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Art Education Doctoral Candidates Successfully Defend Their Research

Published December 13, 2018

The Florida State University Department of Art Education would like to congratulate Art Education Doctoral Candidates, Jaye McNair, Samuel Rosenstein and Alexandra Allen on their successful dissertation defenses. The Art Education program equips graduates for both formal and informal educational environments. Through research into visual and cultural literacies we prepare students to be leaders in the field. Not only can art promote the development of the individual but serves to enrich and enliven the world around us. The Department of Art Education is proud to share these three student’s work!

Dr. Jaye McNair, PhD, defended her research entitled Needles and Scraps: Using Collaborative Autoethnography and Visual Storytelling to Rewrite the Dominant Narrative of Black Children in Public School. Dr. McNair’s study used quilting as an arts-based method to rework and retell the dominant narratives around Black students in public school. The purpose of her study was to develop a metanarrative that reframes the dominant narrative of Black children in public school, teach self-determination as a social practice in a public-school classroom, and develop a critical conversation around culturally responsive art education theory and practice.

My study is important because it challenges the negative conversation about Black children which is still dependent on a few Black scholars and a very persistent conversation drudged in deficit thinking, deficit culture, deficit curriculum and a very deficit school culture creating a radicalized identity for Black children… Using Faith Ringgold’s art and artistic practice as an exemplar, I collaborated with my students to make what I describe as critical art. Critical art, as a category, is a composition that provokes the artist and viewer to actively question and challenge reality on personal, social, and communal levels for the purpose of gaining freedom justice and or equality.

-Dr. McNair

Dr. Samuel Rosenstein’s, EdD, dissertation titled Facilitating the Interactive Mural Experience as an Act of Creative Placemaking focused on participatory mural design and installation. He worked with the Palmer Munroe Teen Center for a semester to design and complete a mural for their gymnasium.

Community mural projects exist in a medium of high visual payoff, illustrating desired subject matter meant to serve a specific audience. While the result is indeed an important element, it is not the only point of emphasis. This dissertation focused on the community mural experience from the planning and installation phases, completed by youth volunteers at a teen center. Designed and executed through the lens of creative placemaking, this dissertation research relies on visual and narrative data. The findings highlight the importance of an inclusive interactive culture during community mural dialogues. As the researcher and facilitator, I enlisted participant feedback for both the pilot and primary mural projects and led the transformation of both efforts onto their respective walls in the center. I used a visual journal to document the research. My arts-based findings are centered on visual vignettes and artistic renderings made in response to the finished mural projects. In translating the impact and value of collaboration through art making, I argue in favor of involving the participant voice in all phases of the creative process. In addition to providing a workbook for initiating similar hands-on opportunities, I focus on the potential of executing murals with people rather than for them.

-Dr. Rosenstein

Dr. Alexandra Allen, PhD, investigated how arts-based research methods contribute to the development of a positive disability identity for a person living with invisible disabilities. Through the theoretical framework of critical disability studies, she explored the intersection of identity, embodiment and agency via narrative and visual methods of inquiry including reflexive journaling, drawing, watercolor and sculpture. The heuristic process of arts-based reflexivity was then used as a means to create a comprehensive portrait of the disability experience. This study concluded with research implications that address teacher preparedness and the need for critical awareness in relation to complex concepts of disability such as performativity and the transitioning nature of identity.

I believe that this work is important because it offers productive ways to engage in identity work that is expansive rather than narrow, which makes it suitable for integration into art education without feeling like a restrictive approach. Furthermore, this research suggests ways that arts-based research can be used as a method for positive identity development for someone with invisible disabilities, which in turn challenges prevalent issues of stigma and ableism.

-Dr. Allen

The FSU Department of Art Education congratulates Dr. Jaye McNair, Dr. Samuel Rosenstein and Dr. Alexandra Allen on their successful dissertation defenses and graduation from the program. We look forward to seeing and supporting their positive contributions to the field of art education!