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Jennifer Hamrock’s Dissertation Defense

Published February 26, 2018

Dr. Jennifer Hamrock successfully completed her defense of her doctoral dissertation in art education, titled Visual Cartographic Explorations of a High School Art Room Assemblage: A Dissertation by Jennifer Hamrockon February 19th, 2018. The defense was co-directed by Art Education faculty Dr. Sara Scott Shields and Dr. Rachel Fendler.

The following is the abstract for Dr. Hamrock’s dissertation:

This art-based dissertation explored an art teacher and her students’ interactions and movements through a high school art class using visual maps. Art as research by way of visual mapping methods emerged as a tool teachers can use to reflect and analyze their unique teaching and classroom contexts. Using the conceptual idea the art room assemblage is like an Australian mud map, the art room becomes an ephemeral relational space formed by the in-betweens of the teacher and students and the art room with mappable felt and seen forces: the nuanced coordinates of new materialisms, affect theory, and immanence . Visual cartographic content generated around teacher/student conversation and artmaking constructed all aspects of this research project. Visual cartography mapped content from informal interviews, observation/video, teacher and student’s artwork, and the research/artists journal/sketchbook. Further, the project draws on situational analysis, which provided a way to see various relationships in context. Serving as a mode of analytic thinking, visual mapping takes the focus away from a single subject and places emphasis on the art room assemblage as a whole. Encouraging the reader/viewer to consider the varied social situations within an art room assemblage, this research invites looking at the art room in a different way to move our thoughts in new directions. The implications from this research advocate for the artist-teacher to research their own context with the very skills and knowledge they are teaching, herein directing in-service and pre-service art educator professional development towards arts-based practitioner research.
Dr Hamrock responded to her dissertation experience with the following:
Going through your dissertation is like binge watching an amazing show.  You become very connected to the characters through their ups and downs, and you get excited to get home from work to watch (sometimes declining social outings). However, you have mixed emotions when you finish the last episode.  You don’t want it to end, partly because you become attached to the characters and partly because you sort have this feeling like, ‘what am I going to do with myself now that it’s over?’ But at the same time, not only do you have a lot of laundry and dishes piled up that you need to tend to,  you start getting excited about the other shows you have in your queue. My committee (Sara, Rachel, Jeff, Ann, and Terri) was supportive and insightful and I found the other students in the program to be rocks – great sources for advice and comfort.


Dr. Jeff Broome congratulated Dr. Hamrock with the following:

Jennifer has worked so hard and broke new territory in our program with an included exhibition of arts based research along with her written dissertation. I was proud to be a member of the committee along with Dr. Ann Rowson Love and Terri Lindbloom. Way to go Dr. Hamrock!