking with movement, movements of thought (Manning, 2009), and the materiality of bark, we show how bark movements (scratchings, rhythms, rubbings) put into motion the relational potential of the bark. Several encounters with bark, wind, paper, water, dirt, child bodies, and dogs will be explored. We will show how we are putting thinking into movement and more movement into thinking and how this makes room for relational complexity. Relational complexity activates new practices that unleash, complicate, and open-up learning in early childhood education.

Session 2

Session Chair: Maureen Ryan

Community Art Workers

Charlotte Clemens, Victoria University

The formation of Community Art Workers in 1975 by a group of artists’ was an attempt to combat the controlling hold of Britain and America on Australian culture. The group lasted approximately four years. Our idea was to revive and encourage Australian culture by keeping it relevant to ordinary people. This meant making art that was accessible and comprehensible in places frequented by ordinary people such as on the streets, in pubs and community centers, rather than hidden away in intimidating places that resembled archaic institutions. The work was generally in a style that most people could understand and subject matter showed respect for the lives and problems of the majority of Australians.

We joined community groups in their struggles for just and reasonable outcomes. These were legitimate struggles to create a fairer and more equitable society. We printed posters, produced radio programmes affiliated with 3CR, some in other languages eventually spawning the idea of SBS. We painted murals, joined festivals, gave public talks, radio interviews, held exhibitions, painted banners, published and illustrated books and magazines, and encouraged live Australian music in public venues and indigenous art.

In keeping with the intentions of the group, I have recently made an online archive of the memorabilia I collected and saved,  which consists of scans of photos, posters and meeting notes from the group.

Transforming pedagogies: Encouraging pre-service teacher’s to engage the power of the arts in their approach to teaching and learning

Julie Arnold and Mary-Rose McLaren

This paper examines the challenges for teacher educators and PSTs navigating approaches adopted in a pre-service teacher education course to provide future educators with opportunities to develop their knowledge, skill and abilities in relation to arts education. So too, it is important to recognise and understand pre-service teachers’ reflective experiences as a way towards becoming a professional artful practitioner. The reflective process of self-discovery through the arts generates a particular kind of basis for preservice teacher (PST) shift of cultural, social, political and institutional understandings. In recent years the opportunity for pre-service teachers to build their confidence and explore the potential of learning in and through the arts within teacher education programs is becoming increasingly difficult (Heathcote, 2015).

Educational providers who are responsible for preparing future teachers increasingly adopt the orthodoxy of neo-liberal pedagogies (Giroux, 2004) and high-stakes agenda particularly in areas of literacy and numeracy.  This movement argues educational levels of young people can be raised if educators rely more on standardization and measurable outcomes to gauge the success of their students as well as their own teaching performance.  In conjunction to this is evidence which also seems to indicate that curriculum offerings in schools continue to narrow, where ‘soft’ subjects such as arts education are moved to the margins (The Guardian, 2014).  A consequence of these prevailing socio-cultural (Fine, 2010) and political circumstances can result in pre-service teachers being conditioned to either disregard the importance of the arts within a school curriculum or not feel confident to teach the arts to young people depending on their knowledge and intuitive experiences (Bourdieu, 1983; Moll et al., 1992).

The Prayer Pocket Place: For Hearth, Hand, and Heart 2010 – 2015

Flossie Peitsch, Public Art Practitioner

THE PRAYER POCKET PLACE (PPP) creates not just ‘something’, but rather, it crafts a sensory-rich personal place to contemplate the enduring facets of life’s bigger picture.

This multi-sensory installation, involving hundreds of participants sewing – by hand – over 300 standalone pockets sheltered in a sanctified space, features fabric and sound contributions by the women. The participants were mostly women taking part in free public workshops which I organized at various venues.

Locations for workshops included the Wollongong Art Gallery, artist run spaces, cafes, private homes, Sydney Living Museums, newly immigrated women’s hostels, Community Centres, church retreats, family groupings and many more.

In my 35 years of working with the public – creating community through art-based projects – this venture embodies the quintessential ‘community project evolving as fine art’. It grew spontaneously from my response to a local historical event in the Illawarra, NSW. It expanded naturally through the passion the project itself generated.

The historical event is Australia’s largest-ever industrial accident, the Mount Kembla Colliery Gas Explosion of 1902. This mining disaster took the lives of ninety-six men and boys. Yet, the town endured. I became interested in paying tribute to the brave women who carried on with their lives having survived such personal tragedy.

I facilitated today’s women in making their own pockets. The participants included migrant, stay-at-home and professional women of varying ages in temporary and discordant – due to differing interests, outlook, cultural background, spirituality, and socio/economic status – but purposeful groupings.

The hands-on task and self-directed sharing in small working groups led to personal healing, community building with a strong sense of belonging and solidarity, personal empowerment, realization of hope and activation for the future. PRAYER POCKETS are evocative of the ideas of home/community by creating a specific place housing each woman’s hand-written letter of the thoughts, hopes and prayers she holds for all time, place and culture. THE PRAYER POCKET PLACE literally and figuratively represents women in community and its creation is a story worth the telling.

Session 4

Youth and Public Pedagogies

Facilitators: Alison Baker, Victoria University and Charlotte Hilder, Arts Centre, Melbourne

This session will focus on the ways in which young people enact public pedagogies, with a specific focus on community arts and cultural development activities and settings. Community arts in particular offer a mode of collective inquiry and allows for creative ways of communicating, disseminating, and translating knowledge into the public sphere, ultimately democratising the knowledge production process (Gergen and Gergen 2011, 2014).  Community arts and cultural practices more generally can be seen as ways of engaging with power and politics and can open up alternative ways for examining identity, community, and avenues for social change. Thus this session will encourage innovative modes of presentation delivery that take on creative forms (i.e., arts-based or performative).

4.30 Discussion Groups – Revisit notes 
5.00 – 5.15pm  – Reconvene – Where to from here?

Interconnecting public, learning and research