Dr. Sara Scott Shields, an Assistant Professor and recent addition to the Department of Art Education at Florida State University, had the pleasure of making two presentations at this year’s Eleventh International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry Conference (ICQI). The Congress focused on the changes currently occurring in the field of qualitative inquiry (QI) and ICQI since the Congress was launched as an alternative site for collaboration and discourse. This year, the conference took place at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign from May 20-23, 2015. The theme of the 2015 Congress was “Constructing A New Critical Qualitative Inquiry.”
Dr. Scott Shields, an annual participant of the ICQI conference, proclaimed, “ICQI is an amazing opportunity to meet scholars from across disciplines. Getting the chance to see what is happening outside of art education in the world of qualitative inquiry keeps me up to date on current theoretical and methodological trends. More importantly, it is also a really great opportunity to keep in touch with colleagues from other universities and maintain scholarly relationships benefiting both my teaching and research!”
Dr. Scott Shields, along with scholars Brooke Anne Hofsess, Gloria Wilson, and Kelly Guyotte, presented a paper entitled “The Uncharted Years: Moving through first year academic spaces” at the conference. Dr. Scott Shields professed, “The Uncharted Years Project is a collaborative autoethnography that is really strongly connected to the concept of cartography and mapping – specifically how might we begin to envision and map the emotional and physical spaces we occupy in our first years as academics. Because the group of scholars I am writing with are all women, we are finding that we bring a unique perspective to the conversations surrounding the transitions women encounter in the first years as academics.”
Further accentuating the collaboration, Dr. Scott Shields declared, “We are four qualitative researchers artfully documenting our transition from a doctoral program in art education into tenure track positions at both research intensive and teaching oriented universities in the southeastern United States. In this collaborative autoethnographic project, mapping is employed as a conceptual process, allowing for the generation and exchange of multimodal data among a community of emerging female academics. The cartography of this presentation focused on the physical, conceptual, and embodied movements as documented through a private Tumblr, reflexive art making, and journeys made to each of our new homes and universities. Drawing from each individual’s theoretical orientations (hermeneutic, narrative, portraiture, and phenomenology), we explored various layers of our experiences during this year-long study. Through this exploration we aimed to contribute new methodological possibilities for arts informed, collaborative autoethnographic work, while opening a dialogue about our uncharted first years in academia.”
Dr. Scott Shields also presented a research project entitled “Artful pedagogy: Creative approaches to teaching qualitative inquiry” at the conference along with scholars Kathleen deMarrais, Kelly W. Guyotte, and Richard Siegesmund. Dr. Scott Shields stated, “Artful pedagogy is the thoughtful and purposeful engagement with the arts to foster reflection into student thinking and processes. The notion of artful pedagogy emanates from panelists’ experiences —as researchers, art patrons, artists, and educators. For us, the arts encompass ways of knowing and being that infiltrate the varied spaces we travel in our lived worlds. While traditional approaches to teaching and learning have a place in the higher education classroom, we do not research a world defined by lectures and essays; rather we navigate through a world filled with images, movement and feeling. The goal of this panel was to explore how artful teaching practices might be employed in the teaching of qualitative research. The presenters in this panel looked to narratives, opera, and sculpture as they considered the potential of the arts in qualitative research pedagogy.”
To elucidate the origin of the research project, Dr. Scott Shields explained, “As for the artful pedagogy project – this is a research project that began as a collaboration with Kelly Guyotte at the University of Alabama. Kelly and I both found ourselves teaching qualitative research and research survey courses. During our pedagogical conversations we kept returning to the role art might play in the research classroom. Inspired by our rich experience in qualitative research from the University of Georgia and our shared background as high school art teachers, we decided to present a panel addressing how higher education might begin to find creative ways to teach research methods and methodologies. My paper was focused on the creation of miniature spaces as a way of conceptualizing theoretical frameworks. Inspired by the writing of Gaston Bachelard’s Poetics of Space, I encouraged my students to create miniature spaces that represented their theoretical influences. The goal of the assignment was to focus student’s energy on theory development. Knowing theory is the foundation for all research endeavors, I hoped by pushing students to find alternate modes of exploration, they might come to know their theoretical frameworks in deeper and more meaningful ways. While the presentation at ICQI was focused on the pedagogical strategy of crafting miniature theoretical spaces, I’m currently working on a paper focused on a presentation and analysis of the findings from the project.”
Dr. Scott Shield’s two presentations greatly contributed to the success of the Eleventh International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry Conference. Congratulations, once again, on the impact you are making in qualitative research methodologies!