2018 Master of Arts in Art Education & Master of Arts in Teaching Research Abstracts

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George Roeder

master’s Symposium SAIC Department of Art Education


May 9 / 2018 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Gene Siskel Film Center 164 North State Street Chicago, Illinois 60601

Table of CONTENTS Welcome to the


Program Schedule

2018 SAIC Master’s Art Education Symposium.

Today we are so pleased to share with visitors and with each other,


research and projects created by Master of Arts in Art Education

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and Master of Arts in Teaching graduate students during their two years at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. However, it’s not quite true to say that the work you will see


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today is the result of only two years of effort. Most Art Education graduate students come to SAIC already having worked in the field of art education; they have already embraced a life’s work in the arts—either as a clearly laid out career path or as an inkling of what they might become, what they might achieve. They come to SAIC


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searching for the resources that they need to extend their deeply felt vocations to use the arts to enhance each person’s creative potential and to build strong, creative democratic communities. We are enriched by their presence in the SAIC community.


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Please join me in celebrating the accomplishments of these dedicated artists/educators. I believe that you will leave today with an enhanced capacity to, in the words of the great educator,


Maxine Greene, “imagine the world as if it were otherwise,” to

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believe in the unfolding possibilities generated by artistic and social imagination. Enjoy.


Thanks! Olivia Gude Chair of Art Education Angela Gregory Paterakis


Professor of Art Education



9:15 AM


9:30 –10:35 AM

PANEL 1: All Together Now: Creatively Nurturing Communities Mary J. Saran Staci Sterenberg Dolores D. Ochoa Eduardo Trujillo Moderator: Kayla McClain

10:40–11:45 AM

PANEL 2: As If It Were Otherwise: Imagining Pedagogical Possibilities Mariana Martin Moreno Mengen Karen Zhang Matthew Ladewski Qais Assali Moderator: Cristian Roldan

11:45–11:55 PM


12:00–1:10 PM

PANEL 3: Front and Center: (Re)Positioning Race, Identity, and Culture Ann Huang Briatta Bell Lindsey Summers Hyunju Park Meghan Gieseker Moderator: Kenyetta Broughton-Floyd

1:10–2:05 PM


2:10–3:15 PM

PANEL 4 : Audience 2.0: (Re)Engaging the Museum and Its Visitors Kate Sherman Sofia Arana de Uriarte Catherine White Anna Dilliard Riley Wanjing Ren Moderator: Almudena Caso Burbano

3:20–4:25 PM

PANEL 5: Praxis at Play: Curriculum as a Site of Reflective Action Torrie Fox Ivonne Cruz Joy Kalantzis Casey Carlock Moderator: Lauren Ross

4:25–4:35 PM







All Together Now: Creatively Nurturing Communities Mary J. Saran Staci Sterenberg Dolores D. Ochoa Eduardo Trujillo Moderator: Kayla McClain



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Panel one

Mary J. Saran

Staci Sterenberg

Emerging Artists: Collaborative Collisions

The Juggle Is Real: Investigating the Hybrid Role of Artist/Teacher/Mother (ATM)

Artists have always collaborated, but collaborative approaches and the ways that collaboration can build community among artists have not always been recognized or supported. By creating a collaborative themed exhibition, my project investigated the following research questions: How does collaboration stimulate and inspire creative communities? How has it affected my own practice? How can collaborative art practices be supported? I began my action research approach to these questions by first interviewing six gallery professionals from non-commercial spaces in the Chicago area. The insights gained from the interviews were included in planning a short-term exhibition, workshop and a follow-up survey with artists working in collaborations. My roles involved being an artist, curator and educator as well as a researcher. The event took place from February 15-19, 2018. Over 150 people attended The Emerging Artists: Collaborative Collisions exhibition opening. The exhibition gave artists the opportunity to show this type of artwork, and the collaboration workshop provided a platform for discussion and acted as an inspiration for future projects. The analysis of the research was divided into three phases: pre-show, show, and post-show. Throughout the entire process conversations with artists took place as well as journal entries, email correspondence and photos. Artists who participated were excited about the exhibition, enjoyed the process and are interested in additional opportunities for collaboration work. This project suggests a need to support growth in collaborative practices.

At the height of second-wave feminism, in the 1960s and 1970s, women organized consciousness-raising (CR) groups across class and race to address their gender oppression. As an artist who is also a teacher and a mother (an “ATM”) and often feels isolated in her search for balance, I formed a CR group that included art making with other ATMs to reflect on our common experience. Asking, “Can a consciousnessraising group with art making for ATMs who may be experiencing isolation provide a space to share lived experiences, build community and develop professional strategies?”, I sought to foster a dialogue about the complexities of family and professional life that looked at how our various identities might feed or conflict with one another. My goal was to develop professional and personal connections that could invigorate and empower us as ATMs. To explore this question, I sent an open call for full-time art educators who were also mothers and maintained an art practice. This autoethnographic research was conducted in my home once a week for six consecutive weeks, from September to October 2017. The meetings were casual in nature and included food and drink over round-table discussions that culminated with art activities based on the topic of the week. Data included questionnaires, artwork, field notes, journal entries, photos and voice recordings. My research suggested that ATMs exist within a liminal state or “in-betweenness” that is fluid and requires flexibility, stamina and the regular performance of invisible labor. Nearly all of the women came to the field of art education after they became mothers as a matter of pragmatism. They often incorporated attributes of mothering into their teaching practice. The role of art educator dominated their professional lives, marginalizing their art practice or focusing it on creating curricula. I learned that lack of time and space was the greatest impediment to the women’s art practice in the face of the demands of their maternal and professional duties. I concluded that the ATMs who participated in my study valued the dedicated space and time for self-reflection as well as the opportunity to meaningfully examine shared experiences. As women continue to dominate the field of art education, it is important for ATMs to maintain a dialog to combat isolation, develop curricula and create a more unified, visible voice in the field.

Master of Arts in Art Education


Master of Arts in Art Education


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Panel one

Dolores D. Ochoa

Eduardo Trujillo

Creating Holistic Safe Spaces for Community College Students in an Imperfect World

Inhabited Landscape Site Specific Art Collaboration

This research focused on whether art and architecture teachers share unspoken pedagogies of empathy and care in urban community colleges? Some of the questions that arose during my research included: What backgrounds and past experiences formed the repertoires of these highly effective teachers? What may be the catalyst for the formation of familiar communities from such diverse student bodies? The location of the study was a community college in Chicago. The demographics of the student body included the typical college-aged freshmen and job skills-seeking adults; people from the local area as well as international students. My research took place throughout the course of two sixteen-week semesters. For my data collection, I interviewed three artist teachers and three architect teachers with various levels of professional experience. I also interviewed a number of students in their courses. For observations, I drew spaces where class sessions took place, and took photos of how people interacted. Copies of teachers’ assignments, syllabi and examples of the school and department’s websites, missions and vision statements were analyzed. On the surface the learning in these spaces seemed to be about the conventional curriculum. However, my analysis of teacher and student interviews suggested that the teachers modeling respectful support, empathy and caring were important to the learning environment, forming sometimes unlikely communities of the diverse participants whom I began to think of as “inhabitants” of a new shared space. The development of these collaborative relationships proved that weaving empathy and caring throughout each shared learning experience contributed to creating the foundational knowledge which helped build self-sufficiency and positive student learning outcomes In spite of budget cuts and the frequent undervaluing of community college education, the community college art department educators in my study employed their best practices to help their students achieve disciplinary excellence and empowerment in their lives. In times when academic excellence is often equated with keeping pace with technological advancements and is mandated to streamline and recalibrate curriculum with the need of business foremost, education in the arts emphasizes an equally important need is also a need of our society--a helping hand. Although this research study did not focus on reaching definitive conclusions, sharing the interviews amongst faculty broadened a sense of departmental cross disciplinary collaborations and the curriculum as seen through the perspectives peers and students.

Emerging from practice rather than hypothetical discourse, this research focused on exploring how site-specific art collaborations can facilitate experiences of syncretism that challenge taken-for-granted relationships within place. The balance of freedom/association/commitment from participants to affect a creation process through Socially Engaged Art assembles particular environments where the collective experience entails nuances of democracy, between agency and inertia, in real time. As artists, what do we miss when we become isolated from the collective synergies of community life? How can we raise our awareness/response about limiting complexities at the intersection of the communities and places we live in? Why and how should we create new ways of dialogue or inter-action with diverse cultures in order to enhance an authentic experience of the world? As a co-founder/director of Matamba Cubunaue, a collaborative Arts Lab with headquarters in Bucaramanga, Colombia, I guided this research participating as an artist/activist throughout every phase of development in a cooperatively designed curatorial project. It involved an experimental educational trimester program consisting of three collective exhibitions, two meeting/walk/workshop sessions per week, and other activities guided towards the creation of site specific collaborative art public interventions. More than 50 participants came, including local and international artists, institutional associates and community members from different economic backgrounds who ranged in age from 8 to 80. This generated at transgenerational dialogue about the complexities of the collective “dassein” (being there). Data for this research include documentation of artworks and audio recordings of dialogues that took place throughout the sessions and interviews. Through this activist research, facilitating something as apparently simple as people meeting each other became an important phenomena that enhanced dynamic spectator/participant dialogues that created new knowledge––self-awareness and a sense of interdependence/community in place. The equality of commitment and input reached among participants disclosed challenges to sustaining collective action such avoiding the creation of factions and the need for greater resources Collaborative artmaking that employs strategies of critical pedagogy enables communities to seek emancipation. Re-placing meaning in the `chaotic order´ of everyday time and space highlights boundaries that may be actively limiting our perception and therefore our relationship with the world. Conclusions from this research include the challenge of developing new methodological approaches towards collectivism and of creating new institutional parameters for working in a rather uncommon site for arts production and new financial and entrepreneurial structures.

Master of Arts in Art Education


Master of Arts in Art Education





As If It Were Otherwise: Imagining Pedagogical Possibilities Mariana Martin Moreno Mengen Karen Zhang Matthew Ladewski Qais Assali

Moderator: Cristian Roldan 14


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Mariana Martin Moreno

Mengen Karen Zhang

Raising Social Justice Conversations with Children through Art Making

Learning Art through Drawing: Missing Curricula for High School Students

Master of Arts in Art Education

During my time as an arts educator in Mexico, I discovered that art education has the potential to play a distinct and unique role in promoting critical thinking, self-expression and problem solving. The purpose of this study was to introduce second grade elementary students to immigration issues through a social justice and art education workshop that explored the impact of children’s literature on their development, social awareness, empathy and critical decision making. We explored empathy, solidarity, and critical awareness towards creating a more collaborative classroom community. The following questions guided my study: What occurs during an art workshop designed to encourage children to acknowledge, increase awareness and recognize social justice (immigration) problems? How do young students represent their perspectives on culture and social justice through art and writing? How will creating a curriculum based in social justice and multicultural learning inform my teaching philosophy and experience to better understand my students? My research was conducted over the course of seven weeks at an elementary school located on the West side of Chicago. The student body was 76% hispanic, 20% black and 4% white. Guided by an arts-based action research method, I recorded the feelings, emotions and beliefs of young students. The workshop included storytelling to develop conversations between students, establishing awareness of the experiences of others as well as the production of watercolor images and written messages. The visual artwork done by students in response to immigration issues, observation of classroom activities, photographs and interviews with students and teachers are the data. In collaboration with the students, we finalized the workshop with a social justice art book. This book, made with children for children, includes all the students’ artwork created throughout the workshop. As a result of interjecting meaningful real life situations into children’s art lessons, I helped students understand their feelings and the experiences of others and how they could respond to and engage conflict using art towards the end goal of social justice. As art educators, we must develop programs that support students growing awareness of the importance of cultural diversity. The arts can encourage problem solving, improve emotional and communicative skills and develop creativity which have the potential to reinforce more harmonious behavior and social tolerance.


Master of Arts in Art Education

For my thesis, I was interested in the benefits of a critical art curriculum for all high school students in China, not only for those few students who plan to become artists. I chose to research drawing curricula because drawing is an accessible art form which can be done with less costly materials than painting. Though drawing is usually seen as preliminary work, it can also be the final work, rich in aesthetic complexity, beauty, and meaning. The research questions the guided by project were: How can a drawing curriculum support students in exploring things that are important to them? How can I as a teacher create curriculum that supports students’ needs and interests in a drawing class? What do students gain from a drawing class? What are missing from our current curricula? What are the aesthetic and pedagogical methods that can be used to support different teaching goals? I observed a Drawing I course in a public high school with an International Baccalaureate Program on the south side of Chicago and a figure drawing course in an early college program held at an internationally famous art school in Chicago. I interviewed students and teachers from those classes. I also researched various drawing curricula and books on contemporary drawing in libraries and through the Internet as well interviewing two contemporary artists who use drawing in their practices. The teachers of each of the courses wanted students to gain meaningful art experiences as well as confidence in their artmaking abilities, balancing techniques and self-expression. Both teachers made teaching decisions based on the specific group of students--what content to teach, what experience the teachers recognized as valuable for each student in the class, and how to teach. Students from both classes appreciated the space they had to try new things and be themselves in class. Though the conceptual challenges varied between the public high school and art school classes, students in each setting expressed their appreciation for the conceptual aspects of the curriculum. Comparing my observations with my research into contemporary drawing practices, I noted that neither of the courses incorporated contemporary practice as a significant component of teaching drawing. I began my research valuing three things in a drawing course for high school students: an experience of inclusive engagement, gaining problem-solving skills, and using drawing as a means to investigate. Based on my observations and research, I now believe that introducing students to contemporary drawing practices is essential to achieving these goals.


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Matthew Ladewski

Qais Assali

Activity-Based Mentoring Practices

“The work is too didactic”: Unspoken Rules against Didacticism in the Arts and Higher Education

Master of Arts in Art Education

The purpose of this study was to determine if an activity-based mentoring practice could encourage, motivate, and assist youth to succeed educationally and socially. This exploration may provide assistance to educational and community programs by designing a new framework for mentorships. Through documenting and reflecting my mentorship of a Chicago Public School student, I sought to answer these questions: Can we assist our students with their education and social abilities outside of the classroom with mentorships? Can we improve the layout of a lesson plan by using new ideas of activity-based teaching? Can we overcome classroom issues by better understanding the activity-based mentoring methods environment? A qualitative methodology based in narrative served as the framework for the study. Through an activity-based mentorship with a student progressing from eighth grade to the end of freshman year of high school, I found that keeping the student’s mind focused encouraged him to succeed with homework, projects, participation and grades. The mentorship employed a collaborative process as I studied with the mentee. The combination of these mentoring methods supported a positive outcome for the student’s goals. My approach to mentorship began with activities he enjoyed once a week for the last semester of eighth grade. We identified areas in which he needed assistance through conversations with his parents. Our first focus was on homework and school-related activities. Through rollerblading at Chicago skate parks, attending art events, and visiting museums, we explored social issues. This process guided us through summer and continued through his first year of high school. Each semester I made changes to the lesson plan layout and was able to transform to the new styles of teaching. The final semester finished with a proposal for a project outside of the classroom involving an active rollerblading art gallery. Together, we agreed that this would be the concluding goal of the mentorship. Through the experiences and achievements gained during this process, I have concluded that activity-based mentorships outside of the classroom can assist student’s academic and personal growth. Activity-based mentorships may be utilized in community centers, after school events and during supplementary school times. A mentorship relationship in contemporary society can be a successful strategy to support youth in understanding recurring issues and in making continued efforts to achieve their goals.


Master of Arts in Art Education

There is an implicit bias against didacticism in the arts. Through my examination of the term didactic(ism) and its negative connotation in art, I unpack its meanings loosely related to the levels of information, accessibility, directness and clarity within a work. I then examine our assumptions about the value of an artwork determined by these implicit biases. This thesis analyzes contemporary phobias around didacticism, as the unspoken elephant in the room to contest assumptions, rules and stigmas in art/ making/education. In this qualitative study, I contextualize the historic construction of didacticism in literature, language, usage and its role in contemporary art. Through a hybrid of textual and historical analysis combined with an autoethnographic approach, I examine how the context of didacticism, as understood and applied in art, plays a role in teaching art as a practice and art as a field of study in higher education. I question the negative implications of didacticism by recasting it as a fundamental aspect of art making, crucial for effective art education. Where does this attitude about didacticism in art come from? How did we get to our contemporary interpretation of didacticism in contemporary art practices? Through grounded theory my autoethnography begins with my role as an outsider, Arabic speaker, learning the term didactic for the first time in the U.S. As a dual international MAAE and MFA student I explore the messy relationship being both participant-artist and observer-educator. The focus of my research was my experience of being educated as an artist and as art educator simultaneously. My research data includes teaching observations, notes, pedagogical statements and documentation of my written and visual work. This auto-ethnographic approach coupled with a historical analysis proposes the significance of dilliniating and cultivating awareness toward the limits, parameters and utility of didacticism as an effective tool in art making and art teaching. Through my thesis I unpack an understanding of didacticism in the visual arts for the art educator interested in raising an awareness of didacticism to support art students who are concerned with conveying information in their artistic practices. How do we, as art educators, understand, process and engage our students who fall within an ever shifting spectrum of didactic or non-didactic art? How do we teach this awareness or didacticism’s utility and aesthetic respectability? How can I teach my students or myself how to use this tool instead of fearing its taboo in art?





Front and Center: (Re)Positioning Race, Identity, and Culture Ann Huang Briatta Bell Lindsey Summers Hyunju Park Meghan Gieseker

Moderator: Kenyetta Broughton-Floyd 20


Briatta Bell

Ask Me How I Know: Exploring Identity in Multimedia Art Room

Affirming Identity: Understanding Differences

My action research project used co-learning strategies to guide students in the exploration of their identities using media art. The goal of this research was to help art educators and other readers understand how student-centered learning can influence both students’ and teachers’ experience as they investigate identity. My research questions were: What happens when students are invited to explore the complexity of their identities through media art? How can I, from an “outsider” perspective, guide students to explore culture and identity? Coming from a traditional educational background, how can I employ student-centered learning to structure my studentteaching project? I conducted this seven-week action research project in a public high school located on Chicago’s West Side. The school’s population was majority Mexican-American. The school’s neighborhood struggles with gangs, gun violence, poverty, and the criminalization of brown and black youth by police. Commuting between home and school posed safety concerns for many students. Many students hold part-time jobs before or after school, causing them to be tired in class, which affected their participation and productivity. In my projects, I focused on students’ planning and concept more than the result of their artmaking. Throughout the process, I documented and reflected on my teaching and one-on-one conversations with students as well as conversations among students. I also collected and analyzed students’ artwork and writings. As students in the IB Middle Years Programme, they strived to be creative, critical and reflective artists and thinkers. However, practicing art is not like practicing science; there are multiple ways to solve a problem. When students were invited to explore their identity, there was a lot of resistance against the project because they were unfamiliar with the subject matter and fearful of presenting their thoughts. I patiently listened and explained that it takes courage to learn new things about ourselves and struggle is a part of any successful endeavor. As a result, many students overcame their shyness and discomfort, and started to find their voices as artists and self-advocates. My research can be a resource for further exploration in individual and community advocacy through artmaking.

I investigated how art assists students in understanding their ethnic and racial identities. It is my belief that within the educational system there is more work to be done surrounding race, identity, and cultivating that identity. Teens and high schoolers are constantly trying to figure out who they are and what identifies them, and through this curriculum project I hoped to help them discover or realize positive qualities and cultivate those qualities within themselves and their peers. During my 7 weeks of high school student teaching I worked with a selective enrollment public high school on the southside of Chicago. I taught three Art 1 classes and one Art 2 class to roughly 120 students. The demographics of the school are reported as being 97% Black and the remaining 3% being Hispanic, Asian, and other. At least 80-90% of the schools population is low-income with a large number of the student body traveling up to 1-2 hours to get to the school. The class sizes ranged from 22 - 27 students and the time allotted for each class was 90 minutes. Students created self-portraits of themselves as extraordinary people; extraordinary people being defined as beyond what is ordinary or usual, highly unusual or exceptional or remarkable. I collected various forms of data including student work, observations of student work processes, and think sheets students filled out containing information about their thought process as well as the meanings embodied in their extraordinary people. Students understood the ideas I was trying to explain to them very quickly. The students enjoyed the project and walked away from the project with recognizing some of their outstanding positive personality traits as well as traits that they need to work on. The students were able to come up with some wonderfully creative solutions to some of the issues that they were facing. For those in the field of education and art education I would recommend that elements of social and restorative justice be included within every classroom. As the world continues to strive for equality it is only right that our classrooms do the same. Educating students in social and restorative justice practices prepares them to become helpful and enlightened citizens, preparing them to accept and understand the decisions and views of others. I hope my work can be of assistance in creating curriculum that teaches students that they are the ones whose insights can create change.

Master of Arts in Teaching


Panel three

Panel three

Ann Huang

Master of Arts in Teaching


Hyunju Park

Representing Diverse Contemporary Artists in the Elementary Classroom

Indigeneity and Diversity: How Museums Conceptualize Indigeneity and Practice Diversity

Master of Arts in Art Education

My thesis project stemmed from my experiences as a white, cis gendered female K-5 visual arts teacher going from teaching in a racially and culturally diverse school to teaching in a school that is 86% white. The goals of this study were first to improve my own practice and analyze my personal biases, second to inform other teachers with similar struggles, and third, to teach my students about a broader range of artists. The lessons I had previously taught revolved around a one-dimensional representation of culture, such as a holiday or tradition, unintentionally creating stereotypes. In addition to the cultural lessons, I also realized I had created a curriculum of white, deceased, Western, male artists. Subconsciously, I felt this was an unspoken requirement because it what I learned to teach during own undergraduate teacher education. In response, I developed a more culturally responsive teaching practice that introduced my students to new contemporary artists who are diverse in terms of ability, race, ethnicity and gender. My research questions for this study were: What strategies could I use to decentralize whiteness in my classroom curriculum? How can I include a wide range of diverse artists without lessons centered around stereotype-based projects such as holidays or traditions? How will teaching contemporary artists from diverse backgrounds shift the perspective of my students? For this study, I taught 80 5th grade students for three months during the 20172018 school year at a public elementary in the north suburbs of Chicago. The four classes met twice a week for thirty-minutes. To answer my research questions, I employed action research methodology and my data included pre- and post-unit surveys, student artwork, personal fieldwork notes and sketches. Among my initial findings were that my students demonstrated a strong bias towards the canon of Western, male-dominated art before I began teaching an inclusive, unbiased contemporary art curriculum, which I anticipated. At the conclusion of the study, my students changed their associations of the term artist to a more inclusive definition which they demonstrated through their art-making and post-unit surveys. Through my own experiences, I recommend that other art teachers analyze their curriculum for bias and adapt their methods to teach contemporary art and ideas that will engage students with a broad view of the world they inhabit.


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Panel three

Lindsey Summers

Master of Arts in Art Education

My research explored the complex nature of identities, through the lens of indigeneity and its representation in museums. Simpson (2007) stated, “To speak of Indigeneity is to speak of colonialism and anthropology” (p. 67). This statement sums up the common associations with “indigeneity”, as the term defines itself and characterizes it. While indigeneity persists to have certain identities, diversity tends to dissect any given identities. Fascinated by this complex relation of epistemology and ontology, I examined how “indigeneity” is presented in exhibitions at two community history museums and a culturally specific museum. The three museums share similar economic circumstances, while the culturally specific museum (North Suburban Chicago) is situated within a community with a more diverse racial demographic than the two community history museums (West Suburban Chicago) with over 90% white residents. Three questions guided this research: How are narratives of indigeneity constructed in exhibitions at three museums? How do museum staff members at each location conceptualize ‘diversity’ and understand the politics of representation? What can be done to embrace more meaningful and critically considered representations of indigeneity in museum exhibitions? To answer these questions, I critically analyzed how exhibitions at each museum conceptualize and represent indigeneity, focusing on signs, labels, objects and how these were arranged to create meanings. Using a comparative case study methodology, data were collected through observations using photographs and field notes, by which I analyzed the signs, labels and objects. Additional data were collected through interviews and secondary resources such as each museums’ website, brochures, guides and newsletters. Problematic patterns were found involving the representation of American Indians in all three museums. All of the museums de-emphasize the power relations of the white settlers and indigenous people, whether through omitting or mystifying the turmoil of historical events. This absence and aestheticization undermined the historical contexts of the exhibitions. In the case of the culturally specific museum, the emphasis was placed on factual knowledge of various tribes, objects and activities, which lacked critical knowledge of indigenous cultures and the historical contexts. It is questionable how these museums educate the public without tackling ‘real’ issues or practicing the role of the museum as a ‘civic agent’. Therefore, the historical-sociopolitical/economic-contexts of objects and events are necessary for these exhibitions to more critically consider diversity and better represent issues of indigeneity.


Panel three


Meghan Gieseker Master of Arts in Art Education

Institutionalizing Inclusion: Using Critical Race Theory in the Analysis of a Culturally Specific Museum Advisory Group In my research I investigated African American audience engagement techniques in museums and focused on the role of a culturally specific advisory group in the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC). This group was formulated in 1994 to provide counsel on the museum’s engagement initiatives. I was interested in the ways critical race theory (CRT ), could be utilized to analyze the impact of the Leadership Advisory Committee (LAC), a culturally specific advisory group. CRT is a theoretical framework that analyzes institutional racism and the unequal power structures that have kept people of color in marginalized positions of power throughout time. My research questions asked: What kind of impact and legacy has the Leadership Advisory Committee had on the Art Institute of Chicago when viewed through the lens of critical race theory? How do museum professionals and LAC members describe their experiences with the LAC using storytelling, an aspect of critical race theory? What does examining the material culture of the LAC reveal about the impact of the committee over time? What are the implications of this research moving forward? My research was focused on one culturally specific advisory group, the Leadership Advisory Committee of the Art Institute of Chicago, which is composed of African American community leaders whose role is to provide counsel on enhancing the experiences of African American visitors in the museum. My methodology was historical research, and I analyzed historical documents and material culture from the LAC’s and AIC’s archives. To gain first-person perspectives, I also conducted six interviews with LAC committee members and past AIC staff members who were involved in the group. Based on these conversations and analyses of archival documents, I have concluded that the LAC did have a prominent and influential role in the museum, although it was not always directly aligned with the initial intentions of the group. The legacy of the LAC shows that a culturally specific advisory group can have much success in influencing a museum’s initiatives given the support of internal staff and proper funding. Looking at this group through the lens of CRT has illuminated the need for museums to institutionalize the desires and concerns of a diverse public if they want to truly reach their goals of inclusion. This work of diversity, inclusion, and equity is an ongoing concern of museums, as they strive for a deeper level of relevance and a more visitor-centered future.






Audience 2.0: (Re)Engaging the Museum and Its Visitors Kate Sherman Sofia Arana de Uriarte Catherine White Anna Dilliard Riley Wanjing Ren Moderator: Almudena Caso Burbano



Sofía Arana de Uriarte

You Belong Here: Lessening Impostor Syndrome among First-Generation College Students through University Museum Programming

Inclusion through Language: A Study of Language Accessibility in Art Museums

Master of Arts in Art Education

First-generation college students have unique experiences when compared with their peers, as demonstrated by extensive research in fields such as higher education. First-generation students are less likely to graduate, particularly within five years, and more likely to struggle with cultural transitions and feelings of dislocation like impostor syndrome (or feeling not as capable as others perceive you to be). Museums have long been looking to diversify their visitor base and democratize narratives heard within the museum space. Despite a growing body of research in higher education, there remains a gap in art and museum education research examining programming for firstgeneration college students. My research explored the intersection of these discourses to contribute to this gap, asking: In what ways can a university museum act as a resource for first-generation college students? In what ways might a university museum encourage agency and belonging for first-generation college students? How does facilitating an event for first-generation students inform my perspective about the design of future museum programming for first-generation college students? Over a six month span, this action research project tracked the design and implementation of a student-centered museum program aimed at encouraging first-generation college students’ agency and belonging. This research took place at a university museum on the campus of an elite, private, 4-year university. Using data from interviews with three first-generation college students and museum employees, this project culminated in a two-hour event. Students participated in a roundtable discussion highlighting their intersectional identities and experiences as first-generation students and museum visitors. Additional data gathered included my observations, photos and video recordings. The results of my data analysis suggest providing a casual environment and space for dialogue brought first-generation college students together in the museum space in a meaningful way. Further, programs for first-generation college students should respect the intertwined identities these students may have that also contribute to their museum experience. For future research, I suggest reconsidering the event activities for maximum relevance and making a stronger effort to involve more faculty and staff at the institution. Because a gap in the literature on this topic is so vast, I also suggest extensive additional research on this topic, including longer studies, studies at different institutions, with recurring events, and with more participants. Ultimately, I encourage university museums to contemplate what it means to better support this demographic in a truly considered way.


Panel Four

Panel Four

Kate Sherman

Master of Arts in Art Education

Art museums are grappling with the issue of serving diverse multilingual audiences in order to become more inclusive. This study investigated the experiences offered by art museums for people whose preferred language is Spanish. My goal was to learn about the role and use of language inside a museum, not only as a tool for communication, but also as a way to connect with linguistically diverse communities. My research questions included: How do museums serve their non-English speaking audiences? What knowledge and assumptions do museums have about the language spoken by their audiences and how do these assumptions inform the way exhibitions are made and advertised in different platforms? What factors contribute to creating visitor-centered experiences inside art museums? My research took place over six months and focused on three institutions: The Detroit Institute of Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. I chose these institutions because they are located in linguistically diverse cities with large Spanish-speaking populations. I used qualitative research to document my museum explorations and conducted interviews with staff from each museum who shared their perspectives on language accessibility inside their institution. I also lead two groups of Chicago residents on Spanish language tours of the Art Institute of Chicago. My research revealed how language plays a critical role in visitors’ experiences inside art museums. The presence of a visitor’s primary language inside a museum creates a more meaningful experience. This project illuminated the need for further investigation in the area of language accessibility. Future research could explore the benefits of collaborating with local communities when developing interpretative material in order to improve the museum experience for a broader audience.


Anna Dilliard

Please Touch the Art: Utilizing Makerspace Technologies to Create Interactive Experiences for Off-site Art Museum Visitors

You Are What You Share: Art Museums, Social Media, and Teen Engagement

Museums strive to reach new audiences and create opportunities for engagement with their collections, yet the success of these goals often requires visitors to physically enter the museum. This study investigated the effect of interactive experiences created using makerspace technologies on visitor engagement during an off-site art museum program. My research questions included: What are some ways makerspace technologies can be used to create interactive experiences that extend beyond the museum’s walls and can touching 3D printed reproductions outside the museum elicit visitor engagement? What factors contribute to creating successful interactive experiences for art museum visitors and what are the benefits of using makerspace technologies to create those experiences? How do museum staff members understand the process of defining and measuring visitor engagement with interactive experiences? Using an action research model, I gathered data in three stages. First, I interviewed museum staff members at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Field Museum of Natural History. Then, I created 3D printed reproductions of artwork from the Art Institute of Chicago and utilized them as interactive experiences during an off-site museum program that I developed and facilitated in collaboration with Open Books, a nonprofit in Chicago that provides literacy experiences. The program was centered around a fantasy novel and was attended by teenagers, tweens, and their families. During this stage I also interviewed staff members from Open Books and the Chicago Public Library. Lastly, following an analysis of the interviews, my field notes, audio recordings and photographs from the program, I created a digital lesson plan that can be used by future educators. Through my research, I discovered that multimodal interactive strategies such as looking, touching, and art making are successful methods for engaging museum visitors. Additionally, touching 3D printed reproductions inspired curiosity about the original objects and helped off-site visitors learn about and make personal connections to works of art. I found that off-site museum programming can allow visitors to experience the museum’s collection in a new context which creates new paths of entry into the museum. Based on these results, I recommend museums create multimodal interactive experiences to encourage visitor learning and engagement. Lastly, museums looking to interact with a broader audience should consider developing offsite programming and providing 3D scans of their collections online for download.

The purpose of my research was to understand how art museum professionals can use social media to engage teen audiences. While many art museums do take advantage of the various online platforms, rarely is content geared toward individuals aged 13 to 19. It is important that art educators produce teen-friendly content for these platforms. My research questions included: How do different departments within art museums use social media? How do teens use social media? How can museum professionals work together to use social media to engage teen audiences based on these trends? I developed an action research project to investigate these questions, developing knowledge about the topic while creating an example of teen-oriented social media generated by a museum. I began my project by interviewing two Teen Program directors and one Social Media Manager at major art institutions in Minneapolis, Minnesota and in New York, New York. I also interviewed a group of three teen girls, 17- to 19-years-old, in Minneapolis. These interviews took place from October 2017 to January 2018. From information collected during the interviews, I created an online survey for teens. 13 participants were found through crowdsourcing; they were 14- to 18-years-old. This survey contained 10 questions regarding social media preferences and asked for opinions on different ways of presenting content and writing engaging material to accompany images. I created an Instagram account for research purposes and observed the accounts of 12 major museums and 18 accounts run by teen programs from different institutions. Inspired by my observations and data collected through my interviews and survey, I created a content calendar of images and captions. I asked my 13 survey participants to follow the account and interact with it. I posted one to two times per week, based on the content calendar. I focused on artist birthdays and current events that tied into art history, posing questions for the teens in the captions. Museum professionals must think critically about the ever-changing needs of teens. What may seem like a spontaneous platform actually requires intensive planning. Museum teen programming and social media departments can work together to determine what type and level of engagement they wish to have with teens and how to enact it. My action research concluded with the creation of a list of suggestions that museum professionals may use to foster this engagement.

Master of Arts in Art Education


Panel Four

Panel Four

Catherine White

Master of Arts in Art Education


Panel Four


Riley Wanjing Ren Master of Arts in Art Education

Touch Gallery: Utilizing 3D Printing Technology to Invite Visitor Participation New museology assumes the position that knowledge is relative and the process of learning is fundamentally social. A visitor’s interpretation of an artifact is determined not only by its inherent value, but also by the visitor’s framework of experience. 3D print technology in a gallery setting incorporates visitors’ sense of touch, understanding of dimensionalities, and social interaction into their learning process. This study explored the ways in which a touch gallery made up of 3D printed artifacts can be used to invite visitor participation. This research investigated three questions: how would museum visitors interact with 3D replicas in the absence of the original artifact? What would occur when visitors are encouraged to interact with other visitors’ interpretations? What impact does a touch gallery made of 3D printed artifacts have on a visitor’s museum experience? For that purpose, I conducted an action research project at a culturally specific museum in Chicago. I consulted with museum staff and selected three artifacts for 3D reproduction. For the duration of three weeks, a 3D printed incense burner, a seal, and an ink stone set were displayed in the gallery, accompanied with an interpretive worksheet that explored the property and function of the artifacts, and a post-interaction questionnaire regarding the visitor’s impression of the 3D printed installment. Visitors of all ages were encouraged to share their own interpretations, reflect on other visitors’ responses and the museum’s interpretation. I collected written response from the visitors and notes from my personal observation and informal conversations with the visitors. Through my research, I have learned that overall museum visitors had a positive view of interacting with 3D printed artifacts in a gallery setting. By handling and fostering a kinesthetic experience with the 3D replicas, museum visitors were able to explore the properties and functions of the artifacts. An informal learning environment helped museum visitors develop a sense of agency, in that it empowered the visitors to interact with 3D printed artifacts in an imaginative way, affirmed the innate knowledge of the visitors, and promoted informal learning through social exchange. This study helped me gain a better understanding of museum visitors’ learning process in response to a visitor-centered gallery installation. It highlighted the importance of the freedom of play for museum visitors to understand culture meanings. It encouraged museum educators to explore the possibilities of 3D printing technology in order to provide a platform for participatory engagement.






Praxis at Play: Curriculum as a Site of Reflective Action Torrie Fox Ivonne Cruz Joy Kalantzis Casey Carlock

Moderator: Lauren Ross 36


Ivonne Cruz

Dominant Messages: Reconstituting the Subliminal in Advertisements and Media

An Urban Education Action Research Project on Design Thinking & Studio Habits of Mind

Media functions as a framework for contemporary society. The influence of media has led to a relentlessly oversaturated, content-driven social environment. I conducted my action research in order to broaden students’ understandings of their media saturated world. Aiming to develop students’ media literacies, I set out to answer the following questions: What are the overt and/or subliminal messages in the ads that students encounter on a daily basis? How do these ads inform student identities? In what ways can student analysis of advertisements affect their consumption of media? Through a focus on digital and print-based advertisements, students unpacked the images that they encountered on a daily basis. Developing a critical perspective of the images they dissected, students gained an awareness of the visual tactics that are used in order to make people desire things they do not have, and might not even want. I conducted my action research in an advanced drawing and painting class at an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse selective enrollment high school. Classes met for 90 minutes every other day, and I collected data via student artwork, written responses, recorded discussion, and various worksheets over a six week period. The lesson included a discussion of advertisements, a group ‘Jam Comic’ exercise, brainstorming activities, reflective exit slips, two silent critiques, the development of artist statements, and a culminating final project that consisted of individual student comics. After familiarizing themselves with an array of artists including Hank Willis Thomas, Shintaro Kago, Olivia Plender, and Chris Ware, students created comic panels “dissecting” and “reconstructing” an advertisement that they had a personal connection to. Their final pieces utilized visual language developed by stripping down the content of the advertisement in order to reinterpret the message of the ad. Some students were able to find hidden meanings and subliminal messages in their advertisements, while others struggled to develop a deeper meaning. The response these specific students had ultimately reinforced my initial rationale for the project — that advertising’s true agenda obstructs youth’s recognition of its subdued messages. I believe a more consistent discourse is required surrounding the topic to allow students to construct an intellectual framework that will inform their consumption and empower their critical and creative output.

The purpose of this research is to investigate the efficacy of how students using the concepts and methods of design thinking develop critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving. I explored the concept of design thinking in my art classroom, through a parallel framework of studio thinking. During my teaching experiences in an urban public education system for the last 15 years, I have witnessed a cut of art education classes in both elementary and secondary education. I agree with the ideas of Lois Hetland and Ellen Winner, presented in Studio Thinking: The Real Benefits of Visual Arts Education, and believe art education develops creative habits and certain dispositions unique to art-making. Therefore, my research questions are as follows: What are the outcomes when students in an art class explore the use of design thinking linked with the eight studio habits of mind? How does this unique combination contribute to the development of critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity? In what ways does this investigation inform my own thinking about designing and facilitating lessons that involve the concerns of both art and design? My primary research method was action research at a small charter high school where I taught for the last 11 years. My project took place over the course of two months. It focused specifically on one class period, Art II: Honors class, with an enrollment that consisted of 15 senior students. During this action research, the students created two projects with the framework of studio thinking and utilizing the design process to develop their projects through a step-by-step methodology. I collected data throughout this action research project in the following ways: preand post-assessment, student self-reflections, and two art projects. There was a collection of data at each step of the design process for both projects. I also collected data through journaling as a means to record self-reflections and observations in the classroom. As a result of this action research project, I have concluded and recommended using the design process as a parallel pedagogical approach in art education classes. I discovered how it significantly contributes to the development of problem solving and critical thinking skills and also fosters creativity, skills desperately needed, especially within the context of urban education. I also discovered that if students are made aware of and deliberately use the design process, they are more likely to use the process in the future.

Master of Arts in Teaching


Panel Five

Panel Five

Torrie Fox

Master of Arts in Art Education


Casey Carlock

Mutual Learning and the Art Classroom: Circumstances that Aid and Hinder Mutual Learning in a Selective Enrollment Environment

Digging in the Garden of K-8 Eco-Art Curriculum

Master of Arts in Teaching

During the course of seven weeks, I investigated the components in a high school classroom that supported or facilitated student mutual learning. Mutual learning occurs when learning becomes student-led or where students become both student and teacher. I investigated mutual learning in two mixed media courses, working with 64, primarily Latinx high school-aged youth to create personal political cartoons through printmaking. My research questions included: What is the difference between mutual learning, cooperative learning, and collaborative learning? What factors can aid in mutual learning? What are the factors that hinder mutual learning? How can teachers effectively facilitate or mediate mutual learning? I conducted action research in a school in transition, from being a neighborhood school to a selective enrollment school. The class consisted of half neighborhood students and half selective enrollment students. They created political cartoons based on issues important to them. These political cartoons were placed on relief printed tessellation designs. Students then participated in a Socratic discussion, contextualizing their political cartoons in the greater political conversation. Data includes photo documentation, observations and reflection, student artwork, video and audio recordings, lesson plans and instructional materials and informal conversations. When students encountered the challenging aspects of printmaking, they began to turn to each other for assistance. Their discussions revolved around not only the techniques of printmaking but also the concepts they were working with. They took initiative in teaching their peers when they saw them struggling. Several factors aided in mutual learning: the milieu or environment of the classroom, the rapport between student and teacher, the student culture, and the project itself. Through the observations I made during my project, I changed my lessons to better facilitate mutual learning, and as a result, students began to take more responsibility for their own and their peers’ learning and engage in the social and cultural contexts within art. Future research could explore how teachers can use milieu, their rapport with students, student culture, and different projects to better aid students in leading their own learning.


Panel Five

Panel Five

Joy Kalantzis

Master of Arts in Art Education

In the early 21st century, students in American public schools are rarely given the opportunity to explore and develop their sense of place beyond the four walls of a classroom buzzing with fluorescent lighting. My thesis explored eco-art curriculum (environmental learning through art integration) as a means of increasing awareness of and engagement with everyday constructed and natural places. Drawing from the discourses of site-specific pedagogy and project-based education, since 2010 I have worked to transform my teaching practice into a living classroom, a place for students to make a community-based sculpture garden. Beginning my graduate study at SAIC in 2014, I began to conceive of this work as an arts-based action research project. My thesis documented and analyzed an eight-yearlong series of eco-art projects in my K-8 classroom using a variety of materials and processes ranging from large-scale mosaic sculptures, to creating and documenting ephemeral earthworks in the garden, to bringing nature inside during the winter to study life cycles with observational drawing centers. Digging in the garden of eco-art education begins with the following questions: What happens when students explore contemporary, place-based art practices within their school community? What do previous students describe as the long-term impact of art and gardening curriculum and how can these reflections influence future directions for curriculum development? How will participation in an inquiry-based project shape and affect my colleagues’ curriculum and the larger neighborhood community? I conducted my study at a low-income; predominantly Latino, urban public K-8 elementary school located on Chicago’s northwest side. Students designed, installed, and maintained a site-specific, interactive school-learning garden. I began the process attempting to bring the natural world to my urban students and to discover new ways for my students to create art about nature inside and outside of the classroom. My data included observations of students, teachers, and parents using the school garden, documented class discussions, student artwork, student’s written reflections, and pre/post surveys and drawings. Throughout my research, I discovered new ways of teaching eco-art by asking students to think about their local ecology and promote environmental social justice. This thesis described how an eco-art curriculum could advance environmental awareness in the United States. My action research project confirmed my belief in the value of place-based art education to advance knowledge and understanding of effective environmental learning strategies and experiences.



to the Department of Art Education Faculty & Staff Olivia Gude Chair of Art Education Adam Greteman Director of Master of Arts in Teaching Andres L. Hernandez Director of Master of Arts in Art Education




Cheryl Boone Salome Chasnoff William Estrada Cheryl L. Gold Kelly Gross Jerry Hausman Rebecca Keller Faheem Majeed Patricia Pelletier Lavie Raven Laura Sapelly Jerry Stefl

Kristi Moynihan Administrative Assistant


Valerie Vasquez Licensure Specialist

James Elniski Linda Keane

Steven Ciampaglia Adam Greteman Olivia Gude Andres L. Hernandez Drea Howenstein Nicole Marroquin John Ploof Sarah Ross

Kathleen Mary McGrath Administrative Director




Kenyatta Broughton-Floyd Almundena Caso Burbano Kayla McClain Cristian Roldan Lauren Ross PROGRAM DESIGN BY : Giselle Mira-Diaz, MAAE 2019

DEPARTMENT OF ART EDUCATION 37 South Wabash, Suite 713 Chicago, Illinois 60603 arted@saic.edu 312-899-7481

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