Doctoral Dissertations

Doctoral Dissertations


Available from Dissertations & Theses @ Columbia University; ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (3055712467). Retrieved from 


Care can be defined as a set of relational practices that foster mutual recognition, growth, protection, empowerment, and human community, among others (Gordon et al., 1996). This study investigates the practices of care in the context of the curatorial creation of collaborative arts engagements. The recent proliferation of partnerships between artists and communities has revealed that, in some instances, such relationships have not been productive or supportive. This raises questions about how curators and artists embed ethical commitments into their planning and whether their relational practices foster care. Informed by Ethics of Care theory, Relational Aesthetics, and feminist scholarship as derived from the fields of leadership, psychology, and higher education, an interview-based cross-case approach was utilized to examine the Ethics of Care praxis within participatory art engagements. Six art practitioners were interviewed for this study to reveal their common experiences relating to care and explore how this relates to the background and curatorial work of the researcher. Data were collected through interviews and the researchers’ photographic reflection journal. It is argued that the findings expand the definition of ethical, collaborative relations within artistic co-creations. They also highlight the need to embrace discomfort, set boundaries to inform reciprocity, and provide a sense of belonging within Holistic Communities of Practitioners. 

Available from Dissertations & Theses @ Columbia University; ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (2926481518). Retrieved from


While new approaches to displaying art free both the art and the viewer from overly didactic forms of curation, there have been very few attempts to examine how viewers negotiate meaning from art when no goal or directive is provided. While some see difference as the critical factor, others use similarity as a way to introduce new narratives. This dissertation research takes a close look at the kinds of things people observe in visual works of art to expose the specific ways that the offerings in the work are made knowable by its viewer and how different modes of presentation might affect the process. A paired design was developed to find out how juxtaposing works on dimensions of similarity and difference might affect what people see in individual paintings and whether the presence or absence of depictive content would be a factor. In three online experiments, participants were tasked with generating as many single words or short phrase responses as they could over a two-minute time period from a selection of modern and contemporary paintings – 32 abstract and 32 representational. In the first study, paintings were presented sequentially. In the next study, the same pictures were purposefully matched for color, composition, style, and thematic content. In the third study, the same pictures were re-paired to maximize difference. Pairing effected an overall decline in number of total comments for representational paintings compared to isolated single-view sequences. In contrast, significant increases were found for abstract art when the adjacent painting was also abstract. Significant consistency in response patterns for both art types across all three studies provide quantitative and content-based evidence for a normative level of engagement, with specific processing effects relative to art type. 

Available from Dissertations & Theses @ Columbia University; ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (3055906424). Retrieved from


Certain disjunctions exist between the structure, courses, and practices of current textile curricula on the one hand, and the demands of students for entry into diverse creative professions and the demands of the creative industry for qualified new talents on the other. Thus, this research will explore the history, current issues, and emerging trends of academia and the creative professions as these shape the qualifications, aspirations, and expectations of students, academia, and the textile-related fields. The ultimate goal of this study is to comprehend the contemporary issues—social, economic, and cultural shifts—that may impact textile education within art and design colleges, and propose an efficient and engaging BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) textile curriculum suitable for the era of interdisciplinary education and the fourth industrial revolution. Since scholarly study of the effectiveness of art school curriculum is limited and little research has examined the challenges of BFA education, and in particular BFA textile education in the context of 21st century college education, the researcher begins with a survey of existing literature from adjacent fields, including higher education, sociology, business, marketing, apparel, and art education, in particular, adolescent artistic development. The existing literature also includes statistics from government, consulting firms, colleges ranking sites, and annual reports published by each school.

This qualitative case study examines how stakeholders in BFA textile education—students, faculty, and professionals—from five selected art colleges in the U.S. perceive their educational experiences and post-college careers. The data were collected through 1) a review of existing literature pertaining to perspectives of general college education, creative industry, and current student generation, and 2) qualitative data gathered through initial surveys and verbal interviews, including two pilot studies.
Stakeholder perspectives obtained through interviews are interpreted through the following theoretical frameworks: 1) the business perspective aiming at the success of all stakeholders; 2) the marketing perspective aiming at improving stakeholder satisfaction as a means of enhancing the operational efficiency of organizations; and 3) the educational perspective aiming to create effective teaching and engaging learning environments for the success of today's young creative talents. The researcher contends that the findings strongly suggest curricular and pedagogy change in accordance with societal changes and demands of the stakeholders—current student generation, creative industry, and academia—while at the same time informing the significant value of college education, BFA education, and textile education in the 21st century.

Available from Dissertations & Theses @ Columbia University; ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (3055877475). Retrieved from


This qualitative cross-case study explores the intricate practice of cutting within contemporary art, examining the works of six artists to unravel cutting’s diverse expressions. This research identifies cutting as a dynamic form of drawing that has evolved from ancient utilitarian uses and pre-modern crafts to a contemporary art form bridging various disciplines. The study meticulously charts the transformation of cutting from its historical roots in crafts like collages, quilts, writing, and pottery decoration to its present status as a ubiquitous tool in artistic creation through semi-structured interviews, visual analysis, and a comprehensive review of both digital and physical portfolios, the study explores how artists harness cutting to achieve a range of formal, conceptual, and metaphorical outcomes. The research, grounded in a constructivist worldview, contextualizes these practices within the broader contemporary art scene, drawing insights from theorists such as Thierry du Duve, David Joselit, Robert Storr, and Hito Steyerl. This research categorizes cutting techniques into literal, physical, and non-literal, encompassing digital and metaphorical approaches, highlighting the practice’s capacity for innovation and transformation. This study reveals a unifying theme across the artists’ works: the use of cutting as an extension of drawing, facilitating endless possibilities for transformation and expression. This dissertation posits that cutting extends beyond the confines of traditional art forms, acting as a versatile tool that empowers a spectrum of artistic expressions. By examining the historical development and diverse applications of cutting practices, the research enriches our comprehension of contemporary art. It reveals the profound and transformative potential inherent within this fundamental artistic act. 


Available from Dissertations & Theses @ Columbia University; ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (2815166925). Retrieved from


Civilization games can depict imaginative and sophisticated perspectives on the future. Yet some scholars have critiqued civilization games for their replication of dominant, limited ideologies. Game designers often learn about design directly or indirectly from frameworks, such as the Mechanics-Dynamics-Aesthetics (MDA) framework which contains a very idiosyncratic definition of aesthetics. Given that aesthetic thinking can unlock the sociological imagination, the aim of this dissertation was to discover opportunities to expand civilization game design by understanding the aesthetic experience of designers. A qualitative interview study was conducted of 13 game designers who created at least one civilization game based in the future. The interview and analysis had an ontological focus, to better understand how aesthetics fit into the existing puzzle of game design knowledge. The findings showed that designers employ their perspective in game design; this sense of self and perspective is not captured by current ontologies of game design. Furthermore, designers are limited in their ability to explore the boundaries of civilization games by task complexity, emotionality, and reliance on player experience. Resultantly, they may focus intensely on known aspects of game design in order to deliver a product. The dissertation proposes two primary solutions. Firstly, a game design framework that integrates the self into game design and more clearly delineates the game as an artifact. Secondly, cultivate truer senses of vision in game design for those who want to push civilization games and games as a whole, while understanding the practical realities of game design. These implications can be used by educators to reconsider game design program curricula, as well as affirm game designers’ pursuit of their own perspective.

Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (2777436830). Retrieved from


This qualitative multiple case study tracks the work of six artists with an educational background in oriental painting, traditional Korean painting, for their BFA major. This study reveals a change in their artwork from their original training after graduation to their current manner of artistic expression. This transformation occurs as they develop their artwork in a more contemporary way in the South Korean art world where Western art/global art has become a center. Although oriental painting has been influenced by Western art since Japanese colonial liberation in the 1940s, this situation presents conceptual conflicts between traditional and contemporary approaches to this genre of art. This study examines how six artists find their artistic position between conflicting values through the examination of the trajectory of the changes in their artwork since their graduation from undergraduate school. The participants of this study were six artists (three men and three women) who earned a BFA degree in oriental painting in South Korea. Semi-structured interviews, visual data of artists’ artworks, and written notes were sources of data analysis. The qualitative case study was based on constructivism of philosophical worldviews. The evolution of the participants’ artwork is examined based on theories such as Jack Mezirow’s transformative learning and Robert Kegan’s adult development. This study presents the transformation from two perspectives: sociocultural factors and personal motivations. Each perspective reflects changes in materials and techniques as well as changes in imagery. Furthermore, the enduring values of oriental painting in the transformation are examined, which includes Eastern philosophy and aesthetics and visual elements such as three-distance perspective, blank space, and expression of line. Ultimately, this study argues that there exist various avenues of transformation based on oriental painting, with tradition persisting in novel forms of contemporary art.


Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (2780150086). Retrieved from


This visual and narrative-based qualitative research examined the specific cultural journeys of eight Korean contemporary artists as well as their meaning-making processes reflected in their art and growth of cultural perception. The data primarily consisted of interview descriptions that surrounded the participants’ lived experiences in South Korea or the United States, namely their cultural and educational influences represented in their artistic identity and artworks. To examine their personal and artistic growth, Kegan’s theory of adult meaning-making and Mezirow’s transformative learning development theory informed the reasoning behind the participants’ transition between their past and present encounters.

The research findings supported a host of literature regarding the influence of cultural changes and challenges in the individual development process of Korean contemporary artists in both South Korea and the United States. A discussion was also presented to highlight how the artist participants who studied abroad developed opportunities for growth through their artwork and navigation of new cultural environments in the United States. This research provides art educators and artists with concepts to best confront cultural and educational issues that emerge in the art classroom and the art world, specifically the impact these interventions can make on cross-cultural learners.

Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (2682207168). Retrieved from


As I began this research, and even as a younger person, I thought it was the responsibility of my father to teach me what it is to be a man and how to embrace manhood. However, through the tools of self-study and autoethnography as a research method, it has become apparent that the responsibility falls upon me to seek manhood and to develop a lifelong practice of building good character. In the words of Dr. Leon Wright (1975), “To know God, one must know all about man.” This research seeks to bring clarity to my efforts to find out who I am. It details my journey from boy to artist to man. It works to highlight the interplay between three aspects of identity that make up my sense of self: racial identity, social/emotional identity (manhood) and lastly, my professional identity as an artist. This writing works to establish a personal meaning for manhood gained through self-reflection, personal experience, and formal rites of passage participation.

This research initiates as an investigation concerning the members of my family, and my interaction with the men who have had a direct involvement in my life. This is an endeavor to document my path toward gaining/acknowledging purpose while working to acquire the knowledge of myself. I started with confronting my pain, realizing my creativity and artistry, welcoming my personality, to eventually embracing spirituality, all as a quest for knowledge. The knowledge of myself leads to the comprehension of my purpose in life, without which, as David Deida writes, I would be “totally lost, drifting, adapting to events rather than creating events” (2007, p. 37). This document is my inquiry to this acquisition of life purpose. On this quest, I have since modified Dr. Wright’s words to suggest that, “To know God, one must know all about themselves.”


Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (2500391436). Retrieved from


The study explored the returning experience of six Chinese art education practitioners after they received their graduate degrees in the United States and moved back to China. It was grounded on the assumption that when art education returnees try to translate what they learned into the new system of art education in another country, their efforts will be shaped by the different cultural context, and conflicts will emerge with multiple and interrelated dimensions.

The dissertation employed a qualitative cross-case approach. Six returned art education practitioners were selected and interviewed using a semi-structured interview protocol in 2019. I mainly worked as a non-participant researcher, obtaining information from the conversations with the participants. In addition, I collected blog entries, photos, and online articles related to what and how an interviewee responded to a question.

The findings of the research suggested that returnees move along diverse trajectories of professional development, and their professional ideas all contradict local traditions to some extent. Collectively, they experienced multiple challenges concerning professional, administrative, and interpersonal, as well as some minor challenges in their returning process. In coping with the challenges, they made two-way changes: they changed their own expectations and behaviors, while also changing art education in China in terms of teaching methods, space, and people involved.

This study aimed to provide educational implications for future art education returnees, international art programs, and China as the home country. It also provides implications for the developing art education programs in China. New thoughts sparked by the process of collecting data and writing the dissertation are also presented as suggestions for future studies. 

Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (2494193725). Retrieved from


The Sustained Investigation is a student-directed body of work completed as a requirement of the AP Studio Art (APSA) course. This work involves three audiences: students themselves, their teachers, and AP readers who evaluate their portfolios. Students must consider not only the personal meaning and relevance of their work, but the extent to which that significance can or should be communicated to these outside viewers. Teachers are faced with a related challenge: to guide students through work that is essentially self-defined. The purpose of this research was to document teacher, student, and reader descriptions of the pursuit of worthwhile ideas as they relate to the perceived goals and purposes of the Sustained Investigation. This research was undertaken as a collective case study involving interviews of APSA teachers and students across four school sites, as well as a selection of readers. Findings indicate that the term idea might describe a range of approaches to organizing a body of work, including themes, concepts, political stances, feelings, and other sources or motivations. Furthermore, this work often reflects multiple concurrent ideas, involving primary and secondary goals for one’s work. The development of ideas was often linked to a nonlinearity of practice; ideas were clarified through the process of making rather than beforehand. Respondents indicated that ideas should be meaningful to the creator, largely relating meaning to personal relevance. Meaning might be pursued by selecting topics of personal significance, developing individual creative processes, or reflecting on this experience as an opportunity to fully embody the role of artist. Meaningful ideas were differentiated from successful ones. Notions of success were defined in terms of the degree of internally and externally imposed challenge involved in this endeavor. Participants agreed that students should be considered the primary audience for their own work. For some students, awareness of readers motivated them to take on challenging work, but this awareness did not influence their choice of central ideas. The findings of this study, particularly the nuance in distinctions between idea, meaningful idea, and successful idea, may be useful in informing pedagogical and creative practice in the AP program and beyond.


Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (2497005267). Retrieved from


The Book of Arithmetic Problems of Johannes Whisler (1814-1815), a mathematics exercise book in the collection of the American Folk Art Museum in New York City, is the central object of this study. This handwritten and illuminated book, created by a young Pennsylvania German man in the early 19th century, prompts a reevaluation of handwriting and doodling, with implications for the present era. The author documents the biographical and sociocultural circumstances surrounding the creation of Whisler’s cyphering book through primary and secondary historical research and applies Glăveanu’s theory of distributed creativity to describe the book as a creative process that emerged among people and objects, and across time.

As direct indices of immediate actions, handwriting and doodling emerge in moment-to-moment action, even as these actions are embedded in longer periods of developmental and historical change; the author documents Whisler’s handwriting flourishes and doodles and describes the particular qualities of these mark making activities with reference to the sociocultural context in which they appear, Werner’s theories regarding the physiognomic perception of symbols, and Stern’s theory of vitality forms. The dissertation concludes with educational implications of the research, which include considerations of the use of handwriting as a component of art education and the future of handwriting as an affective and cross-modal medium. 

Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global; Publicly Available Content Database. (2596525380). Retrieved from


In the years since the advent of the Black Lives Matter movement, American art museums have increased attempts to address the racial inequities that persist in the field. These inequities impact all aspects of museum work, not least of which education. Because museum educators are often seen as the conduit between museum collections and audiences, the work of implementing anti-racist programming often falls to them. However, the museum education field is majority White, and while there is a rich body of literature treating the adverse impacts of Whiteness on classroom teaching practices, very little exists on how Whiteness might manifest in gallery teaching practices specifically for White museum educators.

Utilizing participatory action research, practitioner inquiry, and a White affinity group model, this qualitative study explores aspects of Whiteness that impact the gallery teaching practices of four White museum educators. Our research questions seek to understand better how Whiteness manifests in our teaching specifically in the context of single visit field trips, how those impacts might shift depending on the racial demographics of the groups we are teaching, what questions come for us as a White practitioner-researcher group dedicated to undermining Whiteness in our teaching, and how, if at all, does participation in such a study impact how we think about and implement anti-racist teaching in our practice.


Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (2497059940). Retrieved from


Using an ecological systems approach, this qualitative study examined how continuously evolving, personal living experiences and the ideologies and attitudes of their material, folk, and school culture come to be (re) presented in the construction of images and meaning in children’s artwork. The research was conducted with three groups of fifth-grade students facilitated by the art teacher at their schools in three different countries: United States, Greece, and Ghana. Data in the form of a set of autobiographical drawings from observation, memory, and imagination with written commentary were created by each participant and supported with responses to questionnaires and correspondences from teachers and parents. The sets of drawings were analyzed in terms of how the drawings reflect the children’s (a) artistic expression as mediated by their interaction with local and media influences and (b) sense of self, agency, or purpose.

The findings strongly suggest that style, details, content, and media use assumed a dominant role within the drawings. Furthermore, these results were reflected differently in the drawings of the cohort from each country. Having considered the set of drawings each child made as a network of enterprise emphasizes the active role the children played in the production of the artwork, involving their choices of theme and content, the media images incorporated, and the means by which a task was adapted to suit their interests. However, the results also show that the specific skills—drawing from observation, memory, and imagination—required by the four drawing tasks had a tempering effect on their creative output, leading to the conclusion that the children’s limited drawing experience constrained their ability to express themselves in pictorial representation with fluency. In view of these findings, lesson suggestions are designed to develop drawing skills across drawing modes in a rhizomatic manner of thinking. Suggestions for future research address exploring the evolution of children’s identity and sense of agency in the world through artistic expression; the role of the environment in which children draw as an embodied and embedded experience in a physical and sociocultural world; and further research into how and why children use images to communicate.


Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (2601019566). Retrieved from


Contemporary artist residencies are institutions or programs that enable artists to develop their practice beyond the confines of their typical work setting. Increasingly, they are also a means to access significant material, interpersonal, and professional resources, and a medium through which to engage with local communities. In response to these developments, the present interview-based study aims to understand how artists develop within a community context by investigating the work and experiences of eight artists who have participated in community-based residencies across—and sometimes beyond—the United States. By collecting each artist’s narrative and supplementing it with documents, images, and auto-reflections of their artwork, the study investigates the complex network of characteristics that help facilitate the creative process. Furthermore, by canvassing research from fields like social psychology, business management, and arts education, it explores the relations of educational reciprocity that emerge between artists and residency communities. This study suggests that the complex physical and interpersonal dynamics of each residency environment contributed in distinctive ways to the artists’ development. It also notes that each unique residency program provided support for the use of new materials, the exploration of new practices, and the investigation of new content. The residency characteristics that were most conducive to creative growth included (1) difference from one’s typical working environment; (2) access to new (and sometimes unconventional) materials, tools, and facilities; (3) social opportunities such as shared meals and public forums to cultivate relationships with residency cohorts; and (4) ample time (usually 1–2 months) and space (access to both private and public studios) to settle into the residency environment, explore one’s artistic practice (and the practice of other resident artists), and foster relationships among cohorts, staff members, and community visitors. Ultimately, this study argues that artist residencies can contribute to the field of non-formal art education by serving as a relational framework for artists and their residency communities.

Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (2605672767). Retrieved from


This research investigates how power dynamics function in three cases of participatory art, each created by a different artist. Participatory art (PA) is understood as art whose physical or visual properties are shaped or altered by the viewers’ engagement. The study responds to the fact that discourses on PA often refer to the emancipation of participants. Rooted in concepts from Foucauldian biopolitics, the research also assumes that PA inevitably involves a distribution of power among artists and participants, which often vacillates between cultivation and instrumentalization.

Data for this qualitative, multi-case study were collected through interviews with the three artists and with three viewers of each studied work. The researcher’s memories of her participatory experiences in the studied artworks, captured in a journal, were also considered as data.

Detailed narrative findings illustrate how artists’ and viewers’ positions in relation to particular works are never detached from the art systems that frame them. Yet, these positions are not necessarily static and can shift in significant ways. Therefore, the balance between cultivation and instrumentalization can change from work to work, from participant to participant, and from situation to situation. The study shines a light on the potential of critical reflection, enacted once artists and viewers “step out” of the work, for realizing, questioning, and critiquing the conditions of participatory artworks. The researcher suggests that it is in such reflective spaces that awareness of one’s power within a work, and the emancipation that follows, are more likely to occur.

Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (2562229583). Retrieved from


The purpose of this study was to illuminate characteristics of the pedagogical learning environment in three contemporary MFA Visual Arts programs in the United States and to investigate effective pedagogical practice for graduate art students in preparation for teaching in higher education. According to the College Art Association (CAA), the MFA is considered the terminal degree in the visual arts, unlike other related fields such as art history and art education, where the doctorate is the highest degree. While MFA students can pursue a professional practice of creating and exhibiting their artwork after graduation, many students also enter the MFA with the aim of becoming college art educators. However, there has been a lack of research that specifically examines the degree to which MFA visual arts students are being prepared for teaching. How are students preparing to become college art faculty, and what professional development programs are provided to graduate art students to help them teach art at the college level? These are questions that were the background context of this dissertation study.

This study took the form of a cross-case analysis that employed qualitative and descriptive case study traditions. Data were collected from multiple sources: primary documents and semi-structured interviews with nine MFA students, six studio art faculty members, and three administrators at three MFA programs. This study presented findings of: (a) the pedagogical preparation offered to graduate students by the selected art schools; (b) the perceptions of graduate art students, studio art faculty, and administrators regarding the quality of current academic career preparation, specifically for teaching, in their MFA programs; (c) the insights of those participants into the most important characteristics of college teaching preparation; and (d) suggestions by the participants for the best practices that lead students to become successful college art educators. Based on the findings through an analysis of the learning and practical experiences of MFA students and the perspectives of faculty and administrators, I hope that the study will extend the field’s understanding of the state of college teaching preparation in higher art education.


Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (2557412451). Retrieved from


We have become increasingly dependent on our smartphones and use them for entertainment, navigation, to shop, and to connect among other tasks. For many, the camera on the smartphone has replaced a dedicated digital camera, especially for the adolescent. With advances in smartphone technology, it is has become increasingly difficult to determine differences between smartphone camera and digital camera photographs. To date there is little research on the differences between photographs taken by smartphone and digital cameras, particularly among adolescents, who are avid photographers.

This study used a qualitative task-based research method to investigate differences in photographs taken by adolescents using both types of cameras. Twenty-three adolescents ages 15 to 17 attending a regularly scheduled high school photography class participated in the study. The students were invited to capture a typical day in their life, first using their digital camera or smartphone camera and then switching to the other type of camera. Data were collected by way of written reflections, student interviews, and the participants’ photographs. The three data sources were coded, analyzed, and triangulated to provide results for this study.

Results suggest that, for these particular participants, marginal differences exist between the photographs taken with a smartphone camera and a digital camera. Analysis also suggests there were minimal differences across specific categories of focus, color balance, and thoughtfully captured images between the smartphone and the digital camera photographs for this population of students.

The study concludes that teenagers ultimately use whatever capturing device is available to them, suggesting that it is the photographer who controls the quality of a photograph—not the capturing device. Educational implications of the study focus on the use of technology in the art classroom, and suggestions are offered for photographic curricula based on the results of this study. In addition, an examination of different pedagogical styles, such as reciprocal and remote teaching and learning models, finds them particularly appropriate in supporting photography education for adolescents.

Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (2561514737). Retrieved from


University-based teacher educators’ first three years on the job are often imbued with tension, as they must renegotiate their professional identities and pedagogical philosophies in relation to ambiguous and sometimes conflicting expectations of what they should do and stand for in this role. As role models for aspiring art teachers, art teacher educators have a powerful influence on their pre-service students’ views of teaching, and on their emergent professional dispositions. However, despite the moral and intellectual significance of their work, and the diversity of their identities and work contexts, research on this population is limited and does not reflect current demographics in the field. While existing studies suggest some of the tensions that art teacher educators—both new and veteran—face on the job, research has not yet explored how new faculty members, specifically, experience their earliest years in the role nor how they learn to develop personally authentic art teacher education pedagogy. This qualitative multi-case study responds to these gaps in the literature, and to the understanding that new knowledge-for-practice is often generated within spaces of creative tension such as career transition.

The study participants were eight full-time art education faculty members with less than three years in the role. Individual and cross-case analysis of data collected through semi-structured interviews, qualitative questionnaires, and reflective tasks, revealed that participants’ tensions were predominantly influenced by discrepancies between (1) their established occupational roles/identities and practices, and expectations placed upon them in the art teacher educator role that they had not fully anticipated, and (2) their own, and others’ art-education-related (ideological) values. Most of the participants identified strongly with discipline-specific values (e.g., being grounded in activism and arts-informed social justice). These values functioned as core elements of their professional identities and of their teaching, research, and scholarship. However, in some cases, there were difficulties in translating these values into effective art teacher education pedagogical content knowledge.

The data analysis suggested that through reflecting on tensions, participants gained increased professional self-understanding and keener awareness of the forces that enable or constrain the enactment of their personal pedagogical values. Additionally, the data suggest that greater intentional preparation and support for this role (particularly mentorship that validates their established identities and backgrounds) prior to and during the early years, could greatly benefit art teacher educators’ adjustments into the academy and facilitate their building of pedagogical content knowledge for this role.


Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (2428376469). Retrieved from


The following dissertation presents a historical narrative and an arts (music, dance, and visual arts) curriculum based on the artwork of the quintessential Caribbean-American artist, Geoffrey Holder. The dissertation is a response to a reported lack of research and teaching materials on Caribbean artists. That is, arts educators at the secondary and postsecondary levels as well as art museum educators reported a lack of, and need for, curriculum and teaching materials grounded in Caribbean content and reflective of Caribbean cultural epistemologies. Through the qualitative research methodology of historiography, an historical analysis of Holder’s artwork was conducted to develop a historical narrative, and through the instructional design approach of ADDIE an arts curriculum on music, dance, and visual arts was developed. The framing of the historical narrative was based in concepts drawn from Third Space theory into conversation with creolization to form the conceptual grounding for my exploration into Caribbean epistemologies. The curriculum development is grounded in concepts of intercultural education and inclusive arts education curriculum design. The results of this dissertation confirm the research gap of teaching resources for arts educators and needed for the supplemental materials provided through this research. 


Available from ProQuest & Thesis Global. (2428133690). Retrieved from 


Over the last four decades, museum education in the United States has developed into a legitimate and respected profession. However, for those who want to become art museum educators, the path is neither clear nor smooth. Those in the profession often face low pay, limited career growth opportunities, and a lack of job security. Despite these realities, the museum education field continues to attract people. Yet, there is scant literature about novice art museum educators, specifically about how they find their way as they enter the profession.

Utilizing a post-intention phenomenological methodology, this qualitative study explores the phenomenon of wayfinding, defined as how someone orients themselves to the museum education profession and the ways they navigate the opportunities and challenges they encounter. The research questions guiding this study include how wayfinding took shape for five art museum educators with less than two years of work experience, what they went through upon entering the profession, and what helped them navigate their way.

Available from ProQuest & Thesis Global. (2428099525). Retrieved from 


This qualitative multiple case study examines how learning is elicited in three artist-led socially engaged artworks. Three contemporary artists created their process-based artworks by intentionally employing educational methods and formats to promote a learning experience with an audience group. This type of participatory artmaking is often associated with the educational turn in contemporary art. However, the majority of contemporary art literature has focused on the artist, often overlooking the audience’s experience. Hence, from the position of an art educator, I investigate not only the artists’ intentions and pedagogical frameworks in creating the artworks, but also the learning outcomes from the perspectives of the audience members. 

The three artworks in my study all shared a two-tier structure: first, a private working phase in which the artists collaborated with participating audience members whom I identified as “core group members”; and second, a public presentation phase in which the work was presented to “public audience members”. In order to examine the perceived learning from the three perspectives, I carried out on-site observations, and interviewed the artists, core group members, and public audience members, respectively. 

The findings revealed how artists created their artworks as a process and platform to promote collective knowledge making, particularly using current affairs as themes to instill political consciousness among the core group members. The core group members shared their salient learning experiences in relation to collaboration within their groups and with the artists, and “gaining confidence” in tandem with overcoming the challenges of public engagement. Aspects of self-directed learning, social bonding, and sense of belonging promoted motivation and eventually deeper learning. The public audience members shared their learning experiences in regard to public dialogue and display of the artworks. 

This study supports recognizing the value of pedagogy-based artworks in relation to learning that is intrinsically motivational and meaningful. The artworks in my study serve as arts-based models for learning and teaching social justice issues and civic engagement. In conclusion, artists’ approaches can diversify educators’ pedagogical approaches, and educational outcomes can support artists in creating empowering work with participants. Ultimately, this study advocates for the value of artmaking as a collective, transformative experience.


Available from ProQuest & Thesis Global. (2426174659). Retrieved from


Community-based public art education in emergencies is an emerging transdisciplinary field that exists at the crossroads of art education and education in emergencies. The Rohingya refugee camp is the largest refugee camp in the history of the world, on the border of Myanmar in Southern Bangladesh. As a response to the 2017 Rohingya refugee influx crisis, 

the international NGO Artolution started the first locally led collaborative public art education program in the refugee camps by selecting and educating individuals fleeing the Rohingya genocide. 

My research examines the learning that occurred throughout three years of teaching artist education programs with 14 Rohingya refugee and Bangladeshi women and men, through their journey to lead independent art education programs. This research employs a performance-based ethnographic data collection methodology, with qualitative interviews, focus groups, and narratives collected from the teaching artists and participating learners over three phases of data collection that took place from 2018–2019 in collaboration with UNHCR, UNICEF, IFRC, et al. 

The findings of the study suggest that the Rohingya Artolution teaching artist team is a living model for building a durable approach for emergency responses and humanizing a resilient future where history is defined by the voices that establish their own roles and identities in the world. The findings were presented through interweaving personal narratives and testimonials of the displaced and host teaching artists with supporting thinkers and commentary, in order to accurately link the stories of their learning and experiences by tracking the evolving teaching artist education process of cultivating creativity, curiosity, and expression in crisis-affected populations, and what that means for the future of their communities.

Available from ProQuest & Thesis Global. (2426163623). Retrieved from


Digital technologies have become fundamental to communication designers in their professional practice. The speed of technology change has been profound, and communication design educators, professionals, and students are challenged with reimagining what constitutes an education responsive to digital transformation. Attempts to address these changes have often been reactive, emphasizing digital skills requirements without always examining what practices best support design students as they prepare to pursue careers in various communication design-focused positions. The question of how educators can best prepare and support communication design students for what awaits them in the workplace is at the center of this study. Through mixed-methods research, including both survey analysis and in-depth semi-structured interviews (N = 202), this dissertation attempts to answer that question by analyzing practices incorporated by communication design educators, professionals, and students.

Available from ProQuest & Thesis Global. (2379650235). Retrieved from


This research examines how artists sustain their art practice in real-life situations, despite ongoing struggles, by developing strategies that befit individual circumstances. The research originates from the reality that many young artists give up their careers due to difficulties in finding a balance between art-making, living, and money-making. However, there are exceptional cases in which artists have managed to maintain their active art practice despite facing similarly difficult situations. This research began with questioning what made them different and how they acquired such differences. By setting space, material, and time as the basic elements for art making, I researched four New York-based artists who have not been able to live solely on their art, therefore have had to locate other sources of income through non-art or art-related activities. 

This research employs a qualitative case study approach. Accepting the impossibility of coming up with universal answers to solving the precarity in an artist’s life, I chose to investigate individual cases in an in-depth manner. I collected data through interviews over multiple sessions to elucidate each artist’s perspective on their lives and the nature of an artist’s life. 

This research reveals that three basic elements—space, material, and time—are not fixed, unnegotiable conditions for art making for the participants. Rather, these artists flexibly handle these three elements depending on their given circumstances by integrating the availability of certain elements with their art practice. In so doing, the artists tend to take limitations and constraints not merely as a barrier to overcome but more as a source of creativity to enhance the uniqueness of their art practice. Overall, the artists are familiar with the constant mode of learning for the unclear path of an artist’s career. 

Although the outcome of this research cannot be generalized to encompass every artist’s career, it can be of benefit to many struggling artists who have yet to figure out their own way of sustaining their practice. Also, this research can be helpful for college-level art teachers and school administrators in preparing their educational curricula to meet the practical needs of their students who dream of becoming artists as their life’s work.


Available from ProQuest & Thesis Global. (2328748265). Retrieved from


This qualitative case study investigates first-year college-level art education in the United States today. Specifically, 12 art instructors from a broad range of postsecondary institutions (including private art institutes, public research universities, public liberal arts colleges, and community colleges) were interviewed to explore perceptions of first-year students’ art skills, dispositions, and teaching. When supplemented by online institutional data, descriptions emerge of the curricular structures and changing teaching environments of the sampled first-year art programs. 

This study finds that art majors enter college art programs today with different skill sets and dispositions than past students. While digital media offers new options for artmaking, the data suggest it may also influence students’ development of manual, fine-motor, and drawing skills. These art instructors describe first-year students as having shorter attention spans and experiencing greater frustration when learning new skills. Furthermore, the data and literature suggest that more college students today enter with mental health issues (such as anxiety and depression) and learning disabilities. 

Budgetary cutbacks to K-12 arts programming may have diminished students’ abilities to produce quality portfolios for admission to selective art programs, which may have consequences for enrollment. Enrollments reflect shifting student demographics, such as more international students attending private art colleges. Rising college costs have prompted 

other changes, such as more students living at home and commuting to save money, or transferring to four-year programs after attending community college, working jobs while attending college, and pursuing career-oriented art majors. 

First-year art programs are continually adapting to new technical, educational, and cultural challenges through restructured curricula and modified pedagogy targeted to the student demographic served by the institution. In addition to teaching art skills required for subsequent coursework, the participants reported helping first-year students adjust to the college environment in ways that foster personal growth. This study documents changes in first-year art education as a basis for further research. Art educators at all levels benefit from knowledge of how college art instructors and first-year programs are modifying pedagogy and curricula to meet the changing needs of incoming art students.

Available from ProQuest & Thesis Global. (2328377212). Retrieved from  


This research follows the topic of art and the everyday, and focuses on how our experience of the everyday is a significant area of educational inquiry. This study investigates the potential of walking as an interactive method of art education that relates to the way we learn from our everyday environment, and is connected to the field of visual culture art education, and the aesthetics of everyday life. 

By taking participants on an art walk, I can observe how they engage with their everyday environment directly, and examine whether walking can promote visual and aesthetic awareness towards their ordinary surroundings. A total of eight participants will be studied during the walk; participants represent a mixed variation of age and gender, with and without backgrounds in art, and will participate in a walking interview followed by a sit-down interview.

Available from ProQuest & Thesis Global. (2321833106). Retrieved from 


Arguably, the practice of spiritual healing is simple in that it requires only the human body without utilizing a known physical means of intervention. Yet, it is confounding because its mechanisms, such as the belief and ability of the healer, are unable to be measured with a device. Given that, in recent years, spiritual healing has been found to be among the most prevalent practices in the field of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and that studies measuring its efficacy show variable results, it is important to understand its underlying mechanisms. Researchers have been studying the practice of spiritual healing, finding that, although the spiritual healer is not considered an actual device, metaphorically speaking, evidence suggests that she or he appears to be the most refined “instrument” of measurement. In order to gain an in-depth understanding of the perceptions of spiritual healers, this qualitative case study asks: what is the role of the mental imagery of ten spiritual healers and their three clients over the course of three spiritual healings? To determine this, the study presents the following subquestions: 1) How do spiritual healers construct, experience, and express mental imagery during a spiritual healing treatment? 2) What kind, if any, comparability is there across different constructions, experiences, and expressions of mental imagery during a spiritual healing as described by the spiritual healers and their clients? Among other findings, this study found that the spiritual healers constructed, experienced, and expressed mental imagery in three main ways, including 1) initial perceptions, 2) meaning and interpretations, and 3) perceptions of spiritual healing. These themes existed for all of the spiritual healers across all cases. Within each of these themes, the researcher then generated a list of subthemes that were most prevalent. This study found that the subthemes and statements were overlapping and distinct to each case. Additionally, this was further confirmed by overlaps among the spiritual healers’ perceptions as they related to each of their clients’ accounts, reiterating that the spiritual healers constructed, experienced, and expressed mental imagery that was specific to each of their clients. 

Available from ProQuest & Thesis Global. (2284582186). Retrieved from


Transformative Learning seeks to encourage learners to critically reflect on their assumptions and preconceptions, thereby transforming their existing frameworks and perspectives. This qualitative study investigates what Transformative Learning looks like in a diverse group of adult learners at a graduate school of education who attended sculpture classes intentionally designed to enable such change. When Transformative Learning is part of the teacher’s intention, how, if at all, does learning through artmaking in mixed media sculpture classes transform these adults with regard to their understanding of their identities as artists and learners (“Who am I?”), their approaches to artmaking (“How do I make art?”), and their understanding of art (“What is art?”)? Furthermore, the study seeks to understand what aspects of their class experiences contributed to these transformations. 

The study examines the studio creations and artmaking processes of five adults from diverse backgrounds and experiences and analyzes what they reported about their artmaking experiences. 

Data gathered from semi-structured interviews, retrospective surveys, and class artifacts are organized and analyzed based on three stages of the Transformative Learning cycle—Stability, Reflection, and Transformation. The five participants’ three stages are then discussed according to the participants’ perceptions of their identities as artists, their understanding of art, and their approaches to artmaking, based on the research questions. 

The findings of the study suggest that the participants experienced heightened levels of Transformative Learning in individualized ways. Data indicate that specific class activities—a gallery trip, in-class artmaking sessions with material and time constraints, and an artist statement exercise—contributed to participants’ transformations over the course of the semester. Once the semester ended, some participants took further actions based on their changed perspectives of artist identities, understanding of art, and approaches to artmaking, which indicates that dramatic shifts and multiple perspectives can be achieved in an art class designed to teach for Transformative Learning.

Available from ProQuest & Thesis Global. (2275956134). Retrieved from


This narrative-based qualitative research investigated the distinct journeys of eight cross-cultural artists (four artists from South Korea and four artists from China). Utilizing a variety of theoretical frameworks surrounding cross-cultural research, this dissertation examined current discussions on cross-cultural challenges and their implications in the field of art education. Methods of data collection focused primarily on interviews and were examined through the lens of Bandura’s (1997) self-efficacy theory. Evaluating the lived experiences of artists illuminated nuances in cross-cultural environments, specifically, how socio-cultural transitions influenced their artwork and professional lives. 

The findings of this research correlate with previous literature surrounding current challenges in the lives of cross-cultural students. These challenges were discussed in the context of how art educators can best confront issues that emerge in the classroom. The analysis and discussion presented in this thesis seeks to provide insights into the experiences of cross-cultural artists, while highlighting the educational implications for both artists and educators.

Available from ProQuest & Thesis Global. (2247873321). Retrieved from 


This study examined current conditions of existing multi-purpose studio art classrooms, or "dedicated spaces," in a cross-section of America's schools. To date, most of the research completed to assess the state of arts education programs in the last 20 years has been through government-conducted statistical analysis, detailing the number of part- and full-time certified arts teachers and the number of dedicated spaces in which arts programs are housed in each reporting school. 

The NAEA's Design Standards for School Art Facilities served as the guideline for analyzing the physical design features and arrangement of the 18 classrooms included in the study. The work of Nel Noddings, Maxine Greene, and Parker Palmer provided framework for how the physical space influences human flourishing. The research utilized a multi-case study, and pursued two new methodologies: "Goldsworthy as methodology," where Andy Goldsworthy's inquiry-based creative practice in natural settings is transposed into the observation and analysis of art classroom design features; Design Thinking was used to understand the dynamic nuances that tie both physical features and human experience together. The findings suggest that a large number of spatial problems exist in the classrooms included in the study, that the current state of these art rooms are not indicative of spaces that are designed to support visual art learning and human flourishing, and offer insight into how to better facilitate the construction or rearrangement of studio art classrooms so that they are more intuitively suited to creative activity than they currently are.

Available from ProQuest & Thesis Global. ( 2243820997). Retrieved from


This research investigated how constructivist approaches are conceptualized and implemented in "gallery tour and studio workshop" programs at three art museums, and the relationship that exists between the gallery and studio learning. To address these questions, I examined how administrators from each museum designed programs and supported educators, how educators facilitated teaching, and how students responded to the gallery and studio learning. 

I employed a basic qualitative multi-case study. This method suited my research—an investigation of three cases (three iterations of a program at each museum)—because I aimed to understand the uniqueness of each case while examining a range of similar and contrasting cases. Data collection methods included observations of program sessions, interviews with museum administrators and museum educators, casual conversations with participating students, photos of students' artworks, and museum documents. 

The cases offer examples of educators' teaching approaches, which reflect—or do not reflect—constructivist tenets, as well as factors that influence the connection—or lack of connection—across gallery and studio learning. Specifically, the findings indicate that a smaller students-educator ratio and knowing students' information in advance helped ensure a conducive learning environment. Another relevant factor was the educators' facilitation of dialogue. Students became more involved in interpreting artworks when educators were most responsive to their ideas, and less involved when educators asked leading or less open-ended questions. Program themes, reflections on the tour prior to the studio session, and motivating questions for studio activities helped ensure connections between gallery and studio. Additionally, exploratory studio activities and small group discussions in the studio helped students make unique choices within their art projects, whereas step-by-step demonstrations led to prescriptive artworks. Further, students' responses reflected the sequencing of the program: ways of discussing artworks traveled from the galleries to the studio, and student artworks referenced visual elements from artworks displayed in the galleries. 

While the findings of this research are not generalizable, they provide insight into methods and approaches that might be adopted by museum administrators, museum educators, and art educators who aim to provide school students meaningful and well-connected museum “gallery tour and studio workshop” educational programs.

Available from ProQuest & Thesis Global. (2195499210). Retrieved from


An integration of the researcher’s own experience as a creative professional with that of other artists suggested that there are occasions in a creative practice that are experienced as pivotal, moments when something opens up and an apparent change takes place. 

Looking beyond art practice, researchers such as Land et al. (2010), Mezirow (1997), and Cranton (2016) have addressed the concept and importance of transformational learning in adults, leading toward a significant shift in the perception of a subject. 

In order to understand the moments that trigger pivotal experiences for artists, two qualitative studies took place: a pilot study (Alarcón, 2012) and the present study, which includes the narrative accounts of three women painters residing in Tacoma, United States; Paris, France; and Cape Town, South Africa. The research question assumes that artists experience Pivotal Moments in the ongoing development of their work and asks what the narrative accounts of three

artists reveal about: (a) the moments that trigger their experiences of creative change or transformation; (b) the nature of these pivotal moments; and (c) how the moments coalesce within the dynamics of the creative act itself. 

Analysis of the interview data suggests that moments of change are revealed in terms of a set of four Pivots or turning points. In Chapter V, the Pivots are examined as they emerged within the artists as a group, then explored as experienced by each artist individually. The nature of these moments of change is revealed through preparation, location, process, and disruption, and a set of Sub-Pivots housed under each of the main ones. The thematic analysis in Chapter V also revealed the characteristics of these pivotal moments as ritualistic, interconnected, and dynamic. It was also unveiled that they express an inherent dynamic in the ability to turn things around in a creative practice such as painting. Pivotal Moments coalesce within the dynamics of the creative act through the ongoing development of the artist’s work. 

Finally, this study reveals multiple perspectives on content and suggestions on how we can support the richness of Pivotal Moments as related to Art Education. 

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