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Pupil perceptions of learning with artists: A new order of experience?

Pupil perceptions of learning with artists: A new order of experience?,10.1016/j.tsc.2010.01.001,Thinking Skills and Creativity,Pamela Burnard,Mandy S

Pupil perceptions of learning with artists: A new order of experience?   (Citations: 3)
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For many years schools have employed visiting artists to work with pupils on project-based activities. While there is no lack of evidence of the capacity of some artists to motivate pupils, there is little extant research that identifies how pupils describe their experience of learning with artists who champion contemporary arts practice. This article reports findings from a post hoc study in which pupils reflect on their experience of learning with a visiting composer and 3 professional musicians. The data for this qualitative interpretive case study were obtained from semi-structured interviews with a carefully chosen sample of 27 pupils who represented a range of ages (between 11 and 19). All had participated in a series of workshops which extended over an 18-month period in which visiting artists facilitated a series of ‘creative days’ at a range of off-site settings, including two residential weekends, where participating pupils were engaged in collaboratively creating and performing newly composed pieces. Three key themes emerged from the data: (i) developing meaningful learning relations with the pupils; (ii) engaging the emotional dimension of learning; and (iii) the significance of the physical contexts for learning. We then discuss the educational significance of pupils’ perspectives on their experiences of learning with artists, the implications for educational partnerships that tune into their experiences, and the impact on creating a new order of experience for pupils as active participants in their learning.
Journal: Thinking Skills and Creativity , vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 70-82, 2010
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    • ...Burnard & Swann, 2010; Galton 2008; Griffiths & Woolf, 2004; Pringle, 2008)...

    Anna Craftet al. Reflective creative partnerships as ‘meddling in the middle’: developi...

    • ...2 The study focused on four case studies of community music project activity that were purposively chosen for their relative ability to represent several key dimensions of community music projects.3 Each of the projects studied was facilitated by the same large arts organisation operating across the North of England. This organisation coordinated approximately 20 such youth-focused community music projects and in an effort to cater for a variety of participant groups, divided its work more or less equally between youth centre-based and school-based/school-related projects (in each case seeking to work with ‘willing’ partners). The selection of cases for inclusion in my study reflects this variety while also offering up enough similarity between projects to enable the comparison of key project variables.4 Limiting my focus, in the discussion below, to just three of these projects reflects my concern here with the participation of those young people from my total research population who might be considered as most ‘at risk’. In the case of each project, my research paid specific attention to participatory practices and processes, exploring the key factors affecting these across settings and exploring the ways they connected to young people's pre-existing and on-going local musical-cultural activities.

      @@@@The methodological approach adopted in my research project was predominantly ethnographic in nature, employing data collection methods of variously (in-)formal group discussion sessions, participant observation and semi-structured interviews with young people (approximately 40) as well as community musicians, project partners and other arts organisation employees. Interviews were transcribed and their content analysed using qualitative data analysis software (employing both ‘in vivo’ and conceptually derived categories). During fieldwork, my role vacillated between that of researcher/observer, trainee community musician and project co-participant. As a result of this, together with the duration of my fieldwork and my broader interactions within research settings (e.g. at regular youth centre sessions, in refereeing football games involving project participants or in ‘after hours’ conversations with practitioners), I was able to develop good rapport with my research participants. In addition, I shadowed participant groups at a number of performance and participation events and in preparation for my involvement in projects, followed a six-month community musician traineeship and attended project planning meetings. I was therefore also able to gain insights into the working practices and the challenges, pressures and constraints involved in the facilitation of community music projects targeting especially ‘at risk’ youth. It should be noted, however, that while this research approach provided a deep appreciation of the projects under study, the small sample size sets limits on any claims I would make about my the broader generalisability of my findings. Indeed, a more longitudinal approach (taking in project initiation) might also have yielded new insights. Consequently, I do not claim that the three case studies discussed below are representative of all community music projects engaging with ‘at risk’ youth. Rather my aim is to use these case studies to illuminate aspects of participatory processes liable to pertain in the case of other such projects based within marginalised communities.

      4. Community music project backgrounds

      @@@@In line with the main project funder's definition of ‘at risk’ youth,1 each of the case studies presented below operated in areas characterised by high levels of economic deprivation and within settings (youth centres or schools) which placed projects within reach of young people with relatively low skills and experience in music making.

      @@@@In the discussion that follows I consider one project based within a school setting (Rosston) and two based in youth centres (Belfield and Bole Street). It is important to note that there exist a number of factors liable to distinguish the nature of youth participation in projects based within these two types of setting. School settings typically have the effect of reminding youth participants of their ‘in-school’ roles as well as alerting music practitioners to the far more formal educational approaches typically enacted within such settings. Lucy Green's work (1988, 1997, 2001) valuably highlights some of the relevant distinguishing features between what she terms ‘informal’, ‘non-formal’ and ‘formal’ modes of music learning while the work of Burnard and Swann (2010) attests to the significance of physical contexts for such types of learning activity...

    Mark Rimmer. The participation and decision making of ‘at risk’ youth in community ...

    • ...2 The study focused on four case studies of community music project activity that were purposively chosen for their relative ability to represent several key dimensions of community music projects.3 Each of the projects studied was facilitated by the same large arts organisation operating across the North of England. This organisation coordinated approximately 20 such youth-focused community music projects and in an effort to cater for a variety of participant groups, divided its work more or less equally between youth centre-based and school-based/school-related projects (in each case seeking to work with ‘willing’ partners). The selection of cases for inclusion in my study reflects this variety while also offering up enough similarity between projects to enable the comparison of key project variables.4 Limiting my focus, in the discussion below, to just three of these projects reflects my concern here with the participation of those young people from my total research population who might be considered as most ‘at risk’. In the case of each project, my research paid specific attention to participatory practices and processes, exploring the key factors affecting these across settings and exploring the ways they connected to young people's pre-existing and on-going local musical-cultural activities.

      @@@@The methodological approach adopted in my research project was predominantly ethnographic in nature, employing data collection methods of variously (in-)formal group discussion sessions, participant observation and semi-structured interviews with young people (approximately 40) as well as community musicians, project partners and other arts organisation employees. Interviews were transcribed and their content analysed using qualitative data analysis software (employing both ‘in vivo’ and conceptually derived categories). During fieldwork, my role vacillated between that of researcher/observer, trainee community musician and project co-participant. As a result of this, together with the duration of my fieldwork and my broader interactions within research settings (e.g. at regular youth centre sessions, in refereeing football games involving project participants or in ‘after hours’ conversations with practitioners), I was able to develop good rapport with my research participants. In addition, I shadowed participant groups at a number of performance and participation events and in preparation for my involvement in projects, followed a six-month community musician traineeship and attended project planning meetings. I was therefore also able to gain insights into the working practices and the challenges, pressures and constraints involved in the facilitation of community music projects targeting especially ‘at risk’ youth. It should be noted, however, that while this research approach provided a deep appreciation of the projects under study, the small sample size sets limits on any claims I would make about my the broader generalisability of my findings. Indeed, a more longitudinal approach (taking in project initiation) might also have yielded new insights. Consequently, I do not claim that the three case studies discussed below are representative of all community music projects engaging with ‘at risk’ youth. Rather my aim is to use these case studies to illuminate aspects of participatory processes liable to pertain in the case of other such projects based within marginalised communities.

      4. Community music project backgrounds

      @@@@In line with the main project funder's definition of ‘at risk’ youth,1 each of the case studies presented below operated in areas characterised by high levels of economic deprivation and within settings (youth centres or schools) which placed projects within reach of young people with relatively low skills and experience in music making.

      @@@@In the discussion that follows I consider one project based within a school setting (Rosston) and two based in youth centres (Belfield and Bole Street). It is important to note that there exist a number of factors liable to distinguish the nature of youth participation in projects based within these two types of setting. School settings typically have the effect of reminding youth participants of their ‘in-school’ roles as well as alerting music practitioners to the far more formal educational approaches typically enacted within such settings. Lucy Green's work (1988, 1997, 2001) valuably highlights some of the relevant distinguishing features between what she terms ‘informal’, ‘non-formal’ and ‘formal’ modes of music learning while the work of Burnard and Swann (2010) attests to the significance of physical contexts for such types of learning activity...

    Mark Rimmer. The participation and decision making of ‘at risk’ youth in community ...

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