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The Archive as a Construction Site for Art Education

Cusack, Alan; (2022) The Archive as a Construction Site for Art Education. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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This thesis proposes that art education can offer students critical spaces to engage in their own histories in the UK’s increasingly divisive cultural landscape. The research grows from my sustained practice as artist-teacher towards a mode of artmaking that employs theories of the archive to facilitate discourse and its inherent conflicts. Recent socio-political events, both nationally and globally, have revealed an increasing social divide, highlighting the urgency for meaningful dialogue concerning issues of culture and identity in education. Concomitantly, prevailing orthodoxies and instrumentalization of school subjects often militate against opportunities for teachers to engage with such current debates, foreclosing the possibility of difficult, yet vital, discussions. In response to this, my research-based practice presented and discussed in this PhD moves away from a solely object-based understanding of art education concerning the production of final products, towards a discursive activity that encourages polyvocality and multiple viewpoints. It argues for a historical consciousness in art education that mitigates the divisive impact of identity politics without succumbing to sentimentality. It engages with archival theory and practices to propose a mode of inquiry that reflects critically on the past to cultivate a safe space to explore and interrogate personal histories. This practice-based research also examines the role of the, at times conflicting, identities of the figures of researcher, artist, and teacher. Through an investigation of my own historical narrative, situated in ‘The Troubles’ of Northern Ireland, this reflexive inquiry informs and is informed by, projects carried out in various educational settings. It aims to facilitate dialogue and potentialize political identities through a re-conceptualisation of conflict that proposes the archive as an agonistic site with critical opportunities for teaching and learning.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The Archive as a Construction Site for Art Education
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2022. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10144727
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