Brushes With History | Teachers College Columbia University

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About Our Conference

Brushes with History: Imagination and Innovation in Art Education History  (BWH) 
— a will be held in November 2015 at Teachers College (TC) with the goal of providing a forum for presentation and discussion of ideas, issues, information, and research approaches utilized in the historical investigation of art education within local and global contexts. We will offer opportunities to engage with the rich resources in art education history at TC and beyond, explore more sophisticated approaches and methods of historical research, encourage interest in historical research, and extend the conversation on how meaning is produced in historical research trends and representations. This conference comes two decades after the last academic conference on the history of art education held at The Pennsylvania State University in 1995. TC’s legacy of “firsts” begins with the College itself and is based on the focus of renewing this legacy through TC’s Campaign; this is the “first” history of art education conference taking place in the 127 year history of the College as well as that of the Program in Art & Art Education.

The conference title highlights the subjects of Imagination and Innovation in Art Education History. On the face of it, acts of imagination and innovation have not always been thought synonymous with our perceptions of history. Enshrined in former documents, statutes and pronouncements of trained experts, the historical records of TC and art education history, cathedral like, have seemed carved in stone for all time. Yet the carved gargoyles of personal histories excavated from a widening global context and told in vernaculars as old and varied as history itself, challenge us with a new and more complex story that is yet in the making, thus providing a platform to sustain a vibrant culture of innovation and groundbreaking scholarship at TC.

Accompanying this conference, the Art & Art Education Program will host an exhibition highlighting contributions of TC in shaping the field of visual art education at the historic Macy Art Gallery.  A companion website will be developed for the conference with resources related to art education history and historical research.

According to Wygant (1959), TC was not created in a single stroke, complete in conception and perfect in form; rather, it evolved. It was pushed into being and molded into shape as a response to the necessities of the times. Keeping with that tradition, this conference will open up new spaces for conversations, wherein the TC community, external scholars, artists, and the public will learn about the history and legacy of TC and visual art education. This conference as well as the accompanying exhibition will enrich and expand the academic and educational network of TC, strengthening partnerships both cross departmentally and with artists, educators and historians from local, national and international institutions. Conversations generated at this conference will open spaces for collaborations that make possible valuable initiatives and ideas for productive partnerships—whether local, national or international—that increase both our impact and capacity to garner resources in support of our work within and beyond the university.

Conference Organizers:

Dr. Judith Burton 
Teachers College, Columbia University

Dr. Paul E. Bolin
The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Ami Kantawala
Teachers College, Columbia University

Dr. Mary Ann Stankiewicz

The Pennsylvania State University

Conference Manager
Geneva Robinson

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