The Space Of Memory: Promoting Transformative Learning In Undergraduate Art Education

Ms. Angela Clarke and Ms. Fleur Summers
2012 Conference

Creative practitioners often capture, represent, test and contest the phenomenon of memory. Memory is integral to the way we construct identity and provides a wealth of experience and material for creative works that is readily available to artists regardless of age, background or life experience.

This paper investigates The Space of Memory – a first year undergraduate sculpture project that explores notions of memory in relation to space to stimulate learning. We discuss, from the lecturer’s perspective, how beginning artists can use the processes of more established artists to tap into personal memories and experiences of space and then be inspired to make their own creative works.

Observations of students over the past five years reveal that this project catalyses invention by activating very personal and specific memories as an accessible site and repository of untapped material for creative works. Furthermore it provides direct experiences of embodied ways of knowing, produces full-scale sculptural works, brings together theory and practice and grounds students’ art making in a contemporary context.

We believe this innovative learning experience helps undergraduate students understand and directly experience core concepts of spatiality and creative process in ways that promote engaged and transformative learning. It provides a vehicle for students to capture the personal, synthesise concepts of identity and then translate ideas into creative works, thus initiating a critically aware art practice.

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About the author

Angela Clarke is a Senior Advisor Learning and Teaching in the College of Design and Social Context at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. She has accumulated almost twenty years experience as an educator and is committed to excellence in tertiary teaching. Angela has worked extensively in creative arts education and provides learning and teaching leadership amongst academics in creative disciplines. Her background is in drama and theatre education where she has written and directed original plays. She currently leads a four piece music ensemble as a singer/songwriter.
Angela’s research interests include: creativity education; embodied cognition; multiple intelligences; conceptions and principles of learning and teaching; academic development, peer learning and educational leadership and management.

Fleur Summers is a Lecturer in the School of Art at RMIT University and currently co-ordinates the Sculpture, Sound and Spatial Practice Studio. She has over ten years teaching experience in sculpture with a focus on processes based methodologies in the development of creativity in the studio. Fleur exhibits regularly as a practicising visual artist in both Australia and overseas producing installation, video and object based works. She is also a member of the programming committee of West Space gallery in Melbourne. Fleur is currently a PhD candidate at RMIT University. Her project, Making Connections : Towards a Neurobiology of the Sculptural Encounter, engages with the intersection of sculpture and neuroscience through the production of neurologically engaged art works. Fleur’s research interests include embodied cognition, experimental art practice, discursive formations and the studio as laboratory.