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Educational Research for Social Change

On-line version ISSN 2221-4070


CHILDS, Margie; MAPASA, Tobeka  and  WARD, Marina. Considering Craft- and Arts-Based Practitioner Inquiry Activities as a Prompt for Transforming Practice. Educ. res. soc. change [online]. 2020, vol.9, n.2, pp.81-100. ISSN 2221-4070.

Craft- and arts-based procedures, as examples of aesthetic communication, have the potential to inspire new ways of being and doing in the context of student support activities in higher education environments. In this article, we share our experiences of using craftwork and arts-infused activities to examine our practice. In our research undertaking, we collaborated creatively in order to scrutinise and question our taken-for-granted and usual student support practices. The purpose of our inquiry was to engage with specific craft- and arts-based procedures in order to discover how transformation of practice, prompted by creative activism, could be realised. To achieve this, we developed an innovative, Crafting Connections, procedure. This hands-on technique adds to the creative repertoire available to scholars and practitioners. Material sense making employing this craftwork process and arts-based activities facilitated the exploration of student support practices. Using visual activism and a transformative activist stance as theoretical perspectives, images, crafted artefacts, and collage work were scrutinised. This positioned us to make an argument for the coalescing of understanding and prompting of transformed practice informed by creative action and insight. Through craft- and arts-based practitioner inquiry activities, we gained insights regarding ways of creating a transformative learning space for students and staff to grow towards their goals and realise their intentions in a mutually beneficial manner. Our reflections further revealed that it is essential for staff to balance nurturing with respect for agency as a key action in the student support process.

Keywords : crafting connections; arts-based; practitioner inquiry; transformation; practice.

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